Get Used To Calling It 'Visual Studio 2017'

The new name for what we've been calling Visual Studio '15' is actually the smaller of several big news items to come out of today's Microsoft Connect(); event oline. Among the bigger reveals is the preview of a Mac-native version of Visual Studio.

Microsoft has finally unveiled a new name for what we've been calling Visual Studio '15' as it coursed through development: Visual Studio 2017. But that news has been outsized by several news announcements to come out of the Microsoft Connect(); event in New York taking place this week. Here's a brief synopsis of all of it, including the debut of a version of the company's Visual Studio development platform that will run as a native Mac app.

The goal for Visual Studio for Mac is to be a feature-for-feature counterpart to the Windows version, but with the macOS look and feel. "It is built from the ground up for the Mac and focused on full-stack, client-to-cloud native mobile development, using Xamarin for Visual Studio, ASP.NET Core, and Azure," according to John Montgomery, Director of Program Management for Visual Studio, in a blog post.

Windows devs peeking in on the release candidate that's available now will see lots of famiiliar features -- Rosyln-based compiler, IntelliSense support, refactoring, multi-process debugging, full .NET API support for Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, and macOS -- encased within the macOS-based environment. More information and release notes are here.

Visual Studio Mobile Center is "a set of cloud services for building and managing your mobile apps," writes Nat Friedman, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Mobile Developer Tools, in another blog post. The preview supports app bulidng on iOS and Android platforms and specifically those written using Swift, Objective-C, Java, Xamarin, and React Native tools. It provides

If these two tools look familiar, it's because the inner workings of both of them are derived from tools acquired from Microsoft's acquisition of Xamarin earlier this year. Social media chatter among developers have noticed more than mere coincidence that Visual Studio for Mac is similar to Xamarin Studio. "I know that there's a lot of comments about this just being a rename of Xamarin Studio," writes bsharitt, a commenter on the Hacker News site, "but hopefully this is pointer in the direction Microsoft may go in eventually joining the two IDEs." And Xamarin's own site for Xamarin Test Cloud, has a direct link to the Visual Studio Mobile Center, prefaced with the tagline that makes it more obvious: "Mobile Center is mission control for your mobile apps and the next generation of Xamarin Test Cloud."

The name Visual Studio 2017 itself is what Montgomery calls "the final branding for the latest and greatest version of Visual Studio – what we have been referring to as the Visual Studio "15" release." In his post, he clears up some of the installation approaches for developers using previous versions of the 15 and 2015 releases. For those using the 15 Preview, he notes that an installation cleaning tool will try to reconcile the upgrade by removing version 15 artifacts during installation of version 2017.

Visual Studio Magazine over the last few months has covered developments of the suite, but some of Montgomery's highlights include the release of .NET Core and Entity Framework Core versions 1.1 RTM within the suite, and Team Foundation Services 2017 RC and Visual Studio Team Services (which feature code search on TFS 2017 and work item search in VS Team Services 2017). It also includes an alpha preview release of the MSBuild-based .NET Core Tools, and support for building .NET apps that can reside in Docker containers via Docker Tools for Visual Studio 2017.

There's more to the foundation suite, and Visual Studio Magazine will provide more detailed looks on these releases in follow-up news in the next few days, so be sure to visit daily.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed several developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. He's also managed IT pubs for 1105 Media, including Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine and Virtualization Review before landing his current gig as Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief. Besides his publishing life, he's a professional photographer, whose work can be found by Googling domingophoto.

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