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Visual Studio Online Reaches General Availability

It's free for up to five users.

Visual Studio Online, Microsoft's collaboration-in-the-cloud product for developers, has reached general availability. Microsoft Technical Fellow Brian Harry announced the milestone on his blog today.

Visual Studio Online was publicly announced for the first time last November, and has gone through a number of iterations to bring it to today's GA. It's gone through rough patches, including numerous service outages, but its Agile release schedule (i.e. sprints involving smaller updates released more quickly) has worked to its advantage, as it seems to have ironed out the wrinkles while still allowing a cadre of early adopters to keep using it. In February, Harry said he wanted "3 or 4" smooth deployments in a row before considering the rollout problems resolved.

Microsoft has been proactive in receiving developer feedback over the past few months, adding many new features like configuration of working days and constantly fixing bugs. Two of Visual Studio Online's most important features are Application Insights, which monitors application performance across the Web for a clear picture of how an application works in the real world, and "Monaco," the code name for a stripped-down version of Visual Studio for browser-only development.

Visual Studio Online replaces Team Foundation Services, the cloud-based version of Team Foundation Server (TFS). TFS just got a major boost with Update 2, which works with Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 Release Candidate. At the time of its release, S. Somasegar, Microsoft's Corporate VP of the Developer Division, referred to Visual Studio Online as a "Cloud OS."

It's not meant to replace Visual Studio as a product, nor could it, as it doesn't have nearly the functionality of Microsoft's on-premises IDE, widely considered the industry leader. What it does do is enable the creation of apps either locally, or a hybrid of cloud and local development.

Visual Studio Online has a free version for up to five users, that provides unlimited team projects and private code repositories, along with paid Professional and Advanced versions that offer more benefits.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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