Special Reports

Visual Studio, .NET, Azure Development Updates at Visual Studio Live!

Microsoft's Visual Studio team live-demo recent enhancements to the platforms that facilitate mobile device and cloud development.

At last month's Visual Studio Live! event, John Montgomery and Kieran Mockford, both from the Visual Studio team, gave attendees a preview of what's to come in the Visual Studio, .NET and Azure platforms. Visual Studio Live! at the Bally's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV, ran the week of March 16-20.

John Montgomery introduced the demo-heavy presentation explaining and showing what's coming in the new release of Visual Studio 2015 CTP 6. First, he encouraged everyone to download the new release and provided the download link for Visual Studio 2015 CTP 6.

Montgomery led off his presentation with a positioning and explanation of the three primary technologies that enable Visual Studio 2015. "One of the big shifts that has occurred over last several years, we are shifting the way we think about the business and what needs to happen," he says. He echoed Satya Nadella's new corporate mantra for Microsoft. "In response to the changes in software development, we are a mobile-first and cloud-first company.

He then moved into an explanation of how Cordova, Xamarin and C# help drive this new vision for Visual Studio as an IDE. "The point is less about on-premises, but thinking a lot more about all sorts of connected devices." Developers need to target devices and tablets, which led to changes in how Microsoft thinks about Visual Studio. This led to Microsoft enabling development on the Visual Studio platform for Android and iOS. Visual Studio 2015 has built in capabilities to target the Android and iOS mobile platforms. Montgomery and Mockford then elaborated on how the technology troika of Cordova, Xamarin and C# help facilitate that.

For the second half of the Tuesday keynote, Montgomery moved on to cloud development. "That was the devices portion of the conversation," he says, "and this is the cloud portion of the conversation." He laid the groundwork outlining Microsoft's cloud initiatives around Azure, Azure Mobile Services, Office 365 and Visual Studio Online.

"We have done a huge amount with Azure," he says. One of the key elements to Microsoft's strategy around Azure is ensuring that your infrastructure on-premises and in the cloud are as similar as possible. "If you have AD on-prem, you should have AD in the cloud." He does acknowledge there are some things that should indeed reside behind the corporate firewall.

Montgomery focused on the near-term development platform changes. He reiterated the recent announcement that the core of .NET is now open source. "It's not the full framework," he says, "a significant portion of framework runs on Windows, Linux and OS X. That is going to grow over time."

That's not the only open source move Microsoft has made. ASP.NET also runs now on Linux and Mac OS. "ASP.NET v5 does some notable things. It's much more modular and leaner," he says. Developers can now have different apps running side by side on the same box."

Montgomery also focused on recent integration with popular Web development tools that make it easier to build ASP.NET apps. Consuming cloud services is another point of focus, including resolving some of the identity management challenges. "We've done a bunch of work to make that smoother and eliminate multiple sign-ins. It's also easier to consume third-party REST APIs, and easier to build apps that consume things from the cloud." As with the first half of the keynote session, Montgomery then handed over to Mockford to demonstrate some of those aspects of .NET and cloud development.

The next Visual Studio Live! event will take place in Austin, TX from June 1-4.

About the Author

Lafe Low has been a technology editor and writer for more than 25 years. Most recently, he was the editor in chief of TechNet magazine. He has also held various editorial positions with Redmond magazine, CIO magazine and InfoWorld. He also launched his own magazine entitled Explore New England, and has published four editions of his guidebook The Best in Tent Camping: New England.

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