Where We Are and the Road Ahead

A few weeks ago at Connect() in New York, we made several announcements around the future of .NET & Visual Studio. We announced that we’re making the .NET Core server stack open source and cross-platform, with Microsoft supported distributions for Windows, Linux and MacOS. We introduced Visual Studio Community 2013, a free IDE that supports multiple project types and full IDE extensibility, including LightSwitch and Cloud Business Apps. The Visual Studio 2015 Preview introduces a host of new productivity features and language enhancements for .NET developers with the integration of Project “Roslyn”.  We’ve made Visual Studio 2015 the most cloud-aware IDE to make it easier than ever to develop for the cloud.  We’ve also increased our support for cross-platform mobile development with a deeper partnership with Xamarin, and richer tools for HTML/JavaScript & Apache Cordova. Overall, these represent tremendous advances for professional developers creating a wide range of applications.

Over the last few years we’ve also changed the way we release development tools. Instead of multi-year development cycles, where releases of new capabilities were infrequent, we now deliver updates to Visual Studio on a regular basis, while simultaneously releasing out of bands for Azure Development, Office Development and more.  As our release cadence has increased, we’ve found that it doesn’t make sense to continuously change all components in every release. For example, we made delivering a great experience for Cloud Business Applications a focus for the Office Developer Tools that we released at the SharePoint Conference earlier this year, which enabled document and social integration.  After that release, our focus shifted to bringing LightSwitch inspired experiences for connecting to services to a broader set of Visual Studio project types. The expanded support for Connected Services in Visual Studio now includes experiences for Office 365, Azure Storage and 3rd parties like Salesforce.

For the last few months, the team has focused on delivering a lot of the great experiences mentioned above, with the goal of paving the way for richer and more productive experiences.  With Visual Studio 2015 Preview now available for download, our goal over the next few months is to take and respond to your feedback on this upcoming release. Additionally in regard to LightSwitch and Cloud Business Applications, we’re currently planning to actively engage with the community and start our discussions on the roadmap in the middle of next year.

To date, we know many of you have asked whether you should continue to use LightSwitch & Cloud Business Apps. If the support we have in Visual Studio 2015 meets the needs of your application, then you should feel confident in developing with LightSwitch or Cloud Business Apps as we build out the roadmap

Please continue to send us feedback here on our blog and UserVoice. We read all of your suggestions and will be developing the plans for LightSwitch / Cloud Business App together with you next year. Thank you for your support.

Jay Schmelzer