Top News from July 2015

Hello everyone! Every month we share some top stories from the previous month, and here’s our round-up for July.

Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 4.6 Available for Download. Within the Visual Studio team, we’re clearly delighted with the release of Visual Studio 2015 as Soma announces on his blog! This release fulfills the promises we made at last November’s Connect(); event, and to get the big picture context you’ll want to watch the Visual Studio 2015 keynote- Any app, Any developer, with Soma, Scott Hanselman, Brian Harry, Beth Massi, and Amanda Silver. The news items that follow below highlight some of the major feature areas, and for .NET specifically, Rich Lander shares much more in his post, announcing .NET Framework 4.6.

Visual Studio 2015

Launch of the allReady project. In the VS 2015 keynote mentioned above, you’ll also see and hear about the launch of the allReady project, focused on increasing awareness, efficiency, and impact of preparedness campaigns as they are delivered by humanitarian and disaster response organizations in local communities. Whoa—this sounds like a real project! Well, it is, because you can take fictitious demo apps only so far (can you say “Contoso”?). With Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio Online, and Azure, we wanted to engage in a real open-source project with real-world value, which would also make a great demonstration of our tools and technology. That’s the allReady project, and to learn all about it—perhaps to also get on board and make contributions on GitHub—watch the In The Code with Visual Studio 2015 video series.

AllReady

What’s New in the Visual Studio 2015 IDE? Plenty, as this blog post from Ji Eun Kwon and Tarek Madjour in the Visual Studio team describes in detail. With Visual Studio 2015 you’ll enjoy a lighter and faster customizable setup, the ability to publish to Visual Studio Online, light bulbs and the enhanced error list, a touch-friendly editor, cleaner project structures, better support for extensions, and more. Visual Studio 2015 also makes radical improvements to the sign-in experience and how you connect to online resources. Ji Eun Kwon and Anthony Cangialosi explain all this in Identity Management Features in Visual Studio 2015. The short of it? We’ll all be spending less time entering credentials and fiddling with identity matters.

Debugging, Profiling, and Diagnostic Tools in VS2015. Visual Studio 2015 addressed many developer requests, including lambda debugging, Edit and Continue (EnC) improvements, child-process debugging, plus revamped core experiences like powerful breakpoint configuration and a new Exceptions Settings tool window. The team also pushed the state of the art by integrating performance tooling into the debugger with PerfTips and the all new Diagnostic Tools window which includes the Memory Usage tool and the redesigned IntelliTrace for historical debugging.

Diagnostics Tool

ASP.NET 4.6 and ASP.NET 5 Roadmap. In the Visual Studio 2015 keynote, Scott Hanselman shares all the work that’s been done for the newly-released ASP.NET 4.6, which he outlines in more detail with this post. The ASP.NET 5 Schedule and Roadmap is itself now on GitHub, and shows that we can expect beta releases to continue throughout the summer, the first release candidate coming in November, and the final release sometime in early 2016. What’s very exciting is that ASP.NET 5 runs on both .NET 4.6 and on the cross-platform .NET Core Framework that supports Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Application Insights Tools in Visual Studio 2015. Visual Studio has great features to support every phase of your development cycle, and Application Insights is there for monitoring the performance and usage of your production applications across all types of apps on all platforms including the web, iOS, Android, and J2EE. In this post, Dimah Zaidalkilani gets you started with Application Insights, showing how much the service is integrated into Visual Studio 2015.

Reporting on Work Items with Power BI. “When will I get the ability to report on work items?” has been a frequent question ever since reporting with Power BI against Git and Team Foundation Version Control was introduced. The answer is “yesterday,” (or to be specific, mid-July 2015) and you can get started at the Power BI portal for Visual Studio Online.

The Glimpse Team Joins Microsoft. Glimpse is an open source web debugging and diagnostics tool that’s been used by thousands of ASP.NET developers to gain insight into the inner workings of their applications and to identify performance enhancement opportunities. In July, we were delighted to welcome the creators of Glimpse, Nik Molnar and Anthony van der Hoorn into the Visual Studio team! Here they’ll strive to narrow the tooling gap by continuing their quest to make the web a better place through performance, diagnostics, and debugging tooling, all the while keeping Glimpse an open source project.

GlimpseAnthony, Nik, Scott Hanselman, David Fowler, & Phil Haack at the unveiling of Glimpse at Mix ‘11

The Roadmap for WPF. Speaking of roadmaps, Windows desktop developers have been pleased to know that the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is alive and well, and continues to be updated with new features. Indeed, it’s a quintessential part of the .NET Framework, and the WPF team tells us that they’ve been continually improving WPF with things like multi-image cursor file support, transparent child windows, and better double-tap gesture recognition and text selection. In their roadmap, they also describe their primary areas of future investment, based on the feedback from you and other WPF developers: performance, DirectX interop, support for modern hardware, and tooling, which has already manifest in features like the Timeline Tool.

Timeline Tool

A Complete List of Windows Development Tools. As you’re reading this, you already know that Windows 10 has been released, and you’ve probably already installed it. Scott Ge, who describes himself as a collector of Windows Tools (when in fact he’s an extraordinary dev at Microsoft with whom I’ve had the pleasure of working with on the Microsoft Press Guided Tour app), has pulled together quite an extraordinary list of tools that you’ll want to know about. This includes everything from the best Visual Studio extensions and .NET tools, to code/text editors, code comparison/cleanup/sharing/version control tools, debugging and performance profiling tools, decompilation tools, testing and automation tools, and, well, I stopped a merely halfway down the page because there’s so much more. Scott, perhaps you really are a collector first, and a dev second?

Creating a Windows Universal App from Your Existing Web Sites Using Visual Studio 2015. Windows 10, by the way, makes it very easy to produce a Windows Universal app from a web app. Here, Arun Kumar gives you four steps to make that happen: creating an app project, deleting the usual files for an app, configuring the manifest to point to a remote start page, and running the app. That’s it. And lest you worry about losing access to features that make a Windows app special, fear not: you can still integrate Cortana, use live tiles, use toast notifications, and support in-app purchases from the Windows Store.

Javascript Rules the School but C++ Climbs in Popularity. InfoWorld reports that although JavaScript “continues to rule the day,” C++ is rising in the monthly Tiobe language popularity list, with a 3.1% usage increase compared to last year along with higher ratings. We’re certainly seeing the same thing, and know that C++ has benefited greatly by the C++11, C++14, and the evolving C++17 standards, for which there is tremendous support in Visual Studio 2015. You can keep up to date with all our progress with C++ on the Visual C++ Team Blog. In this context, it’s worth mention that Minecraft for Windows 10 Edition Beta is available, which, being written in C++ instead of Java, is reportedly demonstrating stunning levels of performance, one of the most attractive characteristics of C++.

And finally, I’ll let the title of this post from Eric Ligman speak for itself: I’m giving away MILLIONS of FREE Microsoft eBooks again! Including: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 365, SharePoint 2013, Dynamics CRM, PowerShell, Exchange Server, Lync 2013, System Center, Azure, Cloud, SQL Server. I hope you have a good broadband connection.

To see what else we’ve shared recently, check out top news from May 2015 and top news from April 2015, along with recent posts on the Visual Studio Blog.

By the way, you might notice that there’s a different face at the end of this post. That’s because Radhika will soon be on maternity leave (congratulations!) and I’ll be filling in for a time.

Enjoy!

image Kraig Brockschmidt, Senior Content Developer, Visual Studio
@kraigbro

Kraig has been around Microsoft since 1988, working in roles that always have to do with helping developers write great software. Currently he’s focused on developing content for cross-platform mobile app development with both Xamarin and Cordova. He writes for MSDN Magazine, is the author of Programming Windows Store Apps with HTML, CSS and JavaScript (two editions) and Inside OLE (two editions, if you remember those) from Microsoft Press, occasionally blogs on kraigbrockschmidt.com, and can be found lurking around a variety of developer conferences.