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Simplifying Microsoft User Accounts

Microsoft debuted integration of their user accounts with Visual Studio 2013.  The use of these accounts is intended to make transferring application settings and product activation easier.  Complicating this is the fact that building modern apps that utilize multiple online services can cause a developer to receive multiple login prompts throughout the day interrupting their workflow.

Visual Studio Platform Program Manager Ji Eun Kwon says that her team is working to minimize the account-related distractions that arise when developing projects that use Mobile Services, Application Insights, or similar Azure-hosted services.  In Visual Studio 2015, once you have logged into the IDE with your Microsoft account, you will also be authenticated with any associated services.  This will carry over to related apps like Blend, and according to Kwon “…the [authentication] tokens across apps refresh in unison.”  It should be noted that the use of these authentication tokens means that a user’s raw credentials are not being stored by Visual Studio.

To further simplify account management for users, VS2015 will use a centralized screen to display the current user account and any additional choices.  This screen is directly accessible via File | Account Settings.  Kwon says more works remains to improve additional areas. First, situations can arise where Visual Studio will prompt for a password check frequently, “… as little as 12 hours”.  There are also differences between personal accounts and Work or School accounts (formerly titled Organizational account).  Finally, IDE customizations do not currently roam if using one of those non-personal accounts.

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