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Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 4.6 RTM Available

| by Jeff Martin Follow 16 Followers on Jul 21, 2015. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Microsoft has formally released the official RTM builds for the Visual Studio 2015 family of products.  This release marks Microsoft’s renewed focus on providing its best efforts in delivering a tool that can support application development across all major application platforms including iOS and Android in addition to the familiar Windows family of products.  With VS2015, the emphasis is on producing an application that happens to run on Windows while appealing to developers of all stripes, rather than focusing exclusively on Windows-specific development.

While Microsoft is highlighting VS2015 Community, it is continuing the release of Express editions of VS2015 for Desktop, Web, and Windows 10.  That means along with Visual Studio Code, developers have several different ways that they can take advantage of Visual Studio technology before they are required to purchase a commercial license.  

Microsoft is highlighting the web installers for VS2015 but those seeking something comparable to an ISO for Community can download the web installer and then use the command line option /layout to download all of the available packages for this specific edition.  This option along with all of the command line options are described on the installation guide.  VS2015 Professional remains available for corporate users that are too large for Community but unable or unwilling to purchase Enterprise.

.NET 4.6 joins the VS2015 release, delivering several features that have been under development for some time.  First, 64-bit .NET applications will be built using the new RyuJIT compiler.  WPF developers will benefit from improved support for high DPI displays, improved touch support, and the ability to use transparent child windows.  The garbage collector has been revised and so has the CLR Assembly Loader (which benefits users of Visual Studio for starters).  For full details on all of the .NET 4.6 changes, consult the formal announcement provided by Microsoft’s Rich Lander.

In a very useful move, Microsoft is delivering .NET 4.6 in a variety of ways.  It is part of Windows 10, and comes standard with VS2015.  Alternatively it may be installed in Windows 7 or 8.  Developers using VS2012 or newer can target .NET 4.6 by downloading the .NET Framework 4.6 Targeting Pack.  Note that the targeting pack is not a substitute for the Framework, which must be installed first.

Initial user reaction to this release is positive, with “snoman” noting the presence of .NET 4.6 makes SIMD programming easier.  Paradoxically named “moron4hire” reports that active BizSpark members currently on a Visual Studio Ultimate MSDN subscription will be converted automatically to an Enterprise subscription.  Meanwhile “haletonin” has asked about easily obtaining a standalone version of Microsoft’s C++ compiler toolset (that wouldn’t require installing all of Visual Studio).  Microsoft personnel working on Visual Studio have responded that they are considering this for a future release.  

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