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V.Next Announced, Use Visual C++ for Linux Today

| by Jeff Martin Follow 16 Followers on Mar 31, 2016. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

On the first day of Build, Microsoft’s Amanda Silver provided a look at the successor to Visual Studio 2015, currently named VS”15”.  Silver began by providing a brief overview of the current state of Visual Studio:

  • Approximately ~12.7 Million downloads for VS2015
  • 6,000+ extensions available on the gallery
  • 950,000+ downloads of these extensions monthly

After reviewing these numbers, Silver moved on to demo some of the new features available between VS2015 Update 2 and VS “15”.  As some of the code was new as of 6AM the day of the presentation, Silver did caution that there may be bugs (which was in fact the case later in the demo.)

The first aspect of VS “15” demonstrated was the focused effort to redesign the installation experience.  Since a full install of VS2015 Community can easily exceed 13 gigabytes, Microsoft felt it was time to move to a lighter weight installer so that developers can pick the specific parts of Visual Studio that they need.  This new installer is called the “New acquisition experience” and provides the following benefits:

  1. Lightweight base install 250 MB
  2. Fast – base install average <180s
  3. Optimized – only install what you need
  4. Low impact & isolated
    1. No more MSI and GAC  (don’t touch machine wide GAC or Registry)
    2. Installs side by side with VS2015

The next new feature is the ability to introduce source code files into Visual Studio without opening them one by one (individually) or requiring the classic solution/project files to be used.  Called “Open by folder”,  the selected folder then appears in the Solution Explorer.  This was demonstrated different projects that were composed of Go code, PHP, and Ruby.  All of which have them exhibited at least basic syntax highlighting.  Statement completion and pretty printing at least minimal level is shown.  Code can be shared or downloaded from the Internet and instantly opened without requiring Visual Studio project metadata. 

Silver attempted a demo using HyperV to run an Ubuntu virtual machine in conjunction with Visual Studio but was thwarted by some demo glitches.   The goal was to demonstrate a new Visual Studio extension for developing Linux projects that supports writing C++ code in Visual Studio and deploying the resulting code to Linux for compilation/debugging/execution.  Demo bugs aside, this extension is available now for VS2015 users.  It should be noted that there is nothing inherent about the extension that limits this to Linux projects--- as long as the target machine supports connections via SSH and has the appropriate C++ compiler (GCC or Clang) it should be usable.

Moving along from that attempt, Silver demonstrated new ability to define and apply code style rules to C# code. Silver gave the sample of requiring Pascal casing as a rule for her project, and defined any violations of this standard to be an error.  Once the rule was applied, Visual Studio immediately identified the resulting violations throughout the code base and the editor was then able to provide suggestions on how to fix them.

There is a new “How do I…” prompt available in the editing window that allows the developer to search for ways to implement a task or concept.  The given example was how to write JSON text.

A big change in VS2015 Update 2 provides the ability to initialize the C# Interactive window with the currently open project.  This allows you to then easily work with your project code in the window and iterate with code in a live manner without having to manually import your source files and required references.  Within the Interactive window, tab complete and IntelliSense are provided. 

Given the popularity of Git, Silver introduced a new “Publish to a Git service” feature within Visual Studio that allows developers to publish a newly create project on Visual Studio Team Service, GitHub, or a private repository.  Planning to support Pull requests from GitHub, but that is not operational yet.

If you are interested in trying the out this preview of VS”15” now and as noted earlier, can be installed side-by-side with VS2015.

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