The next versions of Visual Studio are here on Windows ... and Mac

Visual Studio '15' gets a real name, and Microsoft bestowed the VS brand on Xamarin Studio

Microsoft's Connect developer conference kicked off Wednesday with some expected news: The next versions of the Visual Studio IDE have arrived on Windows and Mac. (Yep, you read that right.)

After a set of leaks from MSDN Magazine on Monday, the company officially confirmed Wednesday morning that it's bestowing the Visual Studio brand on Xamarin Studio, a C# development environment for the Mac that the company acquired earlier this year when it bought the company of the same name. In addition, Microsoft's confusingly named Visual Studio "15" has been officially renamed Visual Studio 2017 and given a release candidate at the show.

Microsoft also launched Visual Studio Mobile Center, a portal for developers to access a suite of services all aimed at making it easier to create mobile apps.

The moves are part of Microsoft's ongoing push to expand the reach of its developer tools and improve what they're capable of. The C# programming language and .NET frameworks are widely used, but also compete with a wide variety of other programming tools. By expanding the capabilities available to developers who already know those tools, Microsoft is making them more relevant.

The Visual Studio for Mac rebranding doesn't confer any new features that weren't already available in Xamarin Studio. But Microsoft sees the Xamarin name as synonymous with mobile development, which is only one of the things the Mac IDE is capable of. Thanks to Microsoft's open sourcing of its .NET programming framework, Visual Studio for Mac is able to access some of the same tools and services used by the Windows version of Visual Studio, like the Roslyn compiler, the MSBuild build platform and the IntelliSense code-completion system.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft improves Visual Studio for Mac going forward. The company has typically taken a somewhat uneven approach to supporting the Mac with its Office productivity suite, and there typically isn't feature parity between one version of Word and another.

It seems likely that the company won't offer the exact same features on Visual Studio for Mac and Windows, but there's still some question about what the difference between the two platforms will be.

The Visual Studio 2017 release candidate on Windows is a sign that Microsoft thinks the next version of its Windows development environment is nearing completion. It's been around as Visual Studio "15" (yes, with the quotes) for about half a year after Microsoft Build earlier this year. 

On top of its desktop IDEs, Microsoft supports a wide variety of different mobile development services, like the Xamarin Test Cloud, which lets developers see how their apps run on a wide variety of mobile devices, and HockeyApp, a tool for deploying beta versions of mobile apps. The company is taking all of those tools and rolling them up into the Visual Studio Mobile Center.

The portal could be a boon for both developers and Microsoft. The tech giant has acquired and launched a whole host of differently named services, all aimed at helping developers be more productive. Giving them a one-stop shop to find all of those tools could increase usage.

All of this news is part of a massive suite of announcements that the company made Wednesday at its Connect conference. Microsoft also revealed that it's now a part of the Linux Foundation, and announced that Google joined the .NET Foundation.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoft

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?