SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft today is making available the release candidate for the upcoming Visual Studio 2015 software for building apps, five months after issuing a preview.
Also today, the tech giant is announcing previews of a free cross-platform code editor called Visual Studio Code, as well as a new app-monitoring feature within Visual Studio Online called Application Insights.
The news, which is being unveiled at Microsoft’s Build conference, is directed toward the soul of Microsoft — developers, those people who produce applications for Microsoft devices and other platforms.
All of today’s Visual Studio announcements have a clear theme: allowing for cross-platform development. That points to a broad corporate acknowledgment that some consumers and businesses use devices that don’t run Windows.
“If you look at the world today, when people talk about mobile applications, they invariably think about iOS, they think about Android, and they think about Windows,” S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s developer division, told VentureBeat in an interview.
Tools for developers need to enable development for all of those platforms. And the latest ones from Microsoft do.
The Visual Studio 2015 release candidate, which has a go-live license to enable companies to use the software in production, enables cross-platform app development through Apache Cordova, Xamarin, and C++. Of course, developers could also use it to make universal apps for devices that run Windows, Somasegar said.
The new Visual Studio Code software is available for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. It packs code completion, Git integration, linting, and sophisticated debugging capability. And it works with a wide range of languages.
“You can use this tool to be able to build modern web and cloud applications, with fantastic support for ASP.NET, Node.js, and TypeScript,” Somasegar said.
The new Application Insights component of Visual Studio Online, available in public preview now with pricing beginning in June, can provide developers with information on the performance of iOS and Android apps, thanks to technology Microsoft picked up through its acquisition of HockeyApp, which was announced in December. Application Insights can also work with Apple’s Xcode integrated development environment (IDE) and the open-source Eclipse IDE.
Microsoft will charge for Application Insights based on a given application’s volume of telemetry — information being sent in, essentially — although there will also be a free edition available.
And part of its appeal relative to other commercially available application monitoring tools may be its comprehensiveness.
“It gives you availability information, reliability information, usage information, and performance information, combined into one set of insights and one dashboard,” Somasegar said.