Microsoft has released the latest version of its Visual Studio development platform, which will allow developers to target not just the upcoming Windows 10 operating system but any device running any platform, across the desktop, web, mobile and cloud.
Visual Studio 2015 is available to download now, and is a key tool that enables developers to build the universal apps that will run on any Windows 10 device, whether a full-blown PC, a mini tablet or a smartphone running Windows 10 Mobile.
However, Microsoft has also worked hard to turn Visual Studio into a cross-platform development tool that can be used to target a range of platforms, including web apps and the Mac and Linux operating systems.
"This is one of the big new items for Visual Studio 2015: out of the box, Visual Studio allows you to use web technologies to build production quality mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows using Apache Cordova, as well as with C++ and Xamarin," said John Montgomery, Microsoft's director of programme management for Visual Studio.
"If you select the items during setup, Visual Studio 2015 will install all the tools you need, including the Android Developer Kit, the Java Developer Kit, the Native Developer Kit and the Visual Studio Emulator for Android, and you can start creating apps for Android, iOS and Windows," he wrote on the Visual Studio blog.
At the core of Visual Studio is its integrated development environment, but Microsoft has also offered since last year a version called Visual Studio Community that is free for non-enterprise development.
Alongside this, Microsoft is also releasing .Net 4.6, the latest version of its multi-language framework for developing and running applications and web services, plus the final versions of C# 6 and Visual Basic 14.
"Whether it's developing for the web, the cloud or for mobile, developers are looking for flexibility and choice," said S Somasegar, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Developer Division, writing on his Microsoft blog.
Visual Studio 2015 also includes the latest Azure SDK for cloud development, providing one-click provisioning and deployment to Azure for web sites and cloud services, along with easy management of cloud resources.
"Whether your application is using infrastructure-as-a-service or platform-as-a-service in Azure, built with .Net or Python or Node.js, or deploying to Windows or Linux or Docker containers, the cloud tools in Visual Studio 2015 let you easily integrate with Azure," Somasegar said.
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