Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Visual Studio Community 2013 -- Available Today!

There have been a lot of announcements so far at today's Visual Studio Connect event (and there will be a lot more). Much is coming soon or being released in preview today, but what I'm most happy about is something that is available today: Visual Studio Community 2013.

Goodbye Fragmentation
The reason I'm so excited about this is because the Visual Studio Express editions have been causing me problems -- well, not me personally (since I have access to Visual Studio Ultimate) but to the people who want to follow along with my code samples.

I have a lot of demos -- whether from my blog articles, live presentations, or Pluralsight courses (check out my website if you don't believe me). And I tend to use the same type of applications for my demos. Here are some typical solutions:

From "Clean Code: Homicidal Maniacs Read Code, Too!"

From "IEnumerable, ISaveable, IDontGetIt: Understanding .NET Interfaces"
Most of my applications are written with WPF (because I love XAML -- and there were some great announcements regarding The Roadmap for WPF today, too). But I use a WCF SOAP service (or WebAPI service) as a sample data store. This means that I have a web application as part of the solution as well.

Unfortunately, it's not possible to open this solution successfully with a single version of Visual Studio Express. The Desktop edition would open the WPF project just fine, but not the Web application. And the Web edition would open the Web application just fine, but not the WPF project. This meant that I had to steer people toward a free trial of Visual Studio Professional to open the solution without doing anything special.

Unified Development Environment
The great news is that Visual Studio Community 2013 (available now) works with *any* project type.

This means that people who want to try out .NET and Visual Studio (and maybe aren't doing this as their day-to-day work) can now run my sample code without modification. Whoo-hoo!

I was actually looking into how I could make my demo code easier to run based on the state of the Express editions (maybe changing to self-hosting projects or hosting web services online). But I really like to have the sample code run out-of-the-box without needing a network connection. So, I'm very happy about this new edition of Visual Studio.

Other Features
Another big change is that Visual Studio Community 2013 supports Visual Studio extensions (something that was not available in Visual Studio Express). This makes the IDE a much more powerful environment.

So, lots of cool stuff is being shown (Scott Hanselman is showing more cool stuff as I write this). But I'm very excited about what is available right now to give developers (and aspiring developers) and easy on-ramp into the world of .NET through Visual Studio -- one of the best development environments out there.

Happy Coding!

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