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Microsoft Open Sourcing .NET Components, Releasing Visual Studio Tools

Microsoft today announced it's "open-sourcing the full .NET server core stack and introducing a new free and fully featured edition of Visual Studio."

That announcement by company exec S. Somasegar is just one of several major milestones achieved by his team, as evidenced by a bevy of products in various stages of development within the Visual Studio family.

The process of open-sourcing .NET has been under way for several months. ASP.NET was open sourced in early March, while the "Roslyn" .NET Compiler Platform and was released to the open source community in April. Both are hosted on the Microsoft CodePlex site.

What Somasegar said is being released today includes portions of the .NET Core development stack. Specifically, the release is comprised of the immutable collections, the ECMA-335 Metadata Reader (used by Roslyn for assembly parsing), SIMD-enabled vector types, and XML components. He said that what remains to be open-sourced are the .NET Core Runtime and .NET Core Framework pieces, which will be done in subsequent months.

His team also announced .NET's reach into the Mac and Linux platforms, a necessary move that has the potential to expand the number of development opportunities for Visual Studio developers. Much of that work will be done through open source contributions from the Mono community.

The other Visual Studio releases, in a nutshell:

Visual Studio Community 2013 -- It's a free, feature-complete version of Visual Studio 2013, limited in that it's for non-enterprise application development. Appdev can span beyond desktops to mobile and cloud environments.

Previews of Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 2015 -- VS 2015 integrates the upcoming .NET compiler platform and updates and adds many new productivity tools. It also works seamlessly with the Office 365 APIs, and the Azure SDK 2.5, for diagnosing and debugging processes in the cloud. .NET 2015 shows off ASP.NET 5, which will be cross-platform and open source.

Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 -- Now generally available, it come with updates to ASP.NET and Web Tools (read about the recent changes here), as well as integration of the Unity Tools for VS, a plugin for developing and porting cross-platform apps based on the Unity game engine.

Visual Studio Online Release Management service and Visual Studio Cloud Deployment Projects -- Both tools are aimed at streamlining the communication between developers and IT to streamline app deployments. VSORM, in preview, orchestrates source and configuration deployment processes. VSCDP allows for managing cloud deployments in a VS coding context; it's integrated and available with Azure SDK 2.5.

You can read the details in Somasegar's blog post here. A replay of his talk at the Connect() event announcing these new products can be viewed on demand on the Channel9 site is here.

About the Author

Michael Domingo has held several positions at 1105 Media, and is currently the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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