Microsoft is launching the release candidate of Visual Studio 2015 today at its Build developer conference in San Francisco. As expected, this new release includes a number of bug fixes and UI polish, but more importantly, it now supports Universal Apps that can run on any Windows 10 device, including phones, tablets, PCs, Xbox and Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality project.
Visual Studio 2015 now also makes it easier for developers to write cross-platform applications with Apache Cordova and updated Visual C++ libraries. Using Xamarin, developers can now also build native apps in C# because Xamarin’s free edition is now part of Visual Studio 2015.
Other new features in Visual Studio 2015 include support for cross-platform server applications through Python, Node.js and .NET Core — which is now available for Mac and Linux.
As you’ve probably noticed, Microsoft is heavily focused on allowing developers to write cross-platform applications. Microsoft corporate VP for its developer division “Soma” Somasegar told me Microsoft understands that developers want choice — not just in the languages they use but also where they want their applications to be able to run.
“We want to meet developers where they are,” he told me, adding that Microsoft knows this means it needs to “do things differently from what we’ve done previously.” That commitment to do things differently is probably most apparent in its efforts to take its .NET framework to Linux and Mac — something that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago. But it also shows in the fact that the company is launching its Visual Studio Code editor for Windows, Mac and Linux today.