Visual Studio 2013 is the programming IDE par excellence of the .NET platform and, therefore, of the applications that run on the devices of the Microsoft ecosystem.
It transcends the specific needs of development by building, together with other servers, a complete and complex integrated computer application programming management system.
The birth of Visual Studio
In 1992, Microsoft entered the market for development tools with the publisher of its flagship language: Visual basic. This had as a priority to make programming tasks easier, focusing on a visual construction environment based on controls that placed their position on the screen by means of Drag & Drop.
The success of this programming framework was increasing continuously until reaching version 6.0 – the most used at the time, where Microsoft gave a powerful rudder move by evolving the system towards its new .NET Framework, and where the first version of modern Visual Studio appears.
The core of the IDE
Visual Studio 2013 is much more than a complex and complete IDE. With the passing of the versions and the growth in each one of them, it has become a development ecosystem that unifies in a single tool Life Cycle management servers, test plans, testing laboratories, continuous integration systems , advanced code share repositories, etc.
Becoming a set of tools that understands each and every aspect that are related to most of the scenarios on which computer application programming can be performed. * Code editor: the core of the development IDE, Visual Studio itself, is built on a code / interface editor that supports the most varied languages (from Html5 + JQuery, to C ++ for embedded devices, through Python with Django, or XMAL for Windows Phone), providing comprehensive predictive intellisense and multiple coding acceleration and refactoring tools. * Analysis of the code and the “Good practices“: the inclusion of performance tests, and static analysis of the code, round off a module that guides the developer towards the best coding practices and advanced programming techniques such as TDD or XP. * Application test: To meet the extensive needs of current programming, it includes a complete unit test and integration framework; accompanied by the complete management of the test plans through the Test Manager module, and including recorded and automated exploratory tests of the user interfaces, which can be programmed with the CodedUI test. * Load and performance tests: it also includes a module with its own entity to carry out in-depth analysis of the performance diagnostics of any type of application developed in .Net. * Architecture: module oriented to architectural documentation that allows us, for example, to model the entire structure of the project in UML, even generating code from the diagrams; navigate the class view; check circular references, etc. * Team Explorer: from this window we can manage all the work stored in the Team Foundation Server, either on-premise or online. Manage tasks, work, explore code repository and branching and merge operations, launch and schedule builds, etc. * Construction and debugging: like all modern IDEs, it allows building applications for all supported devices, platforms and operating systems; and perform dozens of debugging operations and validations that allow faults to be found easily and simply; it even allows you to add yourself to an open process on the development machine (or remotely) to debug applications not supported by .NET. * Tools: connect against a sql database, compare the schemas, compare the data, launch queries; connect against a SharePoint or an Azure; create a GUID (unique identifier); obfuscate and analyze code; configure WCF services; obtain the detailed execution of processes; and optimizing and configuring the IDE itself, are some of the dozens of tools that Visual Studio includes. * Third parts: Being an open, extensible and (largely) open source IDE, third-party tools have generated quality products – practically essential – such as Resharper, VS Anywhere, etc. Which, in addition, allows using Visual Studio with practically all the current technology on the market.
The Visual Studio ecosystem
The Team Foundation Server is the code repository for Visual Studio. With the capabilities expected in every manager such as check-in, check-out, branching, help with merges, and access and recovery from any point in the development history. * Multiple repositories: not only does it natively support its own repository, but it also integrates Git by Linus Torvalds, one of the most widely used repositories. And you can easily add third-party repositories like plasticcsm. * ALM: it is a complete Life Cycle Manager that allows us, for example, to follow in a comprehensive and integrated way Agile development methodologies such as Scrum or Agile MFS, allowing to exploit this information, from the point of view of management or direction, through Office tools such as Excel or Project; even accessing the OLAP data cube itself, to exploit it in greater depth, through SQL Analysis Services. * Continuous integration: includes the Build server, giving access to Continuous Integration practices, where each time a check-in is performed in Visual Studio, this new code is analyzed, compiled, tested and stored together with the result of errors and alerts . * Reports and reports: the use of SQL as data persistence, allows to use the power of this DB to obtain and build reports or complex reports with Reporting services. And as a documentation portal, it uses the capabilities of SharePoint and its configuration model.
The arrival of new platforms has revolutionized the use of the IDE both in the target devices of the programming, and in the environments to which it is being extended.
Thus, in the latest versions of Visual Studio Windows 8 has gained weight, betting on programming according to multi-device MVC and MVVM patterns. Being able to build software that, with slight changes (relatively), can work on tablets, phones, game consoles or desktop computers; sharing a broad core in common.
But, without a doubt, the most important evolution is coming with the widespread establishment of the technological concept of Cloud Computing, specifically with Windows Azure.
Visual Studio includes the SDK necessary to work and emulate the deployment and operation of the app in Azure, but a version of the Team Foundation Server called “has gone a step further by running in the Cloud.visualstudio online“, and the deployment in Azure of Monaco: a complete code editor (a small IDE in turn) for Web projects on the Redmond Cloud.
Everything has a price…
Although the .NET framework is open source, and Express versions of Visual Studio allow access to some of the power of the IDE for free Like today’s online services, the biggest barrier to access continues to be price.
They are not especially cheap licenses, and less for the mentality “racana“of the Spanish business community that in promotion can spend millions, but does not want to invest a single euro in work tools, which are the ones that ultimately generate productivity.
Another recurring criticism is that Visual Studio is too much “heavy“. It does so many things, and more so if plugins as powerful as Resharper or similar are added, that it takes a real “machinon“so that it runs really smoothly.
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