Top 10 features of VS in 2015

DevToolsGuy / Thursday, May 14, 2015

It’s no secret among developers that there is no better development environment than Microsoft Visual Studio. It offers the most complete set of tools to create powerful windows-, web- or any other application and can be done in almost any common language. Visual Studio is available in a version that fits every developer’s needs. Recently Microsoft announced the new Visual Studio 2015 product line, including the new Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN, Visual Studio Professional with MSDN and the free Visual Studio Community edition.

The Visual Studio Community edition is a free version that has the same capabilities as the professional edition. Any developer can download this version and use it in an academic environment or in a team with no more than 5 developers.

In this post we will take a look at some of the top features in the newest edition of Visual Studio.

1. UI Debugging Tools for XAML

Visual Studio is often used to develop WPF applications and these applications are built with XAML. Two new tools have been added in the new version to inspect the visual tree of running WPF applications, as well as the properties on the elements in the tree. These tools are Live Visual Tree and Live Property Explorer. By using these tools you will be able to select any element and see the final, computed and rendered properties. In a future update these tools will also support Windows Store apps.

2. Single Sign-in

As developers today are using more and more cloud services like Azure for data storage, Visual Studio Online as code repository or the app store to publish the application, they needed to sign-in for each cloud service. In the latest release the authentication prompts are reduced and many cloud services will support single sign-on from now on, which is a much welcome feature!

3. CodeLens

CodeLens, an already existing tool in the previous versions, is used to find out more about your code while you keep working in the editor. The CTP 6 release enables CodeLens to visualize the code history of you C++, SQL or JavaScript files versioned in Git repositories by using the file-level indicators. When using work items in TFS the file-level indicators will also show the associated work items.

4. Code Map

Code Map is a tool that will visualize the specific dependencies in the application code. The tool enables you to navigate the relationships by using the map. This map helps the developer to keep track of their current position in the code while working. In addition to some performance improvements, there are some other new features in the Code Map tool such as filtering, external dependency links, improved top-down diagrams and link filtering.

5. Diagnostics Tools

In the new release the Diagnostic Tools debugger now supports 64-bit Windows Store apps and the timeline now zooms as necessary so the most recent break event is always visible.

6. JavaScript editor

JavaScript is the language of the future so in the CTP 6 release there are also a few improvements including:


  • Task list support. You can add a //TODO comment in your JavaScript code which will result in a new task being created in the task list.
  • Object literal IntelliSense. The JavaScript editor now has IntelliSense suggestions when passing an object literal to functions documented using JSDoc.


7. Unit tests

In the Visual Studio 2015 Preview version the Smart Unit Tests were introduced. This generated test data and a suite of unit tests by exploring the code. In the CTP 6 you can now take advantage of parameterized Unit Tests and Test stubs creation via the context menu.

8. Visual Studio Emulator for Android

As Visual Studio is no longer a tool used only for developing Windows applications, the CTP 6 version adds an improved emulator for Android with OpenGL ES, Android 5.0, Camera interaction and multi-touch support.

9. Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova

The latest release of Visual Studio not only offers support for debugging Android, iOS and Windows Store application but now adds the debugging support for Apache Cordova apps that target Windows Phone 8.1.


The CTP 6 release add some new features and performance improvements for ASP.NET developers like:


  • Run and debug settings that can be customized by editing the debugSetting.json file
  • The ability to add a reference to a system assembly
  • Improved IntelliSense while editing project.json
  • A new Web API template
  • The ability to use PowerShell to publish the ASP.NET 5 application
  • Lambda expressions in the debugger watch windows


Continuous improvements

Here at Infragistics we’re constantly impressed by Visual Studio because of the continuous improvements and new features if offers to any developer. If you want to get stuck in and take a look at the new features and updates then you can start immediately by downloading the CTP 6 release here. Have fun!

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