Visual Studio 2015 supports cross-platform mobile device development. You can write apps and games that target iOS, Android, and Windows and share a common code base, all from within the Visual Studio IDE.

Cross-platform mobile apps in C# with Xamarin for Visual Studio

Xamarin is a mobile framework that enables you to write code in C# that binds natively to iOS and Android APIs. Microsoft has partnered closely with Xamarin on their release of Xamarin for Visual Studio, an extension that enables you to develop for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone in a single solution with shared code.

Cross-platform mobile apps in HTML/JavaScript with Apache Cordova

Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova is the result of close collaboration between Microsoft and the open source Apache Cordova community. The tools enable cross-platform mobile development using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (or Typescript). You can target Android, iOS, and Windows with a single code base and enjoy the richness of the Visual Studio IDE including JavaScript IntelliSense.

Top Features of Visual Studio 2015

  • Improved Code Editor: The Code Editor has been already replaced with the so called “Roslyn” compiler to provide you an improved and exciting code editing experience. A light bulb is shown when you have to include some code fixes , so anytime you see a light bulb, click it and you will get suggestions that is based upon the analyzed code.
  • Custom Layout: The full potential of this feature can be used on multiple devices. Let’s say you are about to use a Surface Pro to develop on your bus ride home and a 24″ monitor from the comfort of your home. In order to quickly switch devices go to Window – Apply Window Layout. Keyboard shortcuts is also supported so that the user can quickly navigate to any familiar layout.
  • Shared Project: Probably you have been a witness of an event when you wanted to use a Shared Project option right outside of Windows Universal Application, now IT IS A REALITY. After a quick search you will find the Shared Project in the list of the new project window.
  • Single Sign-In: This one is undoubtedly much awaited feature. As these days, we developers, are using cloud services for multiple purposes. So, managing these services with different sign-in details in Visual Studio was annoying as authentication alerts were required for accessing these integrated cloud services.
  • Smart Unit Tests: IntelliTest in Visual Studio 2015 has the capability to explore our code to generate test data and a suite of unit tests with much improved code coverage.
  • Emulator for Android: No doubt the Android Emulator is a true relief as you can use it in Visual Studio 2015 as a cross-platform project or VS Tools for Cordova. It supports a variety of sensors and simulations, also GPS Location, Screen Rotation, Accelerometer, SD Card, Zoom, Multi-touch, Camera and access to network also.
  • Renaming Enhancement: Before the user renames a variable or an object, Visual Studio will highlight all affected instances making it easy to identify all the changes to be made. Also there is a new dialog window that shows the number of changes or even conflicts for a renaming operation.
  • Editor Touch Support: There is an enormous boom of touch sensitive devices and monitors nowadays, so Visual Studio 2015 had to come up with touch based support. You can use the touch screen for scrolling, gesture zooming, line selecting and also a new functionality was added to bring up the Editor context menu.
  • Support for JavaScript Editor: Working as a web developer on Microsoft Platform, it’s always been difficult to work with JavaScript within Visual Studio. Although Visual Studio 2013 has improved it’s editor for JavaScript but in Visual Studio 2015, JavaScript editor has been updated with number of amazing features as:
    • Intellisense support for object literal
    • Expand/Collapse JavaScript code sections
    • New Navigation Bar for navigating between elements in JavaScript
    • Support for New JavaScript Features (ES6 version)
    • and many more
  • Custom Window Layouts: Most developers are familiar with their own window configuration. Let’s say you work on a JavaScript based project, then you will need a much larger code editor window whilst with a web project you may want to open the solution explorer window.

Out of the box, a full install of Visual 2015 Enterprise includes support for C#, C++, Visual Basic, Java, F#, Python, JavaScript, PowerShell, Microsoft’s JavaScript-based TypeScript, and SQL. It can target Windows and Android—during installation there’s an option to fetch and install the Android SDK—and with the included Xamarin libraries it also supports iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. This makes for a hefty package; with all the options and all the third-party components, Visual Studio 2015 weighs in at 23GB. Add local documentation and another few gigabytes are eaten up. Android, iOS, and Windows can also all be targeted with HTML/JavaScript apps built using the Apache Cordova framework. The .NET framework has also seen some improvement and is now at version 4.6. There’s a new just-in-time compiler for 64-bit platforms and a new ahead-of-time compiler for Universal apps.

Connect to Services

Visual Studio 2015 makes it easier than ever to connect your app to services. The new Add Connected Service wizard configures your project, adds the necessary authentication support, and downloads the necessary NuGet packages to get you started coding against your service quickly and painlessly

  1. Azure Mobile Services
  2. Azure Storage
  3. Office 365 (mail, contacts, calendars, files, users & groups)
  4. Salesforce
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