Digesting the flood of announcements from Visual Studio Connect()

Day 1 of the Visual Studio Connect() event today was packed with announcements, some of which are pretty dramatic changes to the Microsoft development landscape.

The obvious headline announcement which everyone is talking about (and will likely continue to) is the Open Sourcing and Mac/Linux support for the .NET Core Framework. This, along with the NuGet deployment mechanism for app-local copies of the framework, are going to be a huge shift in how .NET apps are developed, deployed, and run on the server. News and commentary is all over the web but Scott Gu’s blog post is a good place to start.

Probably my favorite news of the day was WPF finally emerging from hibernation. The platform is moving forward with fixes to reported issues and general improvements to the platform. Even more exciting, the tooling is getting some long needed attention: visual tree debugging a la Snoop, performance analysis tools, a full refresh of Blend, and a commitment to keep moving the tooling forward for all of the XAML platforms. Read the full roadmap blog post for all the details.

Some of the other under-the-radar announcements came on the Visual Studio side. The integration of MS Research’s Pex project as the new Smart Unit Tests feature should be an interesting addition and is a feature I expect to grow over time into a really powerful code validation tool. Although Roslyn has been out in the wild in CTP form for a while now, the IDE features around it are really starting to come together in the newly released 2015 Preview. Already in this preview a lot of CodeRush/Resharper-like features have been added and the extensibility model is so much better than it has been in the past that I expect community contributions of new code validation and refactoring features to explode over the next few months. My biggest concern at this point is actually around how to manage large sets of these extensions as I don’t think it would be out of the question to end up installing 100+ on top of the built in functionality. Check out details on what’s in the preview and go try it out!

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