What is Visual Studio Code and why Microsoft has made it free

Adding a new member to its Visual Studio IDE family, Microsoft today launched Visual Studio Code. Based around Github’s Electron, a cross-platform version of its Atom code-editing component based on JavaScript and HTML5, Code is a fully featured IDE for developers working with Microsoft’s open cloud technologies – with versions for Mac OS, Linux and Windows.

What is Visual Studio Code and why Microsoft has made it free

A free download, Code downloads and installs quickly. I had it running on Windows and Mac OS within minutes of the download being released. It’s a very early release, but already includes code highlighting and code-completion features.

Demonstrated by Scott Hanselman on stage at Build 2015, Code uses open source .NET tooling to provide support for ASP.NET C# code, building on the Roslyn compiler and the Omnisharp .NET developer tools.

macAs well as demonstrating the Mac version, Hansleman showed Code running on Ubuntu – working with .NET code running on the recently released .NET Core release developed in conjunction with the Mono open source .NET project.

Code is designed to work with your existing tools. Microsoft provides documentation for working with ASP.NET 5, node.js, and Microsoft’s own TypeScript, as well as tools that can be used to help build and manage node.js applications.

With Microsoft aiming to encourage developers to build micro-service apps on its Azure platform, Visual Studio Code is being initially targeted at JavaScript developers who want a fully-fledged development tool for their server-side scripting and who might be tempted to go beyond node.js to .NET-based frameworks.

With startups and enterprises shifting to using microservices, a free cross-platform developer tool makes a lot of sense for Microsoft. It makes it easier for developers working on Android and iOS applications to use Azure as a back-end, and helps bring their attention to both Azure App Services and Azure Fabric Services.

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