Redmond aims to outshine Eclipse with FREE Visual Studio

And if the Community edition doesn't thrill you, try the Visual Studio 2015 Preview


Microsoft showered application developers with new tools on Wednesday, including a preview of the next release of Visual Studio and an all new version of the IDE that offers the full flexibility and extensibility of the flagship Visual Studio product, free of charge.

The developer download bonanza was timed to coincide with Redmond's Connect(); virtual event, which is streaming online from New York City on Wednesday and Thursday.

The biggest news for most casual Windows devs will be Visual Studio Community 2013, a brand-new formulation of Microsoft's IDE that is available as a free download, provided you're doing what Redmond terms "non-enterprise development."

Microsoft already offers coders free access to Visual Studio technology in the form of Visual Studio Express. But the Express line has previously been divided into various separate SKUs, depending on which platforms developers want to target. Visual Studio Community takes the features of all of the Express versions and combines them into one.

"What it does is it takes all the goodness of Visual Studio that developers know, in terms of being able to build apps targeted at devices, to desktops, to the cloud, to the web," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, Microsoft's executive VP of developer tools, during a briefing at Vulture Annex in San Francisco. "And it's going to provide the full extensibility that people care about in Visual Studio, and it is going to be free."

That means Visual Studio Community offers full support for the more than 5,000 extensions currently available in the Visual Studio Gallery – something the Express versions don't do now.

Mind you, none of this is to suggest that Redmond is giving away its crown jewels. Developers already have plenty of other free tools to choose from, ranging from highly extensible IDEs like Eclipse and NetBeans to humble text editors.

What's more, most professional Windows developers already access Visual Studio via MSDN subscriptions – which range in price from $1,200 to more than $13,000 per year, but offer a host of value-added features and services that a simple download can't provide.

By making a full-featured version of Visual Studio available for free, however, Microsoft is lowering the barrier of entry to developers who are interested in using its tools – particularly when it comes to making modern apps that might span PCs, servers, mobile devices, the web, and the cloud.

"We really want to make Visual Studio – the full, functional, full-featured Visual Studio – accessible to anybody and everybody who cares about wanting to build something," Somasegar said.

More information on Visual Studio Community is available in its release notes, here.


Other stories you might like

  • Deepfake attacks can easily trick live facial recognition systems online
    Plus: Next PyTorch release will support Apple GPUs so devs can train neural networks on their own laptops

    In brief Miscreants can easily steal someone else's identity by tricking live facial recognition software using deepfakes, according to a new report.

    Sensity AI, a startup focused on tackling identity fraud, carried out a series of pretend attacks. Engineers scanned the image of someone from an ID card, and mapped their likeness onto another person's face. Sensity then tested whether they could breach live facial recognition systems by tricking them into believing the pretend attacker is a real user.

    So-called "liveness tests" try to authenticate identities in real-time, relying on images or video streams from cameras like face recognition used to unlock mobile phones, for example. Nine out of ten vendors failed Sensity's live deepfake attacks.

    Continue reading
  • Lonestar plans to put datacenters in the Moon's lava tubes
    How? Founder tells The Register 'Robots… lots of robots'

    Imagine a future where racks of computer servers hum quietly in darkness below the surface of the Moon.

    Here is where some of the most important data is stored, to be left untouched for as long as can be. The idea sounds like something from science-fiction, but one startup that recently emerged from stealth is trying to turn it into a reality. Lonestar Data Holdings has a unique mission unlike any other cloud provider: to build datacenters on the Moon backing up the world's data.

    "It's inconceivable to me that we are keeping our most precious assets, our knowledge and our data, on Earth, where we're setting off bombs and burning things," Christopher Stott, founder and CEO of Lonestar, told The Register. "We need to put our assets in place off our planet, where we can keep it safe."

    Continue reading
  • Conti: Russian-backed rulers of Costa Rican hacktocracy?
    Also, Chinese IT admin jailed for deleting database, and the NSA promises no more backdoors

    In brief The notorious Russian-aligned Conti ransomware gang has upped the ante in its attack against Costa Rica, threatening to overthrow the government if it doesn't pay a $20 million ransom. 

    Costa Rican president Rodrigo Chaves said that the country is effectively at war with the gang, who in April infiltrated the government's computer systems, gaining a foothold in 27 agencies at various government levels. The US State Department has offered a $15 million reward leading to the capture of Conti's leaders, who it said have made more than $150 million from 1,000+ victims.

    Conti claimed this week that it has insiders in the Costa Rican government, the AP reported, warning that "We are determined to overthrow the government by means of a cyber attack, we have already shown you all the strength and power, you have introduced an emergency." 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022