Visual Studio Community 2015 - an amazing cross-platform IDE

Visual Studio is an IDE which has been around for a long time. Recently Microsoft has released Visual Studio Community Edition 2015 which is completely free. It is a full-features IDE with the ability to help develop applications for multiple platforms. This version will help all the indie developers out there to make most out of it. So, read on to know what are the features of this amazing IDE.


Visual Studio is an IDE developed by Microsoft for Windows operating system. Earlier Visual Studio used to be a paid IDE (there are some paid versions even now like Enterprise Edition). But from version 2013 Microsoft has decided to release a free version called Community Edition along with the Enterprise Edition which is a full-featured IDE with the support for extending its features using add-ons from 3rd party to ease the development. According to Microsoft Visual Studio Community is free for individual developers, open source projects, academic research, education, and small professional teams. You can develop apps for Windows, Android and even iOS.
So, let's dive right into the features of Visual Studio Community 2015.


Multiple Languages:

Visual Studio Community 2015 can be used to program in different languages other than Microsoft's own C#. Programming can be done in Visual Basic, F#, C++, Javascript, Python, Typescript and many other. It also gives you the ability to debug and test in these different languages which is great if your are familiar with some particular language.


Just like the Enterprise Edition, the Community Edition has the advantage of extending its features with different extensions available. These extensions make programming a lot easier. You can learn about some of the cool plugins for Visual Studio here. Some of the extensions are ReSharper, Multiediting and more.

Git Integration

To integrate your Git account with your Visual Studio the first thing you need to do is check GitHub Extension when installing it. But if you have not done so at the time of installation you can download the extension separately. Now log in to your GitHub account and everything will be integrated to your Visual Studio. Once connected, you can clone repositories from your account.

Powerful Coding Tools:

One of the major aspects in developing an application is the tools you have in your IDE which makes it easy to program with less confusion. Visual Studio gives you live assistance/suggestions when you are coding in any language supported by it. With Code Lens you can quickly know what is the call structure of a function without going anywhere from where you currently are in the code. It can also show you other useful information about the particular function. Above all, you can refactor or implement interfaces right from where you are in your code. All these powerful coding tools make it feel a lot simpler to code even a difficult project.

Improved Debug:

Now you can debug code written in any language supported by Visual Studio. You can debug in many ways say remotely, locally, on device, on emulators or with cloud. Notifications can be configured when exceptions are thrown and you can even track any specific exception you want. This saves a lot of time in figuring out the bug in the program. With memory, registers and disassembly window Visual Studio makes it easy to visualize what is going on deep down on the machine level when programming in languages like C++.

Cross-platform development:

You can develop applications for wide variety of platforms like Android, Windows and iOS. You can develop rich native apps using C# or C++. It is also possible to integrate Visual Studio with popular game engines like Unity. There is also emulator for Android where you can test you apps directly on your PC.


Since Visual Studio Community Edition is free and the fact that there exists a paid version as well of the same, we should expect some limitations with the use of the free version. So, here is the detailed usage guide from Microsoft.

  • Any individual developer can used Visual Studio Community Edition to create their own free or paid applications.

  • Unlimited number of users within an organization can use it for classroom learning environment, academic research or open source projects.

  • For all other usage scenarios in non-enterprise organizations, up to five users can use Visual Studio Community.

  • Enterprise organizations (meaning those with >250 PCs or >$1 Million US Dollars in annual revenue) cannot use it beyond the open source, academic research, and classroom learning environment scenarios described above.

The bottom line

To conclude, Visual Studio Community Edition 2015 can be thought of as the best free IDE available today for Windows for indie developers or small teams. Even if you are learning you can use it freely and create awesome mobile and desktop applications. So, what are you waiting for; go to their official website and grab the IDE and start having fun with it. Happy coding.


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