May 2015

Volume 30 Number 5

First Word - Any App, Any Developer

By S. Somasegar | May 2015

It is truly an exciting time to be a developer. As the mobile, cloud and DevOps transitions sweep across the industry, we see developers benefiting from new opportunities to reach customers, access software infrastructure, and take ideas into production, where programmers can learn and adjust faster than ever before.

Last November, at our Connect(); conference in New York, I had the opportunity to talk about how we are opening up our Microsoft development platforms and tools to an increasingly wide base of developers across the industry, as we help organizations make the three important transitions to mobile, cloud and DevOps.

One slide in particular really articulated the significance of the change. It said simply: “Our Vision: Any App, Any Developer.”

Core to this vision is a focus on openness, flexibility and easy interoperation with all of the great progress happening throughout the industry. Today, more than ever, the tools and services we build target a broad array of developer needs—from cross-platform mobile development tools in Visual Studio, to support for a wide range of programming languages, developer stacks and OSes in Microsoft Azure.

Last November, we announced our plan to open source .NET Core, and to take it cross-platform to Linux and OS X. Since then, we’ve made some great progress, open sourcing the .NET Core Framework and, more recently, the .NET Core CLR. The open source community has rallied around these projects, contributing hundreds of commits and helping us to bring cross-platform .NET to life. One of many great examples is when we initially released .NET Core CLR with Linux support, the open source community jumped on the opportunity to bring this support to Mac OS X, too. Within a week, this additional support was integrated into the project.

We also released the new Visual Studio Community 2013 in November, a full-featured edition of Visual Studio, available free for non-enterprise usage. Developers have picked up Visual Studio Community 2013 rapidly over the last six months, with more than 2 million downloads and a fast-growing, active developer base. The Community version opens up access to Visual Studio extensions to all users, giving more developers access to the great ecosystem of plug-ins, and giving extension authors access to an even larger base of users. I’ve been excited to see this access to extensions lead new developer communities to embrace Visual Studio Community, with extensions for Unity development and Python development topping the list of most-used extensions.

Development organizations, teams and applications are becoming increasingly heterogeneous, so it’s vital to have great tools that support the breadth of application development needs within a project. Our goal is to deliver tools and services that add value for any team, regardless of the platforms they use in either development or production. From the mixed Java and .NET teams that we work with every day, to companies building for a variety of mobile platforms, to organizations embracing microservices architectures made up of many different technology components, the need is clear: Developer services must span the diversity of work the organization is doing, even as teams combine best-of-breed solutions for each part of the development cycle together into their DevOps practices.

Last month, a handful of folks from my team had the opportunity to go to EclipseCon to talk with Java developers about areas where we’re bringing key Microsoft developer and platform services to the Java space. During the week, we announced our Application Insights SDK for Java, presented sessions on the Azure Toolkit for Eclipse, and highlighted how developers are using Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online for Java development today. In each of these cases we’ve been building on open foundations in our products—REST APIs, OAuth, and service hooks that make it easy to connect our developer services into existing development workflows. It might seem strange to some of these developers to see Microsoft taking these steps, but it’s a natural byproduct of our commitment to “any app, any developer.”

This month, at Build, we’ll have the opportunity to talk about the next wave of Microsoft developer platform and tools openness across Windows, Azure, Visual Studio, the .NET Framework and more. It’s an exciting time to be a developer, and I couldn’t be more excited about our work to open up our platforms and tools to any developer working on any application.


S. Somasegar is the corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft. He is responsible for developer tools and services, including the programming languages and runtimes designed for a broad base of software developers and development teams, as well as for the Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server, and Visual Studio Online lines of products and services.