Microsoft Disrupts Cross-Platform Software Development

Ars talks about how Microsoft brings Android, iOS apps to Windows 10. Your iOS and Android apps you already wrote can run on Microsoft Windows 10. All those Windows apps based on 20+ year technology plus all the in-house, corporate style .NET Apps? You can put them in the app store too. Basically, Microsoft decided that is more important that you run Windows than any implied technical purity advocated in the past.

That brings us to the discussion in which Microsoft releases free Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio 2015 RC. Visual Studio will now run in native form on Linux and Mac OS X as well as Windows. This is a new version of the tool called Visual Studio Code. It is leaner than regular Visual Studio that has all kinds of automated things built into it. This Visual Studio Code is a tool to write code quickly, build and test it and manage it in GIT. Those are activities people do in a lean development scenario.

How might you write code in Visual Studio Code given how it is designed? I show an approach in Build a Cross Platform C++ Program with SFML – Part 07. Simply substitute gedit for Visual Studio Code and you get the idea. The tool itself builds on a collection of technologies from the open source arena. Microsoft is useful enough to make it a serious tool for productivity.

What does this all really mean? Since Windows is very popular with businesses and end-users, you can put your UNIX/Linux-based client software on Windows more easily than in the past. You can use the same software development process you practice on Mac and Linux and successfully deploy to Windows audiences with little to no work.

As Microsoft’s first major desktop application on Linux that I can recall, it may be the beginning of other things. Microsoft is definitely cross-platform now. This may prove to be first beach head in Microsoft’s larger migration to desktop and mobile environments based on UNIX/Linux.


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