Microsoft to detail more of its next-generation developer story in November

A beta of the next version of Microsoft's Visual Studio and other new tools for Windows developers are expected to get updates in November.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft isn't saying much yet about its developer story for Windows 10, the next major version of Windows client. But more information regarding the company's next-generation developer tools may be coming before this year is out.


Microsoft will hold an invitation-only developer-focused event, targeted primarily at the CXO community, on November 12 in New York City, several of my sources have said. That event coincides with the third, developer-focused day of the company's planned "Future Decoded" event in London. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is one of the speakers at the three-day Future Decoded conference.

I've heard Microsoft may be planning to unveil the beta of its next version of Visual Studio, which is codenamed "Visual Studio "14" on or around November 12. From the agenda of the third day of the Future Decoded event, it looks like the Softies also are planning to talk more about Microsoft's Universal App strategy, as well as about Power BI, the company's internet of things service and its Enterprise Mobility Suite.

Microsoft is advising developers to build Universal Apps which enable them to reuse a lot of their code across Microsoft's different operating systems. The idea is to write (mostly) once and run on any version of Windows. Microsoft officials are telling developers "the best way to prepare for Windows 10 is to keep building universal Windows apps." However, company officials also are guiding developers against using their Windows 10 as their primary OS for software development at this time.

The next Microsoft Build conference isn't slated until April 2015 (no exact dates yet), Microsoft officials disclosed yesterday. But in the interim, the Softies are continuing to roll out updated versions of a number of Windows developer tools.

Microsoft made available an initial preview of VS '14 in June of this year, noting at that time that a more complete preview build, as well as the product's final naming would be revealed later this calendar year. VS '14 isn't slated to ship in final form until some time in 2015.

Microsoft officials said that its "Roslyn" .Net compiler platform, ASP.NET v.Next (codenamed Project K) and supporting Apache Cordova tooling would all be part of VS '14. Microsoft also is continuing to flesh out standards support for Visual C++ in the coming VS release.

With the coming VS release, the C# and Visual Basic compilers and the integrated development environment are all built on the open-sourced Roslyn "compiler as a service." The preview build included early coding for the tooling for ASP.NET v.Next and ASP.NET 4.5 Web-application templates.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Microsoft release another test build of its .Net Native compiler (codenamed "Project N") at the rumored November shindig, too. Microsoft made available a first developer preview of the .Net Native compiler in April 2014.

.Net Native allows Windows Store/Metro-Style apps to start up to 60 percent faster and use 15 percent to 20 percent less memory when compiled with .Net Native, according to Microsoft officials. In short, NET Native compiles C# to native machine code that performs like C++.

Speaking of .Net Native, that compiler is now part of Microsoft's newly created Systems Programming Group. (Thanks to Walking Cat, a k a @h0x0d for the link and information about this new group.)

Joe Duffy is the director of engineering for that group, which is charged with "advancing the state of safe, productive, and performant systems programming, and developing core compiler technologies, like the Visual C++ compiler, new efforts like .NET Native, and a few other things that I can’t wait to blog about someday soon." Duffy was/is one of the driving forces behind M#, a new compiler that Microsoft built as part of its Midori operating systems incubation work.

I'm doubtful Microsoft will use its November event to talk about Midori/M#; I think it might still be too early for that. But I do wonder how much of the Universal Apps and Visual Studio '14 dialogue in November will focus around Windows 10. 

When I asked Microsoft about the November 12 event, I was told the company had nothing to say at this time.

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