Visual Studio 2015 comes with Android and iOS support

Microsoft has increasingly become more open to other, rival platforms, for better or for worse. And it's not just its normal software. It is even embracing this new perspective with its development tools. Last April, Microsoft surprised developers by revealing Visual Studio Code, a somewhat "lite" version of the popular IDE that runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. While the fresh new Visual Studio 2015 isn't as cross-platform as that, it does include support for other platforms in the mobile category, namely Android and iOS.

It makes sense, if you think about it. iOS development can only be done on Macs. Android development can be done anywhere, with a bit of preference for Linux. To maintain, or gain, an image as a developer friendly platform, Microsoft has no choice but to make sure that its tools support development on those mobile platforms. And not just using any too, but Microsoft's tools. In other words, Visual Studio.

The case for Android development might be a bit weak since Android tools have long been available on Windows. But developing for iOS on Windows has never been easy. This opens the door for developers to target iOS while remaining within Microsoft's turf. That said, the integration isn't perfect or native. You don't code iOS apps in Objective-C, for example. Instead, you get to choose between web apps using Apache Cordova or write in C++ with Xamarin for iOS.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of new features in the latest version of Microsoft's iconic IDE, but it's definitely one that will keep mobile app developers thinking. It might not magically convert developers to switch tools suddenly, but at least now they have one more option to choose.

Almost ironically, what Visual Studio 2015 doesn't support, at least for now, is the Windows 10 Universal App Platform (UAP). Of course, that's not exactly surprising. Microsoft isn't about to leak details of the OS before the launch next week. While VS 2015 does support the brand of Universal apps that Windows 8.1 comes with, those looking forward to jumping into Windows 10 development will have to wait for the release of the Windows 10 SDK on the same date as the OS itself.

SOURCE: Microsoft