The Continued Evolution of Visual Studio: The 2015 Editions

Microsoft continues to evolve Visual Studio, and with the 2015 releases the evolution continues. There are a couple of big changes that happen with Visual Studio 2015, and then the standard upgrades developers have come to expect of new versions.

The biggest plus is the release of the Community Edition of Visual Studio. While there is a Community Edition of Visual Studio 2013, this skew is new enough that will call it a big change for the next release as well. Microsoft provided a pre-release of Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition last November and will be providing a final version when the Visual Studio lineup releases later this summer. The Community Edition is a relatively robust development environment for the person wanting to get started with building applications.

This week Microsoft also announced the a change to the editions of VS 2015. Once again Microsoft is working to simplify the available options. If you’ve previously been using Visual Studio Premium or Visual Studio Ultimate, then Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise with MSDN will be the version you would upgrade to as part of your subscription. The two older versions are combining into one version going forward. If you have the MSDN subscription that provides you with updates, then whether you are a premium or an Ultimate user, you will have access to Enterprise going forward. All of these versions tended to be targeted to the power and enterprise developers as well as those that “want it all.”

For those that are cost conscious or that are individual developers not needing many of the team and enterprise features, Visual Studio Professional with MSDN continues to be the edition you’ll want. It will continue to have the professional level features as well as get additions such as CodeLens.

The other big news aside from the merging of Premium and Ultimate is the pricing. Microsoft has provided some big cuts in price. Even so, the price of Visual Studio with MSDN still leaves many feeling the cost. So how good are the cuts?

Previously, the cost for a new subscription to Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN was $13,299 with a renewal price of $4,249. The cost of Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise will be less than half that at $ 5,999 with a renewal of $2,569. That’s more than Java programmers pay for Eclipse, but still better than the price of the last edition!

In addition to the three versions already mentioned, Microsoft has said they also plan to continue to offer Visual Studio Express 2015 Editions, Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN, and a Visual Studio Professional edition that does not include the MSDN subscription. Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (TFS) will also be available.

When will you be able to get your hands on the new versions? The CTPs are available now for some of these, otherwise word on the street is later this year. You can find the pre-releases (CTP 6 at the time of this writing) on the Microsoft Pre-release download page.

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Disclosure: This site does business with Microsoft; however, this post was written independent of that.

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