Monday, September 7, 2015

Developing on the .NET Platform Cheap

First off, yes there are a lot of great development environments out there in the open source world that provide many great features to get you going on a wide variety of application platforms. But you know what, Microsoft sure does bring together a lot of those features with so little effort required from the developer that it is hard not to be impressed.
Yes, I've been drinking the (k)ool-aid for quire a while, but even the most seasoned Eclipse users have to be at least somewhat impressed with how much MS is giving away these days to the small dev-team. As a member of a fairly small team of  ~25 at Oregon State University by day, and as a two-man show by night, I've experienced both ends of the Microsoft Dev-Env spectrum in terms of what Visual Studio has to offer and I've been more and more impressed with what they are giving away.
Consider a small 1-2 man consulting team and what tools are available now with VS2015 Community Edition. While I recognize there is a cost to the physical machine and OS I'm running (Lenovo Yoga 13/Windows 10), MS is now in preview with Visual Studio Code which can run on Windows/Linux and even OS X.
Here is how my development environment stacks up for the consulting work I do on my own:
With this setup I am able to coordinate with my one private consulting partner, manage source control branches via TFS Source Control (or GIT) and all from the comfort of my IDE. Now, I haven't experienced Visual Studio Code on non-Windows platforms, but now that they opened up the extensions on the free community edition, I can develop not only for the Windows platform (including Windows 10 universal apps) for free, but I can create apps using Xamarin and/or Cordova and build apps using Python and other languages (still trying to find the right moment to do an F# app).

With this offering it really does make it easy for the small guy to play in the big leagues, at least that is my two cents (if your thinking it, no Microsoft doesn't pay me to write this stuff).

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