Visual Studio 15 will let developers install only the components they need

Mark Coppock

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Visual Studio is the primary tool for developing applications for Microsoft’s various platforms. The next release has been codenamed “15”, and the new release has been teased with various previews, release candidates, and snippets of information for a while now.

Today, the Visual Studio Blog posted some new information on how Visual Studio 15 will be installed, and it looks like the installation method will be “smaller by default, faster and more reliable, and easier to manage”:

At //build, we shipped our first experimental preview of the new installation experience, with the smallest “core editor” payload for Visual Studio weighing in at about 320MB on disk. This release (and the Preview 2 that followed) included a few targeted experiences – .NET desktop, Python, C++ and Unity – that gave us early feedback about the approach. The teams are now converting other tooling components of Visual Studio to the new low-impact installation model so that we can ultimately switch out the ‘classic’ installer for our new experience and setup engine.

Microsoft provided an overview of the objectives of the new installation process in a previous blog post:

In Visual Studio 2015, we made progress toward reducing the size of the minimum install by separating out the C++ compilers and build tools into optional components. We’ve also been listening to your feedback on UserVoice, Twitter and through the Report-a-Problem tool built into Visual Studio. What we’ve heard from your feedback falls into three primary themes:

  • Visual Studio should have a lighter footprint, with less files on disk, and fewer required system dependencies.
  • Visual Studio should have better customization, making it easier to install what you need without adding languages and frameworks that weren’t selected.
  • Visual Studio installation, updates, and uninstallation to be both faster and more predictable.

Going forward, developers will be able to install specific collections, or stacks, that will optimize the platform for particular workloads. Here are the stacks that will be available, so far:

  1. Universal Windows Platform development
  2. Web development (incl. ASP.NET, TypeScript, Azure tooling)
  3. Windows desktop app development with C++
  4. Cross-platform mobile development with .NET (incl. Xamarin)
  5. .NET desktop application development
  6. Linux and IoT development with C++
  7. Cross-platform mobile development with Cordova
  8. Mobile app development with C++ (incl. Android, iOS)
  9. Office / SharePoint add-in development
  10. Python web development (incl. Django and Flask support)
  11. Data science and analytical applications (incl. R, F#, Python)
  12. Node.js development
  13. Cross-platform game development (incl. Unity)
  14. Native Windows game development (incl. DirectX)
  15. Data storage and processing (incl. SQL, Hadoop, Azure ML)
  16. Azure cloud services development and management
  17. Visual Studio extension development
New Visual Studio Installer
Visual Studio 15 stacks.

It’s looking like Visual Studio 15 will be a powerful tool to help developers create tasks using all of Microsoft various tools and for just about every imaginable platform. That’s good news as far as we’re concerned–the better the tools, the more likelihood that developers will keep making great apps. Meanwhile, the new installation process means that developers will be able to focus on precisely the platforms they wish to target.