#VSLive Austin Recap: .NET Core, Key Visual Studio Updates & Composing Your Code

There's always something new to learn at Visual Studio Live!, no matter where the event lands. And the Austin event held in May was no exception.

We’ve covered the excellent presentation from Scott Hanselman already, and here's a brief recap of the two other keynotes/general sessions from VSLive! Austin.

(Missed the event? Watch all three addresses now by visiting https://vslive.com/austinvideo.)

Keynote: Visual Studio - Looking Into the Future

At the opening keynote on May 17, Microsoft’s Tarek Madkour gave the eager crowd a look at the enhancements they can expect in the forthcoming Visual Studio 15 release. This is not to be confused with Visual Studio 2015—another of the many twists and turns in Microsoft’s naming conventions.

In addition to discussing these Visual Studio updates, Madkour also covered a lot of the openness going on at Microsoft lately, especially the notable .NET and .NET Core developments.   

The massive size of Visual Studio—in any of its releases—has long been an issue for developers. Microsoft took notice, so it will release Visual Studio 15 in two flavors: the full 40 GB Visual Studio Enterprise and the preview version with the new installer.

“The core Visual Studio shell includes the editing, building and debugging—not just specific languages,” Madkour says. “You can add those as workload. Based on discussions with developers and looking at developer behavior, we can now pick workloads up front.”

Madkour also made it clear that the goal with the new installer is to make it more lightweight. “It takes MBs, not GBs," he says. "It’s optimized for the scenario you want. We picked the tools we see most people using.”

He also talked about the Xamarin acquisition and the opening of .NET Core, as well as the direction of covering all platforms and devices. “We have the .NET framework, which runs on Windows. Then we have Xamarin, so you can take the beauty of .NET and go cross platform to iOS or Android. Lately, we added .NET Core—our version of .NET that is open source and goes across all platforms.”

He pointed out that while .NET now is open source, any code still has to go through a rigorous process. And then it is supported by Microsoft.

General Session: Coding, Composition, and Combinatorics

The Wednesday general session, held on May 18, featured the always entertaining and informative Billy Hollis. His thesis is that complex problems demand a different approach.

Hollis dove deep into taking different approach to assessing and solving problems, which fits well into his character. “I tend to look at things a bit differently than most people,” he says. No argument there!

Hollis urged everyone to start thinking of problems from a compositional standpoint. He describes that as the act of combining parts, pieces and elements together to build a larger whole.

“What compositional thinking does is give you a new way of thinking about a problem,” he says. “This space of combinations lets you search the space for the pieces of the combination that solve the problem you have. So you stop thinking about problems in a linear and procedural way.”

He points to XAML as particularly well suited for this approach to thinking and problem solving. “There’s compositional thinking in XAML. That has a good visual way of showing composition,” he says. “You get a good idea of what the individual pieces are doing.” This approach is not only quicker, but also results in higher quality.

“The compositional approach makes you spend more time trying to understand the problem,” he says. “When you’ve got the right mental model, solving problems will be much faster and easier.”

The next Visual Studio Live! events will be held in Boston, MA on June 13-16, and Redmond on August 8-12, 2016. Check out the VSLive! website for more details on all of our upcoming events.

Posted by Lafe Low on 06/09/2016

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