The Microsoft Visual Studio IDE is a robust integrated development environment for software developers. The IDE software tool is one of the most highly regarded professional coding environment in the industry today.
It is developed and maintained by the Microsoft team. They have their headquarters in Redmond, United States as well as branches all over the world.
The development tool is a member of the Microsoft array of software development solutions. It is specially developed as a standalone app or a server solution.
The integrated development environment software requires an array of tools to be available to function optimally. These tools come with any native window operating system. For other platforms, you may have to download them.
In this article, we’ll be reviewing the features, benefits, and cons of using this software. You’ll know soon enough if it is a good fit for your development purposes.
What Is Microsoft Visual Studio IDE?
The Visual Studio IDE is a powerful solution for coding and programming activities. It can be used independently or as a part of a large collaborative outfit. The tool allows you to create, modify, and ship code from start to finish on its platform.
It provides unrivaled extensibility in the form of plugins. You can gain multiple features of many languages with just the click of a button. It also has other built-in features that significantly limit coding time and stress.
The debugger flags any wrong code and recommends methods to improve on them. The code editor is rich enough to spot errors in spelling and code statement. It makes use of different color coding to highlight areas that can be improved.
The tool also features a robust designer tool. It lets you visualize all your design process from within the application. Overall it is a powerful full-featured IDE for many programming languages.
How Does Microsoft Visual Studio IDE Work?
The Microsoft visual studio works like any other IDE. Only that in this case, you get a lot more features if you want due to its extensibility.
To use the Microsoft Visual Studio software, you need to download a copy for your personal use. If you are an establishment, you can also download a supported version for your company.
Once downloaded the next stage is the preliminary setup. The Microsoft Visual Studio software will need you to connect some important accounts to sync your coding across multiple devices. You can choose to connect tools to your accounts such as GitHub and Microsoft outlook.
You can also connect your online storage to it too. As soon as you are done with the configuration phase, you can begin to code. The Microsoft Visual Studio software doesn’t come with native support for all programming languages. But it allows you to install multiple extensions that give you these features for free.
Benefits of the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE
1. Pretty User Interface
The user interface of the visual studio is intuitive and neatly designed. The tools and links are arranged optimally on the ribbon. Newbies can expect to get around to mastering the Microsoft Visual Studio ID software in a short time due to this user experience.
2. Detailed Documentation and Active Community
The documentation available for the IDE software is one of the most robust. They provide in-depth information about how to use the software. You can even expect to find valuable tips on how to resolve complex reliability issues. The community also is very helpful; it consists of visual studio support agents as well as users. You can post your problems, and they’ll quickly give you a solution.
3. Multi-Language Support
The software supports over 30 programming languages. It also allows you to extend this number through its plugin feature. This advantage ensures that you don’t need multiple ides to solve your programming problems.
4. Very Extensible
This is essentially the core of the visual studio features. The extensions are available as plugins that you can install to your software. Once installed it grants you access to the features at no cost. It also helps that the process is very simple and fast.
Cons Of the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE
1. Very Expensive
Compared to other IDEs the visual studio software is quite pricey. The professional pricing is close over 2,000 dollars for standard edition while enterprise is almost $6000. This greatly limits the number of people who can afford the tool. There is a community edition, however, but it is limited in features compared to paid plans.
2. Quite Heavy
It isn’t unusual to have your software installation balloon beyond 10GB of space after use for a while. The tool is notorious for poor memory management, and also its numerous extensions take up quite a chunk of memory. Only install this tool, if you have enough memory to spare.
Features of the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE
1. Development Tools
The development tools help to reduce the amount of time taken to develop software. The tool features an IntelliSense tool that spots errors in code and imports and recommends correction. It also provides snippets to the APIs and Modules as you type on the go.
It also provides a powerful navigation tool that helps you get to sections of code much faster. The tool lets you search and find typed commands and code snippet in a jiffy. The Code Lens feature provides an intuitive understanding of the code structure. You can move from one class to another without losing context on the call processes.
2. Debugging Tools
The Debugging tools allow you to debug all your code for compliance and optimization. It features a powerful inspector that catches the error in the editor and recommends changes. The tool also provides a powerful tool for splitting and debugging sections of code.
It also provides a tool to help you monitor the real-life performance of your code. This tool shows the resources that your code requires to run smoothly and highlights areas for improvement. It uses an intuitive graphical interface to display this information.
The best part of this feature is that it supports debugging for all installed languages on the software.
3. Testing Tools
Testing tools show you the possible behavior of your tools in the hands of the consumer. The testing tools available in the Microsoft visual studio software lets you write unit tests. You can also execute them in a controlled manner and spot all buggy areas for improvement.
If you intend to use one test repeatedly, the IntelliTest tool comes handy. This tool lets you maintain a repo of your unit tests and use them at will. Another feature is the load and web testing. This tests the performance of your software and records the impact on the host computer. You can also test the user interface for a smooth experience.
4. Collaboration Tools
These tools let you work with a team on a joint project. The tool provides interfaces to sync with version control tools like Git and Azure DevOps. The tool support all git commands and lets you move and import code directly from its interface. You can see all your version history and commits alongside when they were made. The tool also lets you work together with other developers in real time.
Also, you can personalize your workflow by using your private account to connect to your development communities.
The extensions are set of small tools that you can add to your visual studio install to get new functionalities. There are numerous extensions and plugins available for the software. If you prefer to create your own extensions, the software supports this too.
However, some of the best extensions are paid products. You can get them on the marketplace. Although, many free alternatives are readily available.
Pricing and Price Models
The Microsoft visual studio IDE is priced on a tier basis. The features available in each tier is dependent on the intended scale of deployment. This way individual developers have no use for more collaboration-centric plans. Currently, there are three tiers, each with a sub-tier.
1. Community Edition
This is the free tier available for individuals and students who wish to use the program for personal purposes. Using this tier, you can write full-featured software with the available features. However important debugging tools and testing tools are absent. It is completely free.
2. Professional Edition
This is suitable for individuals and freelancers who intend to use the tool for coding purposes. In addition to supporting all the features of the community edition, you get some other tools. You get Codelens and ability to add up to 5 users to your account. It comes with two sub-tiers.
Cloud-Based Professional Visual Studio
The cloud-based visual studio allows you to rent the application on Microsoft cloud. You can use the application like the standard visual studio, but everything happens on the cloud. It costs $539 per year or $45 per month.
Standard Professional Visual Studio
In this case, you have to install the program on your native computer. It costs $2,169 per year.
This tier unlocks all the features of the software for use. The debugging tools and testing tools are fully accessible, and the collaboration tools work flawlessly. It is also divided into sub-tiers.
Cloud-Based Enterprise Visual Studio
In this tier, all your enterprise data and coding activities are stored on their cloud servers. You pay $2999 per year or $250 per month.
Standard Enterprise Visual Studio
Here your enterprise application is deployed on your own private servers. You pay $5,999 per year for this plan.
Platforms Supported and Technical Details
The deployment of the Visual Studio software is dependent on the business or individual. Microsoft offers multiple deployment options. To use the software, however, your deployment solution must meet the minimum requirements. They are:
1. Standalone/PC Deployment
This is the favorite for individuals who intend to use the software on their personal computer. Your computer must meet the minimum requirements for installation however for the software to work properly.
2. Self-Hosted Enterprise Deployment
If you intend to host the software on your own private hardware for your business, this is the option for you. You must ensure that your server and memory infrastructure meets the minimum requirements.
3. Cloud Hosted Solutions
In this type of deployment, you only need to connect to the Microsoft server to use the software. The tool and all its hardware are maintained by the Microsoft team. You can use it for both professional and enterprise purposes.
Supported Operating Systems
The Microsoft tool supports modern PC operating systems such as:
- Windows OS
For other systems without support for standalone applications, you can use the cloud hosted solution. However, your computer must have a modern browser installed. You must also connect to a strong internet network.
The tool doesn’t support mobile operating systems at the moment.
Customer support for the tool is impressive. The company provides a number of ways to reach their support team.
This support channel is dedicated to installation issues, and the support agents are only available from Mondays to Fridays. Holidays and weekends are off-days. They will guide you through all the processes involved in setting up your new environment for work.
Sales and Technical Support Team
For general inquiry about the product and its pricing, you can contact the sales team. If you prefer further information bordering on technical details, contact the technical support team. The support agents for each of these channels are quick to respond.
Documentation and Community
The tool features a comprehensive documentation about how to use the tool. You can also use it to troubleshoot issues concerning setup and crashes. The active community also helps you resolve any issues you have speedily.
Few IDEs can boast of the toolset that the visual studio software sports. The multiple collaboration and testing tools make the entire software development process a breeze. The testing tool makes sure you ship only optimal code. The Microsoft Visual Studio IDE software may be pricey, but it is a sound solution for what it does.