Visual Studio Third-Party Coding Tools buyers guide

Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE is not just a proprietary tool for building .NET and native code on Windows and Windows Phone. It’s an extensible platform that lets you add support for new languages, for delivering apps to additional platforms, and for managing cloud services. This is down to its Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) programme which gives third parties access to the Visual Studio IDE, allowing them to integrate their own tools and features into Visual Studio.

With VSIP extensions you can be building Ruby on Rails apps, driving Azure, and working with a source control platform while delivering a UI on an iPad, all from the same familiar IDE. So why not use extensions to improve the way you code? There’s plenty of scope here: tools to help you make your programs more secure, tools to help you refactor and rework your code, tools to help you deliver applications that take advantage of the multi-core, multi-processor world we live in.

There’s an ever growing array of VSIP partners and extension developers, and it’s likely to grow as Microsoft continues to open source key Visual Studio elements through its .NET Foundation. That includes its new Roslyn compiler, which opens up the internals of the compiler to tools, giving you new and better ways to visualise changes to code, and the ability to quickly test and debug sections of code as you write them.

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