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Microsoft today released Visual Studio 2015, the latest version of its integrated development environment. Announced last year, the upgrade gives developers new ways to make software not just for Windows but also for Linux, Mac OS X, iOS and Android.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Microsoft photo)
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (Microsoft photo)

The release also include the latest version of the now-open-source .NET framework, which allows developers to use Microsoft’s runtime and framework to make server- and cloud-based applications. Developers can now use .NET for Mac and Linux applications that run on servers and in the cloud.

Together, these updates are signs of a shift in focus for Microsoft, now aimed at getting developers of any platform, not just Windows, to use Azure cloud services. The two updates released today reflect Microsoft’s push to court to the developer community as the company competes with cloud services offered by Amazon, Google and others.

The new Visual Studio 2015 includes a built-in Android emulator and integrated Apache Cordova for writing iOS and Android apps in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. App-makers can also create C++ components once and use them across iOS, Android and Windows now.

While former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer may have been known for screaming “Developers, developers, developers!” to large crowds, current CEO Satya Nadella is following through with that emphasis. With these cross-platform initiatives, Microsoft is making it clear that it wants to help developers build whatever they can dream up, regardless of where the end-user accesses it.

Visual Studio 2015 is free from non-enterprise customers. Developers can download the new software now, but Microsoft has also outlined all the biggest improvements with more than 60 videos on the newest features.

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