Sunday, August 2, 2015

New installation experience of Visual Studio 2015

As you knew, Microsoft announced Visual Studio 2015 on July 20 and it is the first time they announce a version of Visual Studio that targets a new version of Windows (this time, it’s Windows 10) without the SDK. The SDK was available later on July 29.

How Microsoft can deliver an update for Visual Studio 2015 to developers just 9 days after releasing Visual Studio 2015? In this post, I will tell you how they do it.

At this time, the Windows 10 SDK was available for all .NET developers who are interested in developing Windows 10 UWP. There are 2 ways to install it.

The first one – the usual one – you can download the SDK and emulators for Windows 10 Mobile from Windows Dev Center then install them then start to develop Windows 10 UWP (Universal Windows Platform) applications.

The second one, just open Visual Studio 2015 installer then you will see new items which doesn’t appear in the list if you install Visual Studio 2015 before July 29 (see figure below)


How Microsoft can do it? Internally, the Visual Studio 2015 installer uses a feed to retrieve an up-to-date component list from Microsoft server. The installer also enables the developers to download the latest version of the components without leaving Visual Studio installer.

How about the advantage and disadvantage of this installation process? The advantage is clear, developers always get the up-to-date tools and they only need to use Visual Studio installer. But the disadvantage is it relies on Internet connection (to download the components - the SDK is about 700MB and emulators for Windows 10 Mobile is more than 2GB).

In summary, Visual Studio 2015 installer provides a new way to help developers to get the latest version of the tools they want and don’t need to care about where to find them. But if you don’t have Internet connection or it’s too slow, you still can use the old way to update Visual Studio.

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