The Code-Focused Experience in Visual Basic 2015
With the upcoming release of Visual Studio 2015, Microsoft is bringing important improvements to all of the .NET-based development platforms. In particular, in the last five years Microsoft has been very busy rewriting the Visual Basic and C# compilers entirely in .NET managed code. In addition, both compilers have been released as open source projects so that they can accept contributions from the developer community. The new open source compilers are part of the .NET Compiler Platform, formerly known as "Project Roslyn."
With the .NET Compiler Platform, compilers now expose APIs (compiler-as-a-service) that developers can leverage to build amazing tools. Among others, the .NET Compiler Platform now also empowers many features in the Visual Studio 2015 integrated development environment (IDE), which takes advantage of compilers' APIs itself. One of the biggest areas of investment is the code editor, which relies heavily on the .NET Compiler Platform. Many improvements have been made to existing tools, and new features have been introduced (especially to the Visual Basic development experience), so that developers can be more productive than ever and can always keep their focus on coding.
This article walks through the new code-focused experience in Visual Basic 2015, providing the basis to understand extensibility points that I will discuss in the next two articles in this series. Most features are available to C# as well, but some of them are specific to Visual Basic and certainly deserve a thorough discussion.