Happy Anniversary, Visual Studio!

Office Add-ins team

Happy Birthday Cupcake

On behalf of the Office developer teams, congratulations to the Visual Studio team on their launch of Visual Studio 2017 and on their 20th anniversary! In those 20 years, Visual Studio has caused big shifts in the developer world. The changes it has ushered in for Office development are no less significant.

Visual Studio and Office: A Productive History

The shared history of Office and Visual Studio really goes back to the 1990s – even before Visual Studio emerged  when Office and Visual Studio shared a foundation of Visual Basic. Visual Basic (and its cousin, Visual Basic for Applications) pioneered many concepts around rapid application design and simple-but-powerful coding. Within Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, hundreds of thousands of developers created simple VB forms and functions to make their jobs easier and their work smarter. The tight connection continued with Visual Studio 2003, which introduced Visual Studio Tools for Office. Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) supported visual designers and integrated projects for creating Office add-ins, document integrations and panes. More importantly, it also brought the innovations of Visual Studio – fantastic .NET support, rich IntelliSense, integrated debugging, and deep software development lifecycle support – all into Office.

Today: Web-based Development is Office Development

Since Office 2013 and Visual Studio 2013, extending Office has centered on building web applications. Add-ins and tools in Visual Studio make it easy to integrate web applications into the Office user experience. In all the ways the Visual Studio family improves and adds new functionality for building web apps, so too will Office development get better.

Visual Studio 2017 – launching today – provides improved refactoring, IntelliSense, and debugging functionality to make everyday development easier. It also includes many new capabilities for cloud development, including refined DevOps flows as well as deeper support for container and microservices that more demanding Office web-based add-ins may use.

Visual Studio 2017 also makes building mobile apps easier, whether you use native, Xamarin, Cordova, or Ionic technologies. Coupled with the Microsoft Graph, where developers can easily work with all types of data from their organization, it’s never been easier to build intelligent cross-platform mobile business applications.

Visual Studio, Xamarin, and Microsoft Graph Development

Developing with Xamarin in Visual Studio 2017, including Android emulators and integrated debugging

The Visual Studio family has grown in recent years, as well. Visual Studio for Mac lets developers who use the macOS operating system easily create web and mobile apps. Visual Studio Code specializes in providing a lightweight, flexible code editor for the diverse files you may see in modern, client-oriented web apps.  It works well for some types of web projects – particularly those using many different build and compilation tools and formats, such as building new SharePoint Framework web parts.

Visual Studio Code

Editing a TypeScript + React file for a SharePoint Framework Web Part, in Visual Studio Code

With its continued focus on supporting web and mobile development, the Visual Studio family will continue to make all developers – and especially those building Office apps — more productive at building powerful and engaging applications. Happy Birthday, Visual Studio, and we look forward to many more great years to come!

As part of Visual Studio 2017 Launch activities, you can catch a full day of live training tomorrow, March 8th – including a session on building web apps and Bots with Microsoft Teams, as well as building mobile business applications with Xamarin + Graph. We hope you can make it!

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