What Microsoft's new developer strategy means for CIOs

Microsoft’s cross-platform, open source development and devops tools are maturing

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Connect 2015, Microsoft’s online developer event being held this week, is crammed with announcements of new developer tools and sneak peaks at the future of Visual Studio and C#. If you take a step back from the flood of details, though, there’s a clear direction emerging.

Microsoft is leveraging open source and cross-platform development tools to reach a wider range of developers. Those changes mean CIOs need to think differently about what projects Microsoft’s development tools are suitable for, now that they support far more than only Microsoft platforms.

“We’re working to make innovative tools available to all developers, easy to acquire, and in many, many cases – free,” Microsoft’s vice president for cloud developer services Brian Harry says. “We’re going to continue to focus on enabling every developer regardless of what kind of app they're building and platform they're building it on.”

There’s also more emphasis on how to deploy, support and maintain software as a key part of the development lifecycle. For that, says Harry, “there’s our devops solution and how we enable teams to be agile and deliver in a cloud-cadence world.”

The DevOps tools are so important that Microsoft is renaming the Visual Studio Online development service to Visual Studio Team Services to emphasize the shift it sees to continuous development and deployment, the integration of cloud services, and generally faster-paced delivery cycles.

That’s what Microsoft itself is doing across the range of its own software – like Windows, Office and System Center – as well as its cloud services. It’s also a trend that Microsoft expects customers to adopt, so it’s increasingly designing both developer tools and new features in Windows Server 2016 (like support for containers and the new hyper-thin Nano Server option) to support this.

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