In New York City on November 13, 2013, Microsoft launched cloudy side of Visual Studio as Visual Studio Online along with Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1. With an advanced development history, Microsoft Visual Studio has been established as a mature development platform to develop modern applications.


Visual Studio initially started the journey to deliver a set of client site development tools as a Visual Studio desktop IDE, and then with Team Foundation Server, successfully added and delivered team development capabilities on the server. Visual Studio has now taken a huge next step forward to provide end-to-end set of finished developer services on the cloud in the form of “Visual Studio Online.

In the launch event, Soma Somasegar, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of its Developer Division said

Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio Online represent the beginning of a new era for Visual Studio, combining a powerful desktop IDE with rich developer services in the cloud.

Visual Studio Online (VS Online) formerly known as Team Foundation Service, is a collection of developer services that runs on Windows Azure platform. Without the need to install and configure any single server, with Visual Studio Online developer can quickly setup environment for the team and connect project in the cloud using their existing development tools such as Eclipse, Xcode or Visual Studio. No matter what’s your team size, you can be a single developer or working with large development team the VS Online gives you the set of capabilities that go closely connected with Visual Studio. VS Online empowers you to build any APP for any device. Another way to look at the VS Online is to bring team collaboration on cloud that can reduce all barriers to start a team collaboration.


Today developer’s life is not only limited to code for app, but also test the App after the code development. Once the App is tested he wants to deploy and monitor as well. The reason for all these activities is that he wants to collect some actionable data and insight to improve the App. VS Online gives a set of end to end services which helps developer to perform all of these activities in highly agile manner.

With Microsoft development stack (Visual Studio 2013, Visual Studio Online, MSDN and Windows Azure) user will get the complete experience of modern application development for the cloud. Small team and startup companies can take maximum benefits of VS Online leading up to five free users of VS Online. For MSDN subscribers, VS Online is available without any additional cost. The detail pricing and subscription plans for Visual Studio Online are available here.

VS Online subscription is deeply associated with Windows Azure account and you can manage it with your Windows Azure account itself. Another advantage of VS Online is your IDE settings remains unchanged while moving on a different machine or device. Earlier developers had to struggle a lot in maintaining the IDE settings unchanged while moving on a different machine as it required lot of efforts and time to comfortably setup an IDE.

Let’s explore what are the new and interesting capabilities that VS Online provides for its developers. Although VS Online includes various services, but there are two new services Application Insights and Monaco introduced as part of Visual Studio Online.

Application Insights

To support organization’s agile application delivery, the Application Insights service is introduced to empower teams to have a 360-degree view of an application’s health attributes (see in the below image) in various metrics such as reliability, performance, availability and usage data etc. Basically this service collects live actionable data of an application across all the environments (development, test and production).

On every project’s home page users will get all the key information for a project like for a current sprint what’s the burn down data, status of current backlog item, status of bugs and what is the status of the build, which build is passed and failed and so on.

Right now this service is available with Limited Preview and supporting for .NET and Java applications running on Windows platform (Windows Server and Windows Azure), as well as Web and Windows Phone 8 applications.


“Monaco” (Code Name)

Now a days Cloud has turn out to be a central hub, delivering services to its users – in the form of either business productivity tools and services or infrastructure services. With this trend, for developers, Microsoft is extending the development experience from desktop Visual Studio IDE to cloud based IDE. With Visual Studio Online, Microsoft empowering developers to do coding directly in the browser for the cloud services.  The new service in Visual Studio Online, code name “Monaco” provides the coding environment in the browser itself. With this preview release, developers can use the lightweight coding environment for Azure websites and perform certain set of quick tasks such as exploring, editing and running the code, edit the CSS and also support TypeScript to interact with JavaScript.  With this service now developers can use any modern web browser or any device to edit their Azure Websites directly from the web. As per Microsoft Executives, Microsoft has been working on Monaco for three years now and this is already being used for its other cloud-based developer offerings, including the O365 “Napa” development tools, to SkyDrive file editing.


For more details, see the Visual Studio Online “Monaco” video series on Channel 9. So what are you waiting for, get on to the Cloud and start developing with Visual Studio Online.

There are some more key services provided by VS Online:

Hosted Source Control

With Team Foundation Version Control or Git, VS Online provides hosted source control, work-item and agile-planning services and can be sync to on-premise at the time of developer logged into Visual Studio for their VS Online projects.

Elastic Load Test Service

Now with the Visual Studio Online load testing service, users can easily shift the application load testing to the cloud to determine and address the dynamic behavior of the application such as resources as per need, concurrent user sessions etc. With the load testing capabilities in the cloud, users of Visual Studio have complete integrated experience in the IDE and all the subscribers of Visual Studio Ultimate will get 15,000 virtual user minutes per month as part of their subscriptions for managing and running load tests.

Hosted Build Service

With VS Online, now developers have “Build Service” on cloud and they can move their project’s build to the cloud.  Advantage of using cloud build service is, developers will get complete integrated development experience as their build results are available in both Visual Studio environment (On-premise as well as in the Cloud). To quickly start with hosted build service, Microsoft is providing 60 minutes of free build time per month for each VS Online account.

The above capabilities shows that Visual Studio Online is just not only browser based code editor but along with VS 2013, MSDN and Windows Azure, it provides an easy access to application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities and complete development experience to develop modern application for the cloud.

Welcome to Visual Studio Online!

Thanks for reading!

Posted by Advaiya

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