.NET’s 2016 Year in Review

As 2016 is nearing its end, it brings with it the prospect of all the shiny new technologies 2017 will bring.

The end of a year is also a time to look back and reflect on the year that was, and oh boy, was this an exciting year! Many changes and events took place that will affect us as developers and how we write code for many years to come. On a sad note, I learnt that my beloved Windows Phone will not receive the new WinPhone 10, and in fact it seemed (and still does) that Microsoft has decided to give up on mobile phones running UWP. I am hoping, both as an owner and a developer, that 2017 will show us exactly what Microsoft has planned for us in the mobile space.

But there were quite a lot of good news – some of which came directly from Microsoft during the Build conference.

Build 2016

Build has become the official conference where Microsoft tells us developers where .NET is going to go – and this year we had a lot of exciting news:

Bash on Windows

I would never have thought, years ago when I left my first Linux job, that I’ll see the day in which Microsoft will let developers and DevOps use Linux shell scripting inside windows. Microsoft has announced that they are working with Ubuntu to bring Linux shell to Windows OS. As someone who misses using cat, less and locate this means that I get to use them once again from within my favorite operating system.

HoloLens started shipping

We knew about HoloLens from Build 2015, but during Build 2016 we learnt that HoloLens was being shipped to developers worldwide. This cool and innovative technology has since reached many developers, and I envy each and every one of them!

Cortana and Bots!

This year, A new Bot framework was announced. Developers (and non-developers) will be able to use the new bot SDK to create simple bots that work within apps. Cortana’s natural language processing has improved and is now available for all developers to experiment and use in many exciting new ways.

Cortana came to the XBox and became smarter and more involved with 3rd party apps, as well as your daily schedule.

Windows ink

As a Surface owner, I came to rely on the Surface Pen to jot ideas, and mark important bits of information in Word and PowerPoint. I was happy to learn that many more applications (including the next version of Windows) are going to get ink support. Developers were given more capabilities so that they can add ink support in their (new) UWP apps.

New Universal Apps for Windows 10

In Build we learnt how many companies were committed to Universal Windows Apps (UWP). Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Starbucks, Uber, Vine and many games are joining the Universal Apps platform.

More graphical capabilities were shown and new functionality was unveiled. It seems that Microsoft’s ‘Windows 10 everywhere’ strategy was gaining traction.

A new tool to convert Win32 applications to the new universal platform was unleashed to be used by many vendors in order to convert their existing applications.

Xamarin is part of Visual Studio

After many years it finally happened: Xamarin was bought by Microsoft and became part of Visual Studio. It’s freely available to any .NET developer who wants to develop cross platform mobile applications. Mono has been re-licensed with the MIT license, and is now part of the .NET foundations. Another amazing announcement is that Unity, JetBrains and RedHat (!!!) have all joined the .NET foundation on the Technical Steering Group – who would have believed.

Connect 2016

The 2nd batch of exciting announcements came later that year, at the 3rd annual MS Connect event held in November. Microsoft uses this event to show the new technology up its sleeves and educate developers on using existing technology. This Connect made sure we got more than enough new things to play with before the year ends.

Visual Studio 2017 RC

Yep the new visual studio is coming, and if its name indicates the official release – next year we’re going to get a new shiny Visual Studio. Here at OzCode, we wanted to make sure that your first taste with the new VS will note lack some Magical Debugging, and our latest Early Access Preview already supports Visual Studio 2017 RC!

I wrote about the features we got in the first release candidate before. If you want to know what we’re getting in the next Visual Studio – Go ahead and read it!

Visual Studio for Mac

One of the big announcements that came out of Connect was the new Visual Studio for Mac!

Microsoft’s strategy of ‘web and mobile first’ is reflected in this new IDE which is built on top of Xamarin studio, and according to plans should add more and more features targeted at .NET developers using Mac.

C# 7 announced

It seems as if 2017 will be the year the 7th version of the C# language is released. The features are finalized and beta bits are ready for you to try. So far the list of features contains Tuples as a first class citizen, decosntructing return value, pattern matching, local functions and throw expressions to name a few.

VS Code

Vs code keeps improving, adding more features while somehow remaining lightweight without compromising its startup time. It has become my editor of choice when I need to quickly update a file or show a quick example.

What about OzCode

We had a great year at OzCode, and many developers and organizations around the world discovered, and then fell in love with its powerful debugging capabilities.

We’ve been to many conferences, and had a huge team (three of which were speakers) at NDC Oslo, where we got to show several hundred developers what debugging with OzCode looks like.

We had many user group sessions, the latest of which in Vancouver, where we had a full room despite the harsh weather conditions

Other than that we’ve been working hard on the next version of OzCode. We released an early access preview (did someone say LINQ debugging?) which is updated on a weekly basis and got amazing feedback from our users.

2016 was also the year in which we launched the OzCode Magician program, recognizing those individuals who, through their dedication and contribution, have helped us revolutionize debugging in Visual Studio. There are currently 21 OCMs who are part of this awesome community, and we’ll be selecting our 2017 magicians soon – stay tuned!

And finally, we are very proud to be featured in the new Visual Studio marketplace, and we encourage you to share your Magical Debugging experiences in the reviews section there.

What’s next?

This list is by no means complete, but these are the things that made me excited about being part of the .NET world this year. I expect the next year to be even more exciting and I plan to try out and play with as much new, cool technology as I can get my hands on.

What were your highlights from the soon to end 2016? Let us know in the comments what made you excited in 2016, and see you in 2017!