IDE Improvements in Visual Studio 2015

Microsoft has released the latest version of Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2015 Preview on November 12, 2015 at Visual Studio Connect() in New York, USA. So the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) of Visual Studio 2015 has been significantly improved over the experience in Visual Studio 2013. So in this release of Visual Studio, C# and Visual Basic code improvements are focused on new templates available to create empty shared projects for Visual C#, VB.NET and JavaScript. These shared projects can now be referenced by several project types, like the following:

  • Any un-flavored Visual C#/VB.NET projects, like Desktop Application, Class Libraries and Console Application as well.
  • Windows Phone Silverlight 8.0/8.1
  • Windows Store 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 using C#/VB/JavaScript.

If we want to add/remove the references from shared projects, we can do it via the Reference Manager, on the Shared Projects tab in Visual Studio 2015. The shared project reference shows up under the References node in the Solution Explorer, but the code and assets in the shared project are treated as if they were files linked into the main project.


Visual Studio 2015 has made many changes in IDEs for C# and Visual Basic. Developers can use these features most of the time, such as syntax highlighting, Intelligence and support for refactoring. Let's learn the basics of all these new improvements using the new IDE of Visual Studio 2015 for programming. Let's understand the basics as in the following:
  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Visual Studio IntelliSense 
  • Error in Visual Studio 2015
  • Code Fixes and Refactoring

Syntax Highlighting

Basically syntax highlighting is the feature of Visual Studio that has been available for more than a decade. Now a big improvement in this new IDE is colorizing tooltip. As we know Visual Studio automatically creates collapsible regions for language constructs, such as classes and a methods body. On a collapsed body, either of classes or methods enable us to hover over them to see the hidden code in a tooltip in colorful code. Before Visual Studio 2015 these tooltip codes was shown in a single color. But now it displays as an actual code color. Let us see a programming view of colorized tool tip.

Visual Studio IntelliSense

In the new IDE of Visual Studio 2015, combined IntelliSence will be shown in the code editor. An IntelliSense item that exists in one framework, but not in another will be listed in the IntelliSense with a warning sign. The IntelliSense tooltip indicates which framework supports it and which framework doesn't. To know about the supporting framework, we hover the mouse over the IntelliSence then a tooltip will be shown that describes the supporting framework in details. Let's see it with a program example.


Error in Visual Studio 2015

Build errors of a project in the new IDE of  Visual Studio 2015 shows the error related to the target framework. So, if you have an error in the code that is recognized by two targeting frameworks, it will be shown in two places in the error as well as the output error list, with the same description and file location, but with different project names that includes the framework name. Let's do it with a example code:


Code Refactoring

Code refactoring is a another new feature of the Visual Studio 2015 IDE. It is a process of restricting existing program code that changes the factoring without changing its external behavior. It improves code readability and reduced complexity of code to improve source code maintainability. Let's see it with a program example.


Touch Support Editor For All Languages

Visual Studio 2015 Editor has Touch Support for the following gestures:

  • Scrolling: Tapping and Dragging on the editor surface on the regular and enhanced scrollbars
  • Code Selection: We can select a entire line by tapping in the editor margin and select words by double-tapping them
  • Invoking the editor context menu by pressing-and-holding
  • Pinch-to-Zoom

Improvements in HTML Editor

Microsoft improved the HTML editor in the new IDE of Visual Studio 2015 with some bug fixes and have updated IntelliSense for web standards. Finally it introduced the following new features for the HTML editor.

  • Basic IntelliSense for Web Components: Now we can see the IntelliSense in HTML Editor for < link rel="import" />
  • Element Tooltips: Now HTML Editor supplied the tooltip for HTML elements
  • #region Support: The HTML editor now supports region folding. You can use surrounding snippets to surround the current selection as well.
  • Bootstrap icons: HTML editor provides the IntelliSense for class attributes and now shows the Bootstrap logo if the class name was defined by the Bootstrap CSS file.
  • Todo/Hack comment support in Task List: Now the HTML editor supports Todo and Hack comment tokens and displays them in the Task List.

UI Improvements

In the new IDE of Visual Studio 2015, menus now appear in Title Case style instead of all capitals. The Configuration and Platform dropdown values for the Visual C++ Property Page dialog has been changed to remember the last user selection when the property page is closed and reopened.



In this article we saw the improvements in the Visual Studio 2015 IDE with details. In a future article we will explore the other new features introduced in #vsconnect();.