Aside from Microsoft’s big announcement of making .NET an open source and cross platform, the company also is offering Visual Studio Community 2013 for free for to small businesses, students, startups, and developers. It’s the newest fully featured addition to the Visual Studio lineup.

Free Visual Studio Community 2013

Microsoft is opening its access to Visual Studio Community 2013 to give developers great tools in building apps. The platform is made for mobile to web and is powered by the cloud. Unlike the Visual Studio Express which only offers very limited access, Visual Studio Community 2013 is very extensible with over 5,100 extensions in its ecosystem. Microsoft is scaling Visual Studio bigger with its full features.

Tools like Peek, Graphical Debugging, Code Analysis, and more can be accessed as usual. And while the features for the platform are free, users are only given capabilities to create non-enterprise applications across all platforms and services.

Improved Visual Studio 2015 Preview

Microsoft also unveiled a preview of what Visual Studio 2015 will look like, which will potentially contain additional tools and capabilities for development. The tools featured include a Visual Diagnostics tool, Timeline tool, and a redesigned Blend designer experience.

These are the highlighted features of the upcoming Visual Studio 2015:

• -Ability to create ASP.NET 5 websites that can run on multiple platforms

• -Integrated support for building apps

• -Connected Services manager

• -Smart Unit Tests (based on the PEX technology developed by Microsoft Research)

• -New coding productivity capabilities

• -New language features in C# 6

• -Support for breakpoint configuration and PerfTips

• -Edit and debug a single set of C++ source code

• -More complete C++ 11 and C++ 14 support, as well as dozens of additional productivity features for C++ developers

Xamarin Works with the Free Visual Studio Community 2013

To help developers built native Android and iOS apps, Xamarin has integrated its cross-platform development tools with Visual Studio Community 2013. Xamarin is offering its Starter Edition for free and ensures to help developers create more capable apps.

Xamarin’s development tools can also be used with the Visual Studio 2015 Preview release.