When I decided to write about Visual Studio Dev Essentials, I started by trying to remember when was launched and had to search for it, turns out it was launched in Connect(); 2015 developer event in New York City.
This was a big year and full of huge changes, that in my opinion, was the beginning of a new Microsoft, Visual Studio Code was open-sourced, .Net Core was pushed along with ASP.NET 5 release candidates, among other many awesome news back then, but even after all these years, I think that many people never heard about Visual Studio Dev Essentials and all its goodness and that's what I would like to write about today.
To begin, Microsoft describes Visual Studio Dev Essentials as "Everything you need all in one place!" by this they mean "Get everything you need to build and deploy your app on any platform. With state-of-the-art tools, the power of the cloud, training, and support, it’s our most comprehensive free developer program ever."
From developer tools, cloud services, software, and training resources, there's a bit of everything. If you're like me and I know I am, go to https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/dev-essentials/ to access your benefits now.
To this day, I think the tool I use the most is Azure DevOps, I get a platform where I can have my projects, public or private, repositories, and the pipeline to have Continuous Integration and Delivery in one place, it's possible to add users so I can invite people to collaborate on them at any time, a lot has changed in these almost 5 years and not surprisingly for the better and the good stuff just keep coming!
Once you sign in and you access your benefits you'll get to a dashboard where you can see everything in it. Visual Studio for Windows and Mac are available in their community editions, which you could also get without the benefit as Visual Studio Code, but here, you have everything in one place, just in case you don't remember where to get them.
There are loads of other resources with free subscriptions for a few months if you're an avid learner, two of the huge benefits you can get from it are 1-month free subscription of Pluralsight and Linkedin Learning I would suggest to use one when the other one ends to take the most advantage of both, but Pluralsight has been my favourite since a long time.
This very blog was set up with my Azure benefit, one of the goodies in the bundle is $200 USD in credit (for all year) which, if you use them wisely will let you experiment a lot.
I think that what I like the most is that it provides an initial toolkit to develop your skills and try things and see what you can do or not with a minimum investment, eventually just your time, Microsoft got you covered. If you're into Data, you are an R aficionado and Machine Learning is your middle name, you can take advantage of the 2-month subscription of Data Camp or maybe you're more into coding, then the 1-year digital subscription of the Code Magazine will keep you up to date with the latest news.
On the Downloads tab, you'll get also the opportunity to find the download links to Visual Studio, Team Foundation Server, .Net framework and SQL Server if you want to install them instead of using Azure.
Leave a comment on what you think about Visual Studio Dev Essentials if you are using it or used before, what you loved and what you didn't, or anything else.