What's So Awesome in Blend For Visual Studio 2015

Recently Microsoft announced the Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2015. Visual Studio 2015 comes with Blend for Visual Studio. Blend in Visual Studio 2015 has a new look. Let's discuss some of the new features of Blend for Visual Studio 2015.

Look & Feel

Previous versions of Blend for Visual Studio was 2013. Blend had a different IDE than Visual Studio had though they were synced with each other in an amazing way it created confusion for new developers or student developers. Blend had less chrome like Visual Studio but it was entirely different from the Visual Studio IDE. In version 2015, it has the same look and feel of Visual Studio with more support for designers. Now Blend is a complete IDE where you can code and manage your Nuget packages.

Sync With Visual Studio

Microsoft has worked really hard to improve the sync experience. In previous versions of Blend you had to sync the changes that you do in Visual Studio or Blend manually by clicking the button for "YES" or "YES TO ALL".

But now it will only prompt you once and you have the option for automatic SYNCs across both IDEs.

Team Explorer in Blend for Visual Studio 2015

If you are creating a sample or designing an application and you want to push your code to to Git or any other source control and you are on 2013 version of Blend then you need to open your project in Visual Studio to do that. But in version 2015 of the Team Explorer there is the Blend IDE so that you can easily use it inside Blend.

BUILD BUILD & BUILD AGAIN

In previous version of Blend if you created a Custom Control, you had to build it several times to make it usable. Where you need to build several times to sync the changes between Visual Studio and Blend. In version 2015 you need not use Build again and again, this version comes with a very mature IDE with full a coding experience.

Creating Projects

Since Blend 2013 was a different IDE than Visual Studio, it had only a few options for creating projects inside Blend but with Blend 2015 the same experience of Visual Studio has been provided and it comes with more options. It's time to say a very good bye to "Confusion".

Here is an example of creating a WPF Application in Blend for Visual Studio 2015



The Design enriched features of Blend

Blend 2015 comes with the same enriched features as previous versions of Blend but they are now more mature and more user friendly. As you can see in the image below, the toolbar has shifted and now the nearly sam as the design view. It creates a better user experience for the developer or designer when designing applications. Amazing animations, resources, visual states and control editing can be experienced in this version of Blend too.

A quick demo of previous tabs and features in the new IDE of Blend for Visual Studio 2015

Intellisense

Every Blend user wants Intellisense. Microsoft has listened and now Blend for Visual Studio 2015 has complete Intellisense, either that be in XAML or when editing C# , Visual Basic or JavaScript files. Peek Navigation is a new feature of Blend for Visual Studio that enables fast XAML editing on GO.

Here is a simple demo of Intellisense in Blend for Visual Studio 2015

Live Visual Tree

Want to try a new color? Want to change the border size? We usually do these kinds of operations to check and test the UI of our application. But every time we wanted to do it we had to stop debugging (in Visual Studio). Blend for Visual Studio now offers a debugging experience and it also offers a live visual tree in which you can change the User Interface when debugging and test whether the UI looks fine of not.

Here is Live Visual Tree in action

tree

With it you can check the options and quickly navigate to the theme drop down. You would see that the theme name would be "Blend" . Blend for Visual Studio 2015 comes with it's specialized theme names "Blend". You can also switch to another theme as well.

Conclusion

Blend for Visual Studio 2015 is surely an awesome tool for designers and developers as well. Creating awesome designs of applications has become easier. Not only for designers but now Blend will be a favorite tool for Developers as well.

Options of Sketch Flow is not available in Blend for Visual Studio 2015 but if you need that, you may switch to Blend for Visual Studio 2013 to use that.

I hope you like this article. If you have any suggestion or you want us to talk on some feature of Blend for Visual Studio 2015 post it under comments.

Happy Blending until next time.