Improvements in Blend of Visual Studio 2015

Blend Introduction

Blend is a type of software tool developed by Microsoft. It is basically used to provide a graphical and animation style to an application. Programmers can use this tool to improve the appearance of an application.

Every user wants a good, simple and attractive interface as well. Although the user isn't aware of the coding styles used by the programmer, a good interface is needed for the reliable use from the user's perspective so these types of tools can really help the programmer to develop a graphical interface for the users.

Blend Improvements

Since the release of Visual Studio by Microsoft, a tool called Blend was also released for designing a graphical interface for an application coded in wonderful languages, Likewise  XAML and so on. Now a newer version of Blend has been released by Microsoft of course with some extra features and some features were omitted from this new version that really helps developers and designers for enhancing the graphical interface of an application.

Improvements announced for Blend are as follows:

  • Highlight User Interface with Visual Studio
  • XAML IntelliSense
  • Basic Debugging Capabilities
  • Peek in XAML
  • File Reload Experience Enhanced
  • Synchronized Layout and Setting
  • Team Explorer
  • NuGet
  • Better Accessibility

Highlighting User Interface with Visual Studio

Most people generally use Visual Studio , however Blend are generally used by developers because developers develop applications or very complex applications so it is necessary for making a good graphical design so that it becomes more reliable and simple to use. So people doesn't use Blend because of its complexity level but now it becomes native to Visual Studio that makes switching to and from Visual Studio a more pleasant and productive experience so everyone can use it.

home screen of blend

Figure: Enhanced home screen view native to Visual Studio.

XAML IntelliSense

IntelliSense can be thought of as an automatic statement completion feture like when we work in any IDE so for time saving the suggestions appear on the screen before the cursor position. This is a very good feature of Blend that is enhanced by Microsoft that gives a user a very reliable experience.

Intellisense XAML

Figure: Suggestions to the programmer enhance through XAML IntelliSense

Basic Debugging Capabilities

Since it is already said above that Blend is native to Visual Studio, you can now debug in Blend, including setting breakpoints in your code to debug your running app. To maintain a consistent debugging experience with Visual Studio, Blend includes Visual Studio's debugging windows and toolbars that gives the user an experience of a home window of Visual Studios.

Peek in XAML

Peek in XAML Enhanced is in various contexts and allows programmers to view and edit XAML controls and resources within the context in which they are used. Developers can even browse using a series of XAML declarations without leaving the original XAML file. Furthermore, you can do in-place editing of style and templates within the document that consumes them using Peek in XAML. This feature reduces the overhead of the developer in the editing context while designing.

peek in blend

Figure: Enhanced peek in XAML, code and graphics can be seen or can be edit.

File Reload Experience Enhanced

If you take the consideration of previous versions of Blend then a difficulty is encountered by programmers for reloads done manually. Now in this version after just opening the file with Blend it automatically takes care of loading and reloading.

To minimize workflow interruptions, you can now set your file reload preferences to the file reload dialog.

Synchronized Layout and Setting

Now in this version the settings toolbar is enhanced and the layout can be synchronized so as to avoid ambiguity. Custom layouts enable the user to save and apply tool window layout customizations. Blend will synchronize these customizations and preferences across machines once the user signs into the IDE with the same Microsoft account.

Team Explorer

The latest release of the Blend tool includes Team Explorer in which the programmer can manage his projects with GIT or TFS (Team Foundation Server) repositories to facilitate team collaboration that is necessarily for effective project development.


NuGet is a package manager that keeps track of all the packages to be installed and discarded. It shows the versions available to update. Now one can manage packages in Blend as well that enables using improvement released by Microsoft.

Nuget manager

Figure: the NuGet manager that manages packages.

Better Accessibility

This version has better Accessibility. You can use your keyboard and screen reader software to interact with several areas of the Blend user interface, including top level menus, Solution Explorer and Team Explorer. Although some features remain untouched, like SketchFlow and HTML Design Support. To use these features the programmer will need to use previous versions of Blend.


This article is about the latest enhancements released in Blend 2015 by Microsoft. There are some brilliant features released by Microsoft, such as an enhanced appearance, auto file reload and synchronization with an account. However some features remain intact, like HTML design support and SketchfFow.

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