Tools for Developers? Welcome to Visual Studio Dev Essentials.

Tools for Developers? Welcome to Visual Studio Dev Essentials.

2020, Jan 15    

I have been a software engineer for quite some time, and i remember the time when it was more challenging to deploy your application, have a sql database to work on, host your developed code privately and publicly. For example, I remember the time that I worked with java and to deploy my app for free, it was like a scene of the Indiana Jones movies. Fortunelly, the world has changed and it become more easy to have almost every service on the same hub.

Few years ago I tried it out Microsoft program Visual Studio Dev Essentials. Yes, I said years. The program isn’t new and it has grown through the time.

What is the “Visual Studio Dev Essentials”?

In an nutshell … it is a catalogue of free (or trial free) tools, cloud services and training. You need to have an Microsoft account, which is free also, to register the program.

Once inside you reach you developer hub.


On these page you have four sections:

These benefits, most likely, will change through time and may increase if you have a MSDN subscription.


In here we can search for available software to download free of charge (it may be time based trial) that your subscription has access.

Product Keys

If you have a valid subscription, you will have your license keys available in here.


You will manage your subscription in this section.


Because sometimes we don’t know everything.


Search for “Extensions for the Visual Studio family of products”.

Where to start

IMHO, there are two must have services up and running from this program: Azure DevOps and Azure Cloud Services.

In Azure DevOps, after you create your organization (which is the name of the scope of your solution), you will have a set of tools that will assist you within your project. You have boards, repositories, test plans, pipelines, artefacts and a marketplace that will assist you in manage and control your project.

In Azure, you will have access to a dozens of free services and credit to use on paid services. You can host a website with access to a Azure SQL Database (or Posgres or MySql or CosmosDB), using your favourite programming language :P . Your imagination is the limit.

Just remember to activate all services to benefit from the “Visual Studio Dev Essentials” program.

Regarding the training benefits, activate them when you have time to attend the e-learning courses. :)


This program is great for developers. It gives a chance to work with the state of the art of the technology for free and with great resources for learning them.