CODEM: Compile Once Debug on Many Using HoloLens and Visual Studio

I first published this post over on WinDevs .Net, but though I’d share it here too on my general blog. The full text is reproduced below.

Microsoft’s recently announced HoloLens, the world’s first augmented reality headset, to be powered by Windows 10, and some never-before-seen hardware technology, like an HPU (Holographic Processing Unit), offers completely new opportunities for software developers and computing in general. One such opportunity for software developers I have termed CODEM: Compile Once DEbug on Many software debugging and testing using HoloLens and Visual Studio.

Visual Studio is already a solid multi-platform, multi-device, integrated development environment (IDE). But currently when you compile a project you can’t target multiple platforms or devices simultaneously and run them side-by-side to see how things are coming along. With HoloLens, coupled with advanced Visual Studio emulators, this could indeed be the development environment of the future.

Imagine developing a Windows Universal App targeting desktops, tablets, and phones and being able to display their emulators side-by-side during testing. “Well, the phone and desktop look good, but the layout isn’t adjusting properly for 7″ to 8″ devices.” With HoloLens you’d be able to have say three emulators running side-by-side, visualized against a large whiteboard. You could reposition them, resize them, and interact with them as if they were physical devices running a release build. Something’s not quite right? Fix, recompile, retest and make sure all of your targets are working properly.

My ultimate vision is that at compile you’d be able to not only target multiple devices simultaneously, but also multiple platforms. Imagine having a Windows phone, Android, and iOS emulator running together, side-by-side, with different sized screens for each, targeting either specific phone models and/or general screen sizes, and being able to interact with all of them through HoloLens.

Conceptually, CODEM seems to be a simple and obvious idea, but certainly it would take quite a bit of development to make this vision a reality. Nevertheless, history has proven that if a possibility is technologically feasible, it’ll happen. And I’m looking forward to the day CODEM becomes the standard for software development.

Code well, code often!

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