Microsoft recently announced the official release of Visual Studio 2015. It’s faster and offers some nice new features like the Roslyn API for Intellisense and refactorings, ES2015 syntax support, and (most importantly) finally reverts those ALL CAPS MENUS back to Title Casing.
However, you may notice another change if you’ve been using Web Essentials to transpile Less to CSS in Visual Studio 2013. One of the first things you may notice about Visual Studio 2015 is that Web Essentials 2015 has dropped that feature entirely.
That leaves you in an interesting predicament after upgrading to Visual Studio 2015. The official line is that you should update your project to use the new Task Runner Explorer along with grunt or gulp for tasks like Less compilation and CSS minification. That’s a bit of a speed bump though.
I’m a proponent of using task runners like grunt and gulp (In fact, I’ve been using grunt to build this site’s client-side assets for years), but it doesn’t make sense to invest in converting all of my existing projects over to the new paradigm immediately. That’s especially true of client projects, where I can’t move an entire team to a new toolchain and workflow overnight.
However, after using Visual Studio 2015 daily for several months, I would be an unhappy camper if I could only use Visual Studio 2013 and Web Essentials 2013 to maintain those existing projects.
So, in this post I want to show you the solution I’m using to keep Less compilation working in those existing projects, without Web Essentials or any other plugins.
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