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Microsoft has released Visual Studio 15 Preview 5. The company made the announcement yesterday and says the update focuses on improving performance. Because of the enhanced performance, loading projects and extensions is easier.

Visual Studio 15 has been moving through preview builds throughout the year. The last couple of releases have slowed down on offering new features. Microsoft is instead focusing on tweaking the experience as we get close to the official production release.

As has been the case with other previews, the company says users should avoid installing it on a production environment. That’s because this is still an unsupported preview. However, Preview 5 does install directly onto any previous Visual Studio 15 preview.

Microsoft says Visual Studio can now load “the solution for the entire .NET Compiler Platform “Roslyn” in 30 seconds with Visual Studio ‘15’ compared to 60 seconds with Visual Studio 2015”:

Because of this improved performance and loading capability, Microsoft has been able to make gains. The company points out the following performance enhancements in Preview 5:

  • Shorter solution load time with lightweight project load: Working on solutions that contain upwards of 100 projects doesn’t mean you need to work with all the files or projects at a given time. VS “15” provides editing and debugging functionality without waiting for Visual Studio to load every project. You can try out this capability with managed projects in Preview 5 by turning on “Lightweight Solution Load” from Tools -> Options -> Projects and Solutions.
  • Faster startup with on-demand loading of extensions: The idea is simple: load extensions when they’re needed, rather than when VS starts. In Preview 5 we started this effort by moving our Python and Xamarin extensions to load on demand and are working on moving all extensions we ship with Visual Studio and extensions shipped by third party extension vendors to this model. Curious about which extensions impact startup, solution load, and typing performance? You can see this information in Help -> Manage Visual Studio Performance. Do you develop an extension? We will be publishing guidance to help extension developers move to on-demand loading.
  • Moving subsystems from the main VS process to separatel processes: We moved some memory-intensive tasks such as Git Source Control, and our JavaScript and TypeScript language services to separate processes. This makes it less likely for you to experience delays caused by code running in the main Visual Studio process, or Visual Studio becoming sluggish and even crashing as the main process approaches the 4GB memory limit of 32-bit processes. We will continue to move components out-of-process in coming releases.
  • Faster project load, coding, and debugging for C++: We have made loading C++ projects faster. Check out this video showing the improvement. You can enable this by setting “Enable Faster Project Load” to True from Tools -> Options -> Text Editor -> C/C++ -> Experimental. We have also made improvements to our linker and PDB loading libraries to make incremental builds and launching the debugger much faster while significantly reducing memory consumption while debugging.
  • Improved speed of Git source control operations by using git.exe: We have improved debugging performance by optimizing initialization and other costs related to IntelliTrace and the Diagnostic Tools window, and removed several delays that occur when editing and switching between XAML files.

Continued Development

Microsoft concludes that the journey with Visual Studio 15 is only just beginning. The company says it will continue to improve the experience for users and to make it more efficient. If you are interested, you can install Preview 5 right now.