Visual Studio 2017
Image: Microsoft YouTube channel

Microsoft has announced version 15.4 for Visual Studio 2017 with a myriad of new features. Among the new additions are productivity improvements, preparations for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and ASP.NET Core support for Docker.

As we have discussed before, Visual Studio 2017 installs faster than previous versions. Users can customize elements they want to use and leave others. This means installs come with less components. By employing this method, users can start up the suite three times faster than Visual Studio 2015.

With version 15.4, productivity improvements have been added to make the suite more efficient. C#, VB, and Python developers can now navigate through projects more easily with Ctrl+Click to reach Go To Definition.

The company has also refined the Live Unit Testing (LUT) experience in Visual Studio. LUT is now integrated into the Task Center Notification, through a background processing alert.

As mentioned, Visual Studio 2017 now supports Universal Windows Platform Development prepared for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. When UWP development workload is uploaded, the Fall Creators Update SDK is automatically installed.

With ASP.NET Core support for Docker container registry, it is possible to publish a docker enabled ASP.NET Core project to Azure Container Registry (ACR). Projects can also be published in Docker Hub and other registries.

Xamarin Live Player is also available in Visual Studio 2017. The feature allows users to test, develop, and publish mobile apps on iOS and Android.

Additional Visual Studio 15.4 Features

“Windows Application Packaging Project. In Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4, you will get the first peek at a new project template that enables Windows desktop apps created with .NET or C++ to be packaged inside an .appx package for easier distribution via side-loading or submission to the Microsoft Store. These templates work for both new Windows desktop projects, as well as for existing projects.

C++ Development. You can now use CMake for Linux C++ development in Visual Studio, which allows you to use CMake based projects that target Windows, Linux, or both. Simply open a folder with your CMake project, select Linux as your target and upon connecting to your Linux machine your sources are synchronized for you. Once the CMake cache generation is complete you’ll have full IntelliSense for your project and targets for building, running and debugging within Visual Studio. In addition to CMake support for Linux C++ development, with Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4 Preview you can now benefit from CMake version 3.9 and improved support for projects with multiple CMakeLists.

Data Science. R Tools supported Remote R execution on Windows already – we now support Linux connectivity as well. There are also numerous improvements around RMarkdown editing, Roxygen colorization and IntelliSense, Linting, and Plot multi-selection.

Updates to the XAML Designer for UWP developers targeting the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. We are heavily investing in improving the performance, reliability, and fidelity of the XAML design surface. For our initial release, the updates are only available to developers who have the Fall Creators Update installed, and are targeting the Fall Creators Update in their projects.

XAML Edit & Continue Improvements. You can edit or remove XAML resources using XAML Edit & Continue. In addition, you can also add ControlTemplates to your XAML while using XAML Edit & Continue. To leverage these new features, make sure you are running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Mobile development with Xamarin. The Mobile .NET (Xamarin) workload now has a 36% smaller installation footprint. Support for iOS 11 and Android 8.0 Oreo SDKs has been added, so you can implement new features introduced in these updates directly in your apps using Xamarin.”