Microsoft Releases .NET Framework 4.5.1
64-bit Edit and Continue is the key feature addition.
On the same day Microsoft released the final version of Visual Studio 2013, a less-heralded but critical product for developers also got its official edition: the .NET Framework 4.5.1.
The latest version of .NET is a "customer-focused release", states a blog entry from the ".NET Team" from earlier today. Rather than a raft of bug fixes, this version is more about adding features.
The top feature added was by far the most requested by developers: X64 Edit and Continue (EnC). The delay in adding it, according to the blog, was the necessity to get other features in place first:
"We've wanted to add that feature for a long time, but we always had at least two other features ahead of it in our priority list. This time, we decided that it really needed to get done and didn't bother with any of the priority lists."
X86 EnC has been around since the days of Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0. But there has been no 64-bit version until now. With X64 EnC, a developer can stop at a breakpoint with edited source in an invalid state. The source can then be made valid, followed by the developer stepping again and continuing to run the application.
The blog pointed to numerous other upgrades as well, including:
Microsoft calls the .NET Framework 4.5.1 a "highly compatible, in-place upgrade" from .NET 4 and .NET 4.5. It's available from the Microsoft Download Center. The Preview version of .NET 4.5.1 was released June 26 of this year.
A key feedback driver for the .NET Framework and Visual Studio products is the Visual Studio UserVoice site, which allows developers to request features, and other developers to vote on them, signifying their agreement with the request. The UserVoice requests that were fulfilled with .NET 4.5.1 are X64 EnC; function return value in the debugger; sorting and filtering in the Code analysis window; and Large Object Heap (LOH) compaction.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.