Visual Studio 14 Update: CTP 4 Slims Down

Fourth in line of public previews comes with improvements to ASP.NET vNext, the Common Language Runtime, and C++ debugging and C# language constructs.

Microsoft earlier this week released the fourth community technology preview for its upcoming Visual Studio 14, this one with improvements mainly in ASP.NET vNext and .NET Framework, and some streamlining in C++ and C#.

It was nearly a month ago that CTP 3 was released with a preview of ASP.NET vNext and .NET Framework vNext. In the CTP 4 release, those features have started to take shape based on just several weeks of work and developer community feedback.

On the ASP.NET vNext side specifically, there's a few new ASP.NET tooling and Web development-related changes. One such change is the way "Visual Studio now uses a design-time host to speed up Visual Studio build scenarios for ASP.NET vNext projects," according to Visual Studio 14 Release Notes. The idea here is to shorten the process, as projects are built in memory even as changes are made.

ASP.NET vNext project templates have also gone through some improvements, specifically in its support for modern project layouts, and an alpha4 runtime package has been included as well.

The .NET Framework adds an updated version of RyuJIT, the 64-bit just in time compiler, which the support note says "provides significant performance improvements over the legacy 64-bit JIT compiler." The note also says to be aware that because of the changes to this version that there may be some lingering behavioral changes if used.

The CTP also comes with C++ debugging improvements, which are detailed in a separate post. Specifically, Microsoft's Andrew B. Hall writes of a new way to configure breakpoints and offers a demonstration of the new features of the Breakpoint Settings peek windows. He says the debugger also loads faster and is more capable of handling function deadlock issues.

The version of C# 6.0 also gets streamlined a bit, with primary constructors and declaration expressions getting cut from the language. The cuts will also effect some of the development with the .NET Compiler Platform (aka 'Roslyn'), and there's some discussion of it here on the Codeplex site. In short, there is too much "downstream work to be supported in the IDE, debugger,...." and other features to be able to make significant progress with the rest of the tools. (To read about C# 6.0 as it existed in Visual Studio 14 CTP3, see Mark Michaelis' review, "The New and Improved C# 6.0," on the MSDN Magazine Web site.)

To drill down on all the details of this release, which includes bugs and known issues and download requirements, see the Microsoft support document here.

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