.NET Aspire Cloud Dev Tool Debuts in Visual Studio 2022 v17.10

During this week's Build 2024 developer conference, Microsoft shipped Visual Studio 2022 v17.10, the latest update to its flagship IDE that improves Copilot AI assistance and debuts the new .NET Aspire tool for cloud development.

The AI improvements were highlighted by an integrated single GitHub Copilot experience in one extension that combines the original GitHub Copilot "AI pair programmer" and the follow-on GitHub Copilot Chat tool, which advanced natural language programming. That combined and integrated AI functionality was introduced in Preview 3 last month (see "Microsoft Unifying Copilot Tools in Visual Studio 2022").

The new .NET Aspire tool, meanwhile, is described as an opinionated, cloud-ready stack for building cloud-native applications with .NET. It was featured in the first .NET 9 preview early this year (see "First .NET 9 Preview Emphasizes Cloud-Native Development, AI Apps"), and its functionality in Visual Studio Code was included in an update of the C# Dev Kit Update earlier this month (see "C# Dev Kit Update Helps Wrangle NuGet Packages and More in VS Code"). That latter article explained: "Developers can now launch .NET Aspire projects from VS Code with the familiar Ctrl-F5 (Run without debugging) command, which will start a .NET Aspire application, launching the app host project along with associated front-end and API projects."

This week, .NET Aspire went GA along with Visual Studio 2022 v17.10.

"NET Aspire brings together tools, templates, and NuGet packages that help you build distributed applications in .NET more easily," Microsoft said in announcing the tool's general availability yesterday (May 21). "Whether you're building a new application, adding cloud-native capabilities to an existing one, or are already deploying .NET apps to production in the cloud today, .NET Aspire can help you get there faster."

.NET Aspire
[Click on image for larger view.] .NET Aspire (source: Microsoft).

The Visual Studio 2022 v17.10 release notes provide more information, stating, "Whether you're building distributed, cloud-native applications using containerized resources like PostgreSQL and Redis, or Azure components like Storage or Service Bus, .NET Aspire will simplify your development experience and give you more visibility across your distributed apps."

It does that with features including:

  • Multi-project startup and debug without needing to configure a solution
  • Built-in support for HTTP resiliency, health checks, and OpenTelemetry using a set of opinionated extensions and defaults
  • Convenient in-browser views of logs, metrics, and distributed traces of containerized resources and .NET projects with the new .NET Aspire Dashboard launch experience
  • A new deployment methodology built atop the Azure Developer CLI (AZD), so devs will have multi-node deployment capability in most cases, without needing to write their own infrastructure code
.NET Aspire in Animated Action
[Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] .NET Aspire in Animated Action (source: Microsoft).

Everything a developer would want to know about .NET Aspire can be found in the .NET Aspire documentation.

Meanwhile, Microsoft focused on GitHub Copilot functionality in announcing the general availability of Visual Studio 2022 v17.10.

"With the integration of GitHub Copilot directly into Visual Studio, we're offering you a coding partner with improved context, providing smart suggestions and code completions that help you stay focused and productive," Microsoft's Mark Downie said. "We've updated the familiar features to use the latest AI models with the goal of keeping you in the creative flow for longer. To enable these AI experiences, activate your GitHub Copilot subscription today by signing in to GitHub and starting a free trial."

Other highlights of the update in the release notes include:

Debugging and Diagnostics

  • AI-generated breakpoint conditions: Copilot enhances debugging by offering smart expressions for conditional breakpoints and tracepoints based on your code, making the setup process quick and efficient.
  • Enhanced .NET counter profiler with new metrics: The .NET counter profiler in Visual Studio now supports UpDown and ObservableCounter metrics, enabling real-time tracking of incremental and decremental changes, and autonomous management of aggregated totals with customizable callbacks, respectively, along with a filter flyout feature for dynamic data filtering based on tags.
  • Improved GC insights and memory usage analysis tools: The Insights tab in the managed memory window now includes GC Insights, offering detailed analysis and time estimates for instances of induced Garbage Collection, which can hinder application performance by requiring manual intervention instead of automated memory management.

Other Enhancements

  • Cancel solution load feature: Developers wanting to stop the solution load process before all the projects get loaded can now cancel the operation and return to an empty environment IDE.
  • Improved Teams Toolkit and WinUI workload/template accessibility: The Teams Toolkit now utilizes a new project file (.ttkproj) to organize all files for managing a Teams app, and creating a new project will generate a solution with a TeamsApp project for the app manifest and toolkit features, as well as a C# project with example code for app capabilities like a conversational bot or Tab.
  • Inlay hints for C# code in Razor files: Inlay hints can now be enabled in Razor files for C# code to display parameter names and type hints inline, and this feature is accessible via Tools > Options > Text Editor > C# > Advanced.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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