Visual Studio '15' Is What's vNext

Microsoft offered a preview of Visual Studio '15' at Build last week. And whileit's just not quite ready for prime time, it's got an impressive number of changes with practically every tool in it that demand developer attention.

Microsoft put most of the focus of the developer-oriented news it released at last week's Build 2016 Conference on Universal Windows Platform, Azure, and Office 365 developer hooks, but Visual Studio wasn't completely ignored. The company showed an early preview of Visual Studio '15' that gives a pretty optimistic look at what's to come in vNext.

"This preview lays a lot of groundwork for vNext, so you may not see a ton of new features." writes John Montgomery, Director of Program Management with the Visual Studio team, in a blog post.

Being an early preview, Montgomery is quick to point out that it's not to be put into production, nor is there any official support for it. As is now a fairly common approach to development, his team is looking for lots of feedback on the preview release, seeking the community's help in refining the features as it takes the tool suite further into development. Feedback can be provided using the Send Feedback option from withiin VS, or via the UserVoice site for VS.

As it is a suite, there's lots going on in this release with quite a few of the individual pieces:

Visual C++: Enhanced support for C++11 and C++14 features, such as constexpr and variable templates, and and some support for certain features that are planned for C++17 standard. There's also support for the full C++ Standard Library, and use of the /bigobj switch when using Clang for large projects.

Visual C# and Visual Basic: Provides three new style analyzers for team coding convention enforcement, and a number of refactoring enhancements. It also provides previews of proposed language extensions for C#, such as nested local functions and pattern matching extensions.

XAML: Supports Edit & Continue while working on XAML from within WPF or Universal Windows App, which removes the extra compile step to see immediate coding effects.

IDE: Launches faster at startup, and also explicitly provides licensing status/info. Also uses Open Folder to navigate projects and solutions without having to open Solution Explorer.

Application Insights: Incorporates new AI features, including improved toast info from within VS, and more refined searching capabilities of AI telemetry while debugging, as well as ability to search through related telemetry.

Team Explorer: Work items will pop up when opening Visual Studio Team Services in a browser, and that same work item data will appear in the older work item form that's familiar to those who work with TFS 2015.

SQL Server: VS 15 Preview includes support for Azure SQL Database as well as SQL Server 2016.

VS 15 is available here.

About the Author

You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at

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