Q&A: What's New in Visual Studio 2017

Visual Studio 2017 is coming March 7. Microsoft Dev Evangelist Robert Green talks about the top new features, best improvements for mobile/Xamarin developers and more in this Q&A preview of his Visual Studio Live! session on the same topic.

As you've no doubt heard by now, Visual Studio 2017 will be released on March 7th. Microsoft Technical Evangelist for Developer Experience Robert Green will be following up the official Visual Studio 2017 launch event by talking about all things Visual Studio 2017 (and other topics) at Visual Studio Live! Las Vegas, taking place March 13-17.

Green recently took the time to answer some of our many questions about what to expect from Visual Studio 2017 and his session on the same topic:

What is your number one favorite feature you've seen so far in Visual Studio 2017?
It is always hard to pick just one, but at the moment, I will say lightweight solution load. Say you have a solution with six projects. In the current Visual Studio, when you open the solution you have to wait for all of them to load before you can start working with any of them. In Visual Studio 2017, none of the projects fully loads when you open the solution. They only load when you need them. The solution opens much faster and you don't have to wait as long to get started with a project. And you don't have to have all the projects loaded to do things like edit code across projects or build the solution.

What is your second favorite feature?
Configurable code style rules. Everybody has their own ideas about what their code should look like and what conventions they should follow. But how do you enforce these? Visual Studio 2017 has built-in configurable style rules. So using the Options dialog, you can specify that interface names should start with a capital I, that braces should be on new lines for methods but not for properties, that you should use var for built-in types or when the type is obvious. What this means is that you can define for yourself what readable code looks like and Visual Studio will help you.

How do you expect Visual Studio 2017 to improve developer productivity?
Improving developer productivity is a key goal of every new version of Visual Studio. The goal is to help you write better code and to reduce the time it takes to write code. There are a large number of things added to Visual Studio 2017, including the two I talked about above, to make you more productive. If you want to see more, check out my Visual Studio Live! talk on What's New in Visual Studio 2017.

Why should developers start working with the RC now instead of waiting for the release?
We are currently on RC3 and just announced Visual Studio 2017 will be available on March 7. So it is just about done. If you want to get a jump start on it, download the RC and take a look.

Can you talk about some of the improvements to mobile that Visual Studio 2017 holds?
There are enhancements to Xamarin development, such as new Xamarin project templates, including one with a master-detail navigation pattern, and the ability to spin up and connect to an Azure App Service when creating a new Xamarin project. There are enhancements to Cordova development, including faster builds and a new browser-based simulator that improves edit and debug speed. There is also Visual Studio Mobile Center, a set of cloud services for building and managing mobile apps. And of course Visual Studio for Mac, built from the ground up and a full featured IDE for Xamarin, ASP.NET Core and Azure.

What are some things in Visual Studio 2017 that long-time VS users may not like?
I suspect they will tell us, so I don't want to predict ahead of time. But if folks have ideas, they should let us know at

What is the best thing that people will get out of attending your Visual Studio Live! session?
They will see a ton of new features in Visual Studio 2017 that they can use to be more productive.

About the Author

Becky Nagel is the former editorial director and director of Web for 1105 Media's Converge 360 group, and she now serves as vice president of AI for company, specializing in developing media, events and training for companies around AI and generative AI technology. She's the author of "ChatGPT Prompt 101 Guide for Business Users" and other popular AI resources with a real-world business perspective. She regularly speaks, writes and develops content around AI, generative AI and other business tech. Find her on X/Twitter @beckynagel.

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