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Faster, More Creative Visual Studio 2017 Update

Support for Windows 10 Creators Update SDK and Xamarin Workbooks, updates to the Redgate Data Tools, and a number of performance enhancements are good reasons for developers to take heed with this VS 2017 update.

Visual Studio 2017 splashed online just a few weeks ago, but there's already an important update that Microsoft's Visual Studio team has released to the Web just this week that adds support for the Windows 10 Creators Update SDK, Xamarin Workbooks for C# 7, and the Redgate Data Tools. It's also sports a number of performance improvements.

The Windows 10 Creators Update SDK provides an "in" for developers who want to enable some of the creative functionality built into Windows 10 Creators Update (W10CU is particularly strong in gaming, Cortana-enablement, and Web app development features).

The SDK support includes a few related improvements, notes Microsoft Program Manager, in a blog post. "We made several improvements, such as an updated .NET Native compiler, PackageReference support for UWP projects targeting the Creators Update," he said, adding that it also has "XAML IntelliSense warnings for types and properties that are not available on all Windows versions, support for creation of streaming install packages, as well as creation of optional packages and related sets."

As for developers using C# 7.0 with Roslyn 2.0, Montgomery said that they can now take advantage of Xamarin Workbooks, now that it's supported in the newer language version. He also said Xamarin.iOS and Xamarin.Android have been streamlined to reduce memory usage and use less disk space.

The Redgate tools were part of the initial launch, but only were partially integrated. The updated tools support includes the ability to take advantage of code completion when performing queries externally and apart from SQL Server Object Explorer. As well, the ReadyRoll Core tools now support Azure SQL Database temporal tables, and includes several database management improvements in the Visual Studio Team Services extension.

There's also a number of performance improvements in this update. Montgomery cites a separate blog post from Visual Studio Principal Software Engineer, Bertan Aygun, for details. The highlight list is a list of what's faster: installation, startups, load times for C++ and C#, Git operations, and debugging.

Much of the performance improvements come not from loading faster, but "by reducing what's loaded at startup," said Aygun. "Some major examples include optimization of Xamarin and Python tooling components to only load when relevant projects are opened." He cites one example, a feature he calls "Lightweight Solution Load" that "defers loading of projects as much as possible while still providing the most commonly used features without projects being loaded." Developers loading Roslyn from GitHub, he notes, will see it load faster because it uses Lightweight Solution Load.

It's just one of the areas of performance improvements; you can read about others in Aygun's blog here.

Visual Studio 2017 Update release notes are here.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed several developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. He's also managed IT pubs for 1105 Media, including Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine and Virtualization Review before landing his current gig as Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief. Besides his publishing life, he's a professional photographer, whose work can be found by Googling domingophoto.

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