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New Visual Studio Preview Boosts Performance, Productivity, More

Performance, productivity and diagnostics are three areas of focus in new previews of the Visual Studio family just unveiled yesterday: Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.6 Preview 2 and Visual Studio for Mac Version 7.4 Preview.

This is the second preview of the VS 2017 15.6 series following the production launch of v15.5 last month.

Performance continues to be a main focus of the new VS preview, building on previous efforts to get large C# and Visual Basic projects to load quicker. In this round, the VS team addressed faster load times for projects that have already been opened.

"We optimized our use of the design time build cache and parallelized the way project data is loaded, which enables Visual Studio to leverage disk and CPU more efficiently," the team said in a post. "Our lab measurements of this change show that large C# and Visual Basic solutions will 'warm' load twice as fast as before. If you have a large solution project, we know you'll appreciate this feature."

Small but useful features were also added to boost productivity. Developers now have a new command -- duplicate line (Ctrl+E,V) -- that duplicates a line of code without overriding the existing paste buffer content. Another tweak lets coders navigate to decompiled sources. "When enabled, invoking Go To Definition or Peek Definition on any referenced type or member will show its definition with reconstructed method bodies via ILSpy decompilation."

IDE diagnostics were improved by easing the navigation through asynchronous code -- providing a better understanding of its performance characteristics -- when using the enhanced CPU Usage Tool.

Other tweaks and improvements were incorporated to boost C++ development, Azure cloud development, the Test Explorer, Xamarin and more.

Microsoft reminded developers that the previews -- which can be installed alongside other VS installations on the same machine without adverse effects -- provide both an opportunity for coders to try out new features before they're mainstreamed (while getting fixes faster) and also to provide feedback to Visual Studio engineers. All or nearly all of such previews in Microsoft's new release cadence -- see "Visual Studio 2017 Release Rhythm" -- incorporate developer feedback or suggestions garnered from the preview process. The aforementioned announcement post provides details on how participate in the preview program.

Developers interested in learning more about the new offerings can consult the following resources, all published or updated as of yesterday:

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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