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Third Preview of Visual Studio 2017 v15.6 Improves Build Tools, More

It's been just a couple week since the second preview of Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6, with the latest iteration featuring improvements to Visual Studio Build Tools, Snapshot Debugging and more.

It builds on improvements announced in the second preview earlier this month, which among other things smoothed the development process of iOS apps with Xamarin.

The updates in the third preview include new support for TypeScript and Node.js in Visual Studio Build Tools.

"The Visual Studio Build Tools allow you to create build servers without installing all of Visual Studio," the release notes say. "The installer already supports C++, ASP.NET, and .NET Core for Desktop projects. In response to customer requests, we are enhancing the Visual Studio Build Tools to support additional project types. In this release we have added support for TypeScript and Node.js projects. We expect to add support for more project types in future releases." The Visual Studio Build Tools for this preview are available for download (Note: clicking on link downloads an executable).

A Microsoft summary of the other updates in preview 3 includes:

  • ClickOnce Tools now supports signing application and deployment manifests file with CNG certificate.
  • Snapshot Debugging can now be started from the Debug Target dropdown for ASP.NET applications.
  • Microsoft added installation progress details on Visual Studio Installer.
  • The C++ compiler optimizes code to run faster through improved optimizations.
  • The company improved error reporting and performance for F# language and tools.

For C++ developers, the team enacted improvements to compile time, the C++ linker and provide-guided optimization.

F++ developers also got several language and tooling improvements with the help of community volunteers (the F# Compiler, Core Library & Tools are open source) who were thanked by name.

A number of fixes were also made concerning:

  • CMake: Exception on loading a project throws "Value cannot be null. Parameter name: path2" error.
  • VS2017 brings new parallel build synchronization issues where VS2015 was stable (C++).
  • Updated C++ compiler broke variadic template expansion.
  • CMake: Cache generation sticks on saving CMakeLists.txt.
  • ServiceHub service host crashes when shutting down an AppDomain due to race condition in CLR's I/O pipes code.
  • Update from VS2017 Enterprise 15.4.5 to 15.5 generates Python3 error.
  • Run tests in Parallel not remembered after restart.
  • Incremental linking broken with multiple projects.
  • Build Tools 2017 installer still missing .NET Core 2.0 SDK.
  • Ctrl-Shift-B does not just build -- it launches ASP.NET Core app.

Microsoft reiterated that such VS previews are not "go-live" and shouldn't be used on production computers or for creating production code.

The company is seeking developer feedback on the preview, via the "Report a Problem" option in the installer or Visual Studio IDE, along with the UserVoice site.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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