What's New in Visual Studio 2017 15.6

Microsoft shipped Visual Studio 2017 15.6 yesterday, with improved performance -- especially in solution load times -- topping the list of new features and enhancements.

Visual Studio 2017 15.6 was shipped nearly three months to the day after version 15.6, following seven preview releases.

A common thread of those previews was improving the performance, with yesterday's release continuing that effort with a focus on loading large C# and Visual Basic solutions, an initiative in the works since a Nov. 20 v15.5 preview.

"In 15.6, we continued improving solution load performance, specifically for scenarios when design time build results are cached," Microsoft said. "Large C# and Visual Basic solutions will load twice as fast as before when a solution has already been opened on a machine."

.NET core solutions, meanwhile, also received a solution load time boost, measured in the lab at about 20 percent faster.

Also on the performance front, the IDE will provide warnings about installed extensions that slow solution load times or otherwise bog down the UI.

"In order to provide more transparency around extensions' impact on performance and reliability, Visual Studio performs real-time analysis to determine whether an extension is likely to have caused unresponsiveness," Microsoft said. "If an extension is determined to have caused the hang, Visual Studio will display a notification which allows the user to disable the suspect extension or suppress future notifications for that extension."

Among a host of other new features are improvements to F# for functional programming, especially for .NET Core SDK solutions. While F# is newer than its C# and Visual Basic brethren, it's seeing more usage as functional programming is made more popular by frameworks such as React and React Native.

"A lot of improvements went into F# and its tools for this release," Microsoft said. "The most significant of them are related to .NET Core SDK projects. As always, significant contributions from the community came together here, as well."

Those F# improvements affect the compiler and core library improvements, tooling, infrastructure and more.

These changes were welcomed on the Reddit social coding site, where one developer said, "the list of FSharp improvements is amazing."

Dozens of other new features, improvements and bug fixes affect C++ programming, Python, Visual Studio Tools for Xamarin, debugging and diagnostics, VS Web tools, Team Explorer, UWP tools, Build tools and many more.

You can read more about all of the above and more in comprehensive detail in the release notes.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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