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Visual Studio Team Adds More Python Functionality

The VS Code team is well-known for going all in on Python development, but the Visual Studio IDE team has also been busy in adding and improving features for using the popular and growing programming language.

In fact, the recently announced Visual Studio 15.7 Preview 4 has several features targeting Python developers.

Previously, Microsoft has detailed Python-based features for VS 2017 15.7 previews, including IntelliSense for type hints and a preview of the ptvsd 4.0 debugger (Python Tools for Visual Studio debug server).

In the latest preview announced earlier this month, the Python work has continued, reflecting the increasing interest in Python, which was recently projected by the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language (PYPL Index) as being on the cusp of overtaking Java for the most popular of all languages.

Specifically, Preview 4 includes:

  • Faster debugging, enabled by a new version of that aforementioned ptvsd debug engine based on PyDevD, expected to be much faster. The new version doesn't yet support a couple features -- Set Next Statement and Just My Code -- but developers wanting to use those features can roll back to the previous version, Microsoft's Dan Taylor said in a blog post. "We have also made a preview of the new ptvsd available in the Python extension for Visual Studio Code, which continues to keep our debugging capabilities consistent across Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code," Taylor said.
  • IntelliSense for type hints, of which Taylor reiterated the details in his new post, while further detailing the use of MyPy with type hints. "To fully validate your code against type hints, we recommend using MyPy," he said. "MyPy is the industry standard tool for validating type hints throughout your entire project. As a separate tool, you can easily configure it to run in your build system as well as the development environment, but it is also useful to have it be easily accessible while developing."
  • Conda environments, which provide package, dependency and environment management for Python and other languages. Developers can now create and use Conda environments while also managing packages for those environments using pip or Conda. "To manage or use Conda environments from Visual Studio, you'll need Anaconda or Miniconda," Taylor said. "You can install Anaconda directly from the Visual Studio installer or get it separately if you'd rather manage the installation yourself."

The next Visual Studio 2017 15.7 preview should be coming out soon, so stay tuned for yet more Python functionality.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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