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Microsoft to Nix Synchronous Auto Loading of Visual Studio Extensions

Microsoft will phase out the synchronous auto loading of Visual Studio extensions, along with delaying async auto loading until startup is finished.

The company said it's making the changes -- in response to developer feedback -- to improve performance, especially during IDE startup and the opening of solutions.

"Changes are coming to start the process of turning off synchronous auto load support," Mads Kristensen, senior program manager on the Visual Studio Extensibility Team, said in a blog post earlier this month. "This will improve the user experience and guarantees a consistent startup and solution load experience, providing a responsive IDE."

The VS team is moving completely to asynchronous auto loading that was actually introduced in Visual Studio 2015. While noting that some extensions have switched to the async model, Kristensen bemoaned the continuing use of synchronous auto loading by some extensions, which he said are "negatively impacting the performance of Visual Studio."

So support for that option will be removed completely in an upcoming, not-yet-specified update.

Visual Studio 2017 15.8, meanwhile, will see the asynchronous background auto loading of extensions delayed until after Visual Studio startup and solution load are completed.

Before 15.8 ships, however, developers will be able to test out the new timing by enabling the new async load manager in v15.6 and v15.7 via the setting of a feature flag. Starting with v15.8 Preview 2, this feature flag will be enabled by default.

"With this feature flag enabled, Visual Studio will defer auto-loading of async, background loadable packages until startup and solution load complete and Visual Studio is idle for some time," Kristensen said. "Synchronous auto-loading packages will have no change in behavior." But, as noted, those will stop working altogether in a subsequent update.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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