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How .NET Core Tools Improved in Visual Studio 2019 Preview 2

The Visual Studio 2019 Preview 2 announcement didn't say much about .NET Core -- the open source, cross-platform replacement for the ageing, Windows-only .NET Framework -- but there is some new .NET Core functionality for developers in the IDE.

In a Facebook post today, the Microsoft Visual Studio team (UK) called out that new functionality, highlighting two main updates: debugging console apps now use the new Integrated Console; and easier-to-use project files.

A Jan. 24 blog post by the .NET Engineering team's Philip Carter provided more details on both.

Noting that the Integrated Console will be opened by default upon pressing f5 or ctrl+f5 when debugging console apps that target .NET Core (or .NET Framework via the .NET SDK), Carter said, "This should prevent the need to add Console.Read() calls to console apps to prevent the console window from closing immediately after the program has finished executing. The launched console window is also re-used for subsequent runs, so if you're used to using ctrl+f5, you won't have lots of console windows to close after you've launched your application a few times." That default action can be turned off.

Meanwhile the team made project files easier to use through quicker opening -- just requiring a single click on a project node to open a file in the Preview tab or a double-click to open it in a regular tab.

"A lot of users have started to use project files directly now that they are much more human-readable, but tooling support for doing so in Visual Studio has lagged behind," Carter said.

The Visual Studio 2019 Preview 2 announcement post mentioned little about .NET Core beyond a few ASP.NET Core tweaks, though reader comments asked about: the coming XAML Designer for .NET Core 3.0; new project types for WPF and .NET Core projects; an ETA for .NET Core SDKs to match the VS 2019 Preview 2; progress on the editor support for the XAML Graphical User Interface editors for WPF, UWP on .NET Core; and more.

In response to the question, "Is there any ETA or roadmap when XAML Designer for .NET Core 3.0 will be released?" Microsoft's Daniel Jacobson said:

Don't worry -- we're working hard on making sure the XAML Designer is ready for .NET Core WPF developers. It will still be some time until it is ready as we need to undergo a fairly large re-architecture to ensure stability (take a look at this post, under the 'Reliability' header: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio/2017/09/11/a-significant-update-to-the-xaml-designer/)

To help mitigate the impact of not having a designer, we have a sample that may help you: https://github.com/dotnet/samples/tree/master/wpf/HelloWorld-WithLinkedFiles. What this will allow you to do is to build a .NET Framework and .NET Core WPF application simultaneously with the exact same set of files. This allows you to use the traditional .NET Framework tooling you're used to (including the designer), while still being able to produce a .NET Core output.

What sort of features in the XAML Designer do you most depend on to be productive? We'd love to chat with you more about your XAML Designer usage to ensure the features you need the most are prioritized appropriately. If you'd like to chat, please let me know at dajaco at microsoft dot com.

Microsoft previewed .NET Core 3.0 last month, and according to the .NET Core roadmap, Microsoft narrowed down the final version release date to "in 2019."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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