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Microsoft Build: .NET Core 3.0 Preview, VS Online, IntelliCode GA, ML.NET 1.0, More

Microsoft kicked off its huge Build developer conference with the usual bevy of announcements, touching on everything from a new .NET Core 3.0 preview ahead of September general availability, to Visual Studio Online, the general availability of VS IntelliCode, ML.NET 1.0 for machine learning and much more.

Here's a look at some of the announcements:

.NET Core 3.0 Preview 5
The fifth preview introduces new goodies ahead of the eagerly awaited general availability of .NET Core 3.0, slated for September.

But don't get too used to the "Core" designation, as Microsoft also announced that after 3.0, the Core offerings will be combined with other .NET implementations -- .NET Framework, Xamarin, Mono, IoT, Azure cloud, AI and so on -- into one unified .NET 5, slated for release in November 2020.

Meanwhile, among many other new features, .NET Core 3.0 Preview 5:

  • Boosts performance for the recently added desktop development (WPF, WinForms) support.
  • Introduces a new SqlClient. Once part of the traditional .NET Framework, it has been extracted to Microsoft.Data.SqlClient, a new version of SqlClient that developers can add as a NuGet package on both .NET Framework and .NET Core (including .NET Core 3.0) applications, launched in preview today.
  • Provides the ability to publish a single-file executable with dotnet publish. "This form of single EXE is effectively a self-extracting executable. It contains all dependencies, including native dependencies, as resources."
  • Adds a new JSON Serializer to deserializes objects from JSON and serializes objects to JSON.

Read more about .NET Core 3.0 Preview 5 here.

Visual Studio Online
Microsoft provided an "early look" at this initiative that complements the existing in-editor remote development capabilities of Visual Studio IDE, acting as a browser-based Web companion tool. This is Microsoft's ticket for developers who find it more convenient to perform browser-based tasks such as a quick on-the-go code edit, pull request review, or joining another developer's Live Share session.

"In the future, you will be able to navigate to https://online.visualstudio.com and access any of your remote environments. Because Visual Studio Online is based on Visual Studio Code, it will feel immediately familiar, and benefits from the rich ecosystem of extensions you already know and love -- while supporting both the Visual Studio Code workspaces, as well as Visual Studio's projects and solutions," Microsoft said.

General Availability of IntelliCode
IntelliCode uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to improve on the IntelliSense feature of Visual Studio that provides functionality such as code-completion help: a list of possible code constructs likely to finish off what a developer is typing. Other AI-assisted capabilities include code formatting and style rule inference.

IntelliCode uses AI to examine quality open source projects and the code context of the specific project being worked on so as to better provide code-completion options based on what a developer is likely to need next. IntelliCode was provided to Java programmers with the IntelliCode Extension for Visual Studio Code last November. The tool was recently added to the Java Extension Pack, which also features other extensions that provide Java functionality.

"With the release of Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.1, IntelliCode will be included with any workload supporting C#, C++, TypeScript/JavaScript, and XAML," Microsoft said today. "However, only the C# and XAML models are currently generally available. C++ and TypeScript/JavaScript remain in preview at this time."

The company also provided a peek into future functionality such as finding repeated edits.

ML.NET 1.0
Microsoft's free, cross-platform, open source machine learning framework, ML.NET, designed to help developers leverage machine learning in .NET applications, finally debuts in version 1.0.

Microsoft says: "ML.NET allows you to train, build and ship custom machine learning models using C# or F# for scenarios such as sentiment analysis, issue classification, forecasting, recommendations and more." Along with the general availability of ML.NET 1.0, new preview features were introduced, including ML.NET CLI and ML.NET Model Builder, "which means adding machine learning models to your applications is now only a right click away!" Microsoft said.

Visual Studio 2019 Version 16.1 Preview 3
Along with the aforementioned IntelliCode provided by default, this preview includes some C++ productivity enhancements and .NET tooling updates. Regarding the latter, Microsoft said: "You can now experience experimental IntelliSense completion for unimported types. IntelliSense suggestions for types in dependencies will be provided in your project even if you have not yet added the import statement to your file."

Open Source Quantum Development Kit
The Quantum Developer Kit uses the Microsoft-designed Q# programming language for bleeding-edge, next-generation quantum computing projects. Microsoft said it delivers an "approachable, high-level programming language with a native-type system for qubits, operators and other abstractions." At Build, Microsoft announced the open sourcing of Q# compilers and simulators "to grow the community of Q# developers and unlock new opportunities for partners and startups to enhance their offerings for their own businesses."

Among the avalanche of other announcements surrounding Build are:

  • Visual Studio 2019 for Mac version 8.1 Preview 1. See more here.
  • Visual Studio Container Tools Extension (Preview). See more here.
  • ASP.NET Core updates in .NET Core 3.0 Preview 5. See more here.
  • Bing Maps SDK Public Preview for Android and iOS. See more here.
  • C++ with Visual Studio 2019 and Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). See more here.
  • Microsoft Edge development enhancements. See more here.
  • Kubernetes integration for Azure Pipelines. See more here.
  • Three approaches for Azure AI development. See more here.
  • Azure AI, Edge, IoT, Blockchain capabilities. See more here.
  • AI-powered updates in Microsoft 365. See more here.
  • SignalR Service bindings in Azure Functions. See more here.
  • Remote Visual Studio development functionality roundup. See more here.
  • A plan to unify development under .NET 5 next year. See more here.

Stay tuned from more news from Microsoft Build 2019, which continues through Wednesday.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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