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Blazor WASM Debugging Planned for Visual Studio

Microsoft has updated the Spring 2020 roadmap for Visual Studio, which shows several items planned to improve the debugging experience for Blazor, the company's ASP.NET Core project that uses WebAssembly (WASM) to allow C# to be used in web development instead of JavaScript.

"The Visual Studio roadmap has been updated to provide a peek into the work planned for Visual Studio through June 2020," senior program manager Mads Kristensen said in a March 2 blog post. "It captures significant capabilities that we plan to add, but it's not a comprehensive feature list. Our goal is to clarify what's coming so you can plan for upgrades and provide feedback on which features would make Visual Studio a more productive development environment for you and your team."

Several of those features that would made Visual Studio more productive are concerned with Blazor, which has been making waves in the Microsoft-centric development space by providing the following advantages, in addition to being able to code in C# instead of JavaScript:

  • Leverage the existing .NET ecosystem of .NET libraries
  • Share app logic across server and client
  • Benefit from .NET's performance, reliability, and security
  • Stay productive with Visual Studio on Windows, Linux, and macOS
  • Build on a common set of languages, frameworks, and tools that are stable, feature-rich, and easy to use

To leverage those advantages, the Spring 2020 Visual Studio Roadmap lists several items under improving the Blazor debugging experience:

  • Introduce Visual Studio support for Blazor WASM debugging
  • Enable auto-refresh support for Blazor WASM
  • Enable Blazor WASM project creation with Identity providers

Of those three items, the first one about introducing Visual Studio support for Blazor WASM is the only one to be marked with an "In Progress" icon; the other two have no icon, indicating they are planned.

WebAssembly, or WASM, is used in the client-side effort of Blazor -- appropriately called Blazor WebAssembly -- while the server-side effort is called Blazor Server. Blazor Server is supported in ASP.NET Core 3.0 (whose end of life is today, while Blazor WebAssembly is in preview for ASP.NET Core 3.1. WASM is used to provide a compilation target for C# code, acting similar to assembly language, but for the web. Because of problems with implementing the still-experimental WebAssembly in the client-side effort, development of that part of the Blazor equation has lagged behind the server-side effort.

Other sections of the Spring 2020 Visual Studio roadmap provide information on C++, .NET, web tools, diagnostics, Xamarin and XAML, with the diagnostics being especially busy.

Visual Studio Roadmap for Diagnostics
[Click on image for larger view.] Visual Studio Roadmap for Diagnostics (source: Microsoft).

Another hot area of development includes .NET Core, and the "Core" section of the roadmap lists several items that have already been marked "completed" as a result of addressing developer feedback, including:

  • Documents & tool windows pinned in the document well are remembered between sessions
  • Group open documents by project in vertical tabs
  • In IDE Terminal Window
  • Minimize and maximize buttons on the Start Window

Planned Core work, meanwhile includes:

  • Continue to improve UI Automation properties for better screen reader experiences
  • Improve performance opening and working with large solutions
  • Improve Visual Studio Git integration
  • Use Visual Studio as a client for online environments
  • Search and navigate within large or across multiple repositories
  • Improve support for networks using conditional access

"Our roadmap is driven largely by what we learn through ongoing customer research, as well as the feedback we get via our Developer Community portal," says the roadmap site, which was just updated last week. "These features and time frames represent our current plans but may change based on what we learn. If there are features that are particularly important to you, please be sure to vote and comment on the features in the Developer Community Portal."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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