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By Hamza Jawad
Low-code updates in Power Platform for GitHub and Azure are now in preview
by Hamza Jawad
Over the past year, Microsoft has been working on closer integration of the Power Platform with Azure and Visual Studio, in keeping with "low-code" fusion projects. In September last year, the tech giant revealed how the Power Platform was benefiting from Azure AI services. In July, meanwhile, the Power BI Snowflake connector introduced a capability to enable single sign-on (SSO) based on Azure Active Directory (AAD) authentication.
At its digital Ignite conference today, Microsoft announced updates for the Power Platform that directly link with GitHub and Azure services.
For starters, Azure API Management connectors are now available, allowing developers to utilize API Management and Azure Functions to build Power Platform connectors. Citizen developers can even distribute Power Apps services through Microsoft Teams, without having to purchase any stand-alone Power Apps license requirements.
Moving on, Power Platform has now been brought to GitHub, enabling professional developers to create software development lifecycle (SDLC) workflows using GitHub actions in the marketplace. The GitHub connector for the Power Platform can be used to manage various solutions with ease, through "self-service continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD)" for citizen devs.
And finally, the Power Virtual Agents (PWA) service will now work in conjunction with the Azure Bot Framework to allow the creation of bots with virtually no coding. Azure development tools like Bot Framework Composer will be utilizable in terms of adding custom dialogues to PWA bots, that can be saved, hosted, and executed with other bot content. The feature will become generally available in October.
In related news, Power Automate Desktop is now in public preview, expanding on the robotic process automation (RPA) capability that was announced for Power Automate at last year's Ignite event. The desktop variant of the service allows for the automation of Windows-based tasks for both citizen developers and business users. The visual design especially caters to non-coders, though higher levels of control are also provided for more advanced users.
By Usama Jawad96
C++ extension for Visual Studio Code hits version 1.0
by Usama Jawad
Microsoft's Visual Studio Code is a free code editor for Windows, Linux, and macOS that is used by a lot of developers because of its small disk footprint and customization options. The C++ extension for Visual Studio Code is particularly popular because it packs a number of features such as debugging and IntelliSense code completion, and its agnosticism to various platforms and architectures.
Now, Microsoft has announced the first generally available release of this extension.
The C++ extension already includes a number of developer-friendly features such as IntelliSense, code navigation, support for refactoring, semantic colorization, and debugging capabilities such as breakpoints, watch variables, and "step" functionality, among others.
With version 1.0, Microsoft is bringing support for Linux on ARM and ARM64, which includes remote build and debug capabilities. To make the configuration of IntelliSense easier, the company has released a video tutorial which you can view here. The update also features new rich formatting settings for C++, with all formatting configurations that are available in Visual Studio IDE being ported over to Visual Studio Code. Performance in this release has been improved as well.
Lastly, the firm has created a C++ Extension Pack so developers can take full advantage of Visual Studio Code. It includes the following:
If you're interested in trying out version 1.0 of the C++ extension for Visual Studio Code, you can do so by following Microsoft's instructions here.
By Usama Jawad96
Microsoft is retiring Visual Studio Codespaces, users being migrated to GitHub Codespaces
by Usama Jawad
Recently, Microsoft renamed Visual Studio Online to Visual Studio Codespaces, and a public preview for it was announced at the company's Ignite 2019 conference. The service, which has gone through several iterations and rebranding over the past few years, allows developers to code from anywhere by offering them cloud-hosted environments directly within the browser. It also offers support for GitHub repositories and a command line interface (CLI) for efficient workflows and robust development capabilities.
Now, Microsoft has announced that it is retiring the service and users are being transitioned to GitHub Codespaces.
In a blog post, Microsoft has stated that Visual Studio Codespaces is being consolidated into GitHub Codespaces based on user feedback it received during the preview phase. The company says that:
Moving forward, users of the service's public preview are being encouraged to transition to GitHub Codespaces, which is also in limited public beta right now. Azure subscribers with a Visual Studio Codespaces plan will also be sent emails asking about their preferred GitHub account. Meanwhile, developers utilizing Visual Studio 2019 and its support of Codespaces will also be onboarded to the private preview on GitHub as soon as it becomes available.
The Redmond firm has released the following timeline detailing how it plans to retire Visual Studio Codespaces:
Microsoft has stated that it is currently evaluating which features from the Visual Studio service should be migrated to GitHub under General Availability (GA). New users have been encouraged to request access to the GitHub Codespaces limited public beta.
Source: Microsoft via MSPoweruser
Microsoft delivers updates to Visual Studio 2019, plus a new preview
by João Carrasqueira
In time for the Build developer event, Microsoft has announced new versions of Visual Studio 2019 for Windows and macOS. Windows users can now get version 16.6, while those on Mac can get version 8.6. Additionally, Microsoft released the first preview of Visual Studio 2019 16.7 for Windows.
Starting with Windows users, Visual Studio 16.6 comes with a few improvements, including updates to C++, which can now generate Doxygen and XML comment stubs automatically. There's also a new IntelliSense code linter that checks code as it's typed, highlighting errors and making suggestions in the editor window. There's also a new Windows Forms Designer for .NET Core apps, which can be enabled under Preview Features. This release also includes a few improvements that were already available in the preview releases of version 16.6:
You can download the latest version of Visual Studio 2019 from here.
In addition, Windows users can also try out the first preview for Visual Studio 2019 version 16.7. This will be the next baseline servicing release for Visual Studio 2019, meaning it will be serviced for a year after the following servicing baseline.
This release includes a long list of improvements, such as improved Git branch management, a C++ address sanitizer, a new DebuggerDisplay attribute for .NET development, improvements to IntelliSense and IntelliCode, XAML tooling improvements, and much more. You can read all about the changes here, and download the latest preview version of Visual Studio 2019 here.
Meanwhile, developers on macOS can get Visual Studio 2019 version 8.6. This release comes with a new integrated terminal to help reduce window switching, and support for building web apps with Blazor WebAssembly. This release can also create gRPC service projects with a new template. Additionally, this version has an improved sign-in experience, support for drag-and-drop to set the next statement, and improved discoverability thanks to new version control commands. You can download the latest version of Visual Studio for Mac here, or update through Visual Studio itself if you've already installed it.
Here are the Azure dev tools announcements from this year's Build conference
by Florin Bodnarescu
Moving on from database, cognitive services, and infrastructure news, we should also touch on the Azure developer tool announcements from this year’s virtual Build event.
.NET 5, ASP.NET and more
The biggest news surrounding .NET 5 is that Preview 4 is now available – more info here -, and that general availability is coming in November. The new version will continue the unification of the .NET platform across devices and workloads, with smaller, faster single file EXEs that use less memory, and are thus appropriate for microservices and containerized apps. All workloads will eventually be supported.
On a related note, Microsoft also announced and provided a demonstration of .NET Multi-platform App UI (.NET MAUI), which enables developers to build apps for any device via a single codebase and project system. An evolution of Xamarin.Forms, .NET MAUI will be part of the unified .NET “in the .NET 6 time frame” with previews set to be available by the end of this year.
Other Azure services
On the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) side of the fence, there’s now support for Windows Server containers, private clusters via Azure Private Link and integration with Azure Advisor for improved security and performance.
Moving on to Visual Studio, the Live Share feature – which enables co-editing and debugging in real time – now has support for text and voice chat, in addition to sharing of running apps. All of these features are now in public preview.
Visual Studio Codespaces (previously Visual Studio Online) now has support for a new preview instance type, and the pricing has been lowered for all instance times. Codespaces is additionally available in GitHub as a private preview.
Available in beta as part of GitHub Advanced Security, there’s now code scanning and secret scanning – free for public repos. Secret scanning (previously token scanning) has been available for public repositories since 2018, but it is now available for private repositories too. It’s put in place to prevent unauthorized access and it watches for known secret formats, immediately notifying developers of its findings.
For those using both GitHub and Azure, there’s now a set of GitHub Actions for Azure – in excess of 30 – which are integrated into VS Code, Azure CLI, and the Azure Portal to simplify the creation of workflows for building, testing, packaging and deploying to Azure.
As an addition to all of this, the GitHub Discussions forum is now in public beta, allowing folks to talk about various GitHub related things, talks which were previously only possible under pull requests and issues.
The last bit of developer-centric news for Azure is Microsoft’s release of a Developer Velocity Assessment tool to measure a DVI (Developer Velocity Index). For those not familiar, Developer Velocity is basically a new term for developer productivity as it relates to business performance.