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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
Inno Setup 6.0.5
by Razvan Serea
Inno Setup is a free installer for Windows programs. First introduced in 1997, Inno Setup today rivals and even surpasses many commercial installers in feature set and stability.
Inno Setup key features:
Support for every Windows release since 2000, including: Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows 2000. (No service packs are required.) Extensive support for installation of 64-bit applications on the 64-bit editions of Windows. Both the x64 and Itanium architectures are supported. (On the Itanium architecture, Service Pack 1 or later is required on Windows Server 2003 to install in 64-bit mode.) Supports creation of a single EXE to install your program for easy online distribution. Disk spanning is also supported. Standard Windows wizard interface. Customizable setup types, e.g. Full, Minimal, Custom. Complete uninstall capabilities. Installation of files: Includes integrated support for "deflate", bzip2, and 7-Zip LZMA/LZMA2 file compression. The installer has the ability to compare file version info, replace in-use files, use shared file counting, register DLL/OCX's and type libraries, and install fonts. Creation of shortcuts anywhere, including in the Start Menu and on the desktop. Creation of registry and .INI entries. Running other programs before, during or after install. Support for multilingual installs, including right-to-left language support. Support for passworded and encrypted installs. Support for digitally signed installs and uninstalls, including dual signing (SHA1 & SHA256). Silent install and uninstall. Unicode installs. Integrated preprocessor option for advanced compile-time customization. Integrated Pascal scripting engine option for advanced run-time install and uninstall customization. Full source code is available (Borland Delphi 2.0-5.0 and 2009). Inno Setup 6.0.5 changelog:
Changes to further help protect installers against potential DLL preloading attacks.
Compiler IDE change: added Inno Setup Mailing List menu item to the Help menu.
Inno Setup can now be installed using the new Windows Package Manager.
Download: Inno Setup 6.0.5 | 4.0 MB (Freeware)
View: Inno Setup Website | Release Notes
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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.