Microsoft formally announces Visual Studio 2017, offers a release candidate

Microsoft held the keynote for its Connect() developer conference today, where it announced the next version of its integrated development environment (IDE), Visual Studio 2017. The company is also offering a release candidate, which you can grab from VisualStudio.com.

The IDE has been in preview under the name Visual Studio "15" since earlier this year, and it offers a new installer. In fact, for the first time in years, the smallest installation comes in at under 750MB. Of course, packing it out with all of the features that it offers will make it much larger; it can be over 60GB.

The company's latest IDE has a heavy focus on mobile cross-platform development, coming with an iOS Simulator, a feature that used to be exclusive to developing on a Mac.

VS 2017 also includes improvements to IntelliSense, which is among the most popular and helpful features of Visual Studio. New enhancements include smart preselection, filtering and XAML support.

Smart preselection will determine the “target type” required at a position in code and will preselect items in the IntelliSense completion list matching that type. This speeds your typing flow and removes the burden of having to figure out the expected type at a given location. IntelliSense filtering allows you to filter the completion list by category; for example, you can filter out extension methods or view only events. This feature boosts productivity when you’re working in a large code base where there are many items in the completion list or when dealing with unfamiliar code.

Finally, this release delivers a whole new experience for XAML IntelliSense to help developers bind quickly and correctly and see only relevant information. This smarter completion experience includes completion when binding events, paths and functions with x:Bind; camelCase matching support (for example, “RTB” will complete as “RichTextBox”); and namespace prefix autocompletion.

There are also new Code Analysis features. Code Analysis originally launched with Visual Studio 2015, as a way of identifying issues with your code as you're typing it, rather than at run-time. The new version of Visual Studio "takes live analysis and code fixes a step further by amplifying the set of refactorings and code fixes available, and by introducing code style analyzers that identify style issues in code as soon as they’re typed."

New refactoring options include:

  • Move Type To Matching File

  • Sync file and type name

  • Convert property to method

  • Use object initializer

  • Convert null-check + throw to use ?? + throw

  • Convert string.Format to interpolated string

  • Make method synchronous

  • Add missing case

  • Add braces

There's also a new debugging feature called "Run To Click". This feature will allow developers to run a program until it reaches the line of code that breaks it. This removes the necessity of creating break points.

But of course, this is a full new version of Visual Studio, and it would be impossible for us to outline its countless new features. Feel free to check out Microsoft's blog post about it, or download it from VisualStudio.com and try out the release candidate for yourself.

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