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Windows 10 Developers Encouraged to Upgrade to Visual Studio 2017

| by Jeff Martin Follow 16 Followers on Mar 22, 2017. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Now that Visual Studio 2017 has been released, it only makes sense that Microsoft would begin focusing on it as its default developer platform.  A good example of this shift is with the release of the Creators Update SDK for the forthcoming Windows 10 Creators Update.  This SDK is only supported in Visual Studio 2017. 

Fortunately for developers looking to develop for both current and future Windows 10 based systems, starting with this release of the SDK, preview SDKs may be installed side-by-side with current production SDKs.  Microsoft's Daniel Jacobson, Program Manager for Visual Studio, indicates that this feature is intended to reduce the number of systems developers need in order to develop Windows 10 applications.  This change mirrors the ability of the production release of VS2017 to be installed side-by-side with the Visual Studio 2017 Preview edition.

However, a big obstacle to reducing complexity is the fact that VS2017 does not currently support the Windows 10 Device Drivers Kit; VS2015 is still required for this particular workflow.  Jacobson indicates that providing this feature is on the VS2017 roadmap, but a release date has not been announced.  The current workaround is simply disk space:  both Visual Studio 2015 and 2017 can be installed on a single machine, so for now two developer environments will need to be maintained if both the SDK and DDK are needed.

Similar to the SDK, using VS2017 for UWP application development is Microsoft’s preferred method going forward.  The new PackageReference node in VS project files replaces the use of the files packages.config and project.json.  This new reference system is not supported in VS2015.

To assist developers in managing the various SDKs that may be installed on their system, editor tooltips have been updated to indicate when a given XAML type is not supported by the currently targeted SDK.  So if your application targets version X, but is attempting to use a XAML component only available on X+1, a tooltip will appear to warn that an adjustment is needed.

Visual Studio Preview is available for download now and includes support for the additional tooling described above for the Creators Update SDK.   The SDK itself is available to members of the Windows Insiders program.  Joining the release of the VS Preview is a preview release of Visual Studio Team Explorer 2017, a tool for accessing repositories on Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Team Services without having to perform a full install of VS2017.   Finally, full release notes for this week’s build of VS2017 Preview are also available.

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