Visual Studio 2017 15.3 Released, Adds .NET Core 2 Support

| by Jeff Martin Follow 9 Followers on Aug 14, 2017. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

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Today Microsoft has issued the official release of Visual Studio 2017 version 15.3.  While this release of VS2017 includes several notable features, they are highlighted by its support for the official release of .NET Core 2.  This enables VS2017 to provide a powerful IDE for .NET Core 2 and all of the new APIs that it provides.  That said, developers who aren’t ready to explore .NET Core 2 are still going to find plenty of new features that should make VS2017 a worthwhile update. 

Accessibility was one of the areas focused on with 15.3.  Developers using screen reading software with Visual Studio faced difficulty when using debugging tools within the IDE.  Now in 15.3, the Call Stack, Locals, Autos, and Watch windows have been fixed so that they are usable with screen reading software.  This accessibility extends to the visual indicators on the IDE’s main editing window – breakpoints, lightbulbs, and other editor markup.

Screen annotations shown on the VS IDE

Several frustrating bugs that resulted in VS2017 crashes or instability have been fixed with 15.3.  Several of these affected both C# and VB projects.  Another could occur when compiling local functions in C#.  In short, users experiencing instability in their workflow with 15.2 should upgrade as soon as possible.

As mentioned, a big feature of 15.3 is full support for .NET Core 2.  In order to begin development with these two tools together, first install (or upgrade) VS2017 to 15.3.  Then install .NET Core 2 SDK to enable full support.  A great benefit going forward for developers new to 15.3 is side-by-side support for .NET Core SDKs.  This means that multiple .NET Core SDKs can be installed simultaneously, providing developers the ability to choose what version of the SDK to target (2.0, beta versions, or future SDKs) without requiring a coincident update to Visual Studio.

Targeting specific .NET Core framework

Full release notes for 15.3 are available, as are downloads for all iterations of Visual Studio (Community, Professional, and Enterprise). 

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