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Visual Studio 15.6 Preview 4 Sharpens F# Functionality


Microsoft continues to make evolutionary changes in Visual Studio 15.6.  The 4th preview of the IDE has been released, and with it comes a primary focus on improving F# support.  For those downloading the previews to see what is coming next, it is worth taking a look to see how the changes will affect your workflow.

Work continues on the main installer used by VS2017, in an effort to make it more efficient.  When the update announcement for a new version of Visual Studio is clicked, it will take you directly to the VS Installer, rather than the Extensions and Updates dialog.  While Preview editions should not be used on production systems, it is still important to note that the process of upgrading to Preview 4 could lead to your system automatically restarting without warning to continue the installation process.

The shortcut key for Edit.Duplicate adds Ctrl-D as a trigger, echoing the shortcut with similar behavior in Microsoft Excel.  The previous shortcut combination (Ctrl-E, V) still works and so you may use whatever your fingers remember easiest.  The behavior remains the same:  select a block of text in the editor, and then triggering the command will cause it to be duplicated.

The performance telemetry built within VS2017 continues to be used to provide insights as to what may be causing responsiveness delays in the editor.  If a given extension is observed to be impacting performance, VS will prompt the user to disable the extension.  This alert may also be disabled for a given extension if the degradation is a false alarm or tolerable.

Solution load times for .NET Core based solutions has also been improved, with Microsoft claiming an average of 20% faster performance compared to the previous build of VS2017 15.6.

Support for F# development has been improved as Preview 4 includes several F# compiler fixes and tooling additions.  Among the more notable corrections is a regression fix for System.Tuple defined types and the Fsharp.Core package has been updated to version 4.3.3.

Multi-targeting support for F#/.NET Cored SDK projects is now supported and recognized in the editor.  However, to define multiple targets, the project's .fsproj file needs to be edited manually.

Visual Studio 2017 15.6 Preview 4 is available for download direct from Microsoft and full release notes detail all of the changes made in this release.

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