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Visual Studio 2017 15.9 Previews Expanded C++ Debugging

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C++ developers on Windows will notice a new feature in Visual Studio 2017 15.9 Preview 2 to make debugging easier. There is now an ability to take IntelliTrace snapshots during the debugging process. Once enabled, both managed and native code will benefit from the ability to "Step Back" during your program's execution in the debugger. This makes it easier to walk back & forth through execution to see what is happening and why.

In order to take advantage of this new feature it must be specifically enabled in the IDE. To do this, you will need Visual Studio Enterprise and then navigate to Tools | Options | IntelliTrace. From the resulting dialog, ensure IntelliTrace itself is selected and then additionally select IntelliTrace snapshots. Note that this will apply to C++ and managed code, even though the IDE's dialog box may not yet reflect this.

UWP developers should find several features that will benefit their work. The first is a reported improvement in the stability of the UWP XAML Designer. The designer frequently experiences crashes that slowdown and interrupt development. When exceptions occur during the rendering of controls, a fallback control (marked by a yellow border) will be used instead of a crash. Unfortunately, this change is described as having "fewer" crashes rather, than announcing the complete elimination of them.

Several minor changes also benefit UWP development. The SDK that targets Windows 10 Preview APIs (which will appear in future Windows 10 releases) can now be installed through the regular Visual Studio installer program. MSIX app packages can now be created within Visual Studio.

Finally, developers who switch between machines frequently, or have complex VS2017 configurations, will appreciate a new ability to import/export a .vsconfig file containing information the workloads and components of VS2017 installed on your system. This also makes it easy to quickly bring new developers up to speed so that their environment matches colleagues'.

Preview 2 is available now -- new users may download it from Microsoft and existing users can upgrade to the latest code from within their current build.

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