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Visual Studio 2017 15.9 Debuts

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As Microsoft gears up for development of Visual Studio 2019, the firm remains committed to supporting VS2017 users. The company has released the 9th update, which was a demonstration of Microsoft's commitment to supporting Visual Studio after the release with regular updates.

We covered some of the new additions in 15.9 already, but there are a few more items that have made it into the final release. C++ Native desktop applications are fully supported under ARM64. These projects can be cross-compiled under VS2017, but the resulting binary will need a device running ARM64 to be debugged or executed (it is not exactly intuitive as to how this support is enabled, and this article provides helpful guidance).

C++ support in VS2017 continues to advance, and this includes further standards compliance, as well as bug fixes. Active C++ developers should be sure to check out Microsoft's conformance notes as new behavior changes will affect how previously allowed code is treated in 15.9.

15.9 sees the formal debut of the new "Import/Export Configuration" functionality which provides a number of benefits, regardless of whether you are a solo developer or working in a corporate team setting. Given the configurability of VS2017 with its modular installer, having a way to save the myriad possibilities is a time saver. Developers on teams can make sure they all have the same workflows installed. And all developers can have a way to enter their configuration into their project source repository, should they desire.

Users of NuGet packages in VS2017 will benefit from the introduction of an important security measure: NuGet Client Policies. This makes it possible to prevent the installation of unsigned NuGet packages; it also is possible to whitelist trusted package authors.

An important change for developers using .NET Core with VS2017 has been made for how the IDE deals with the various SDKs that may be installed on a system. With 15.9, VS2017 will use the latest stable release of the .NET Core SDK. The motivation behind this is to avoid a scenario where a newer SDK is installed but not supported in VS2017. To alter this behavior, the use of preview SDKs can be enabled via Tools | Options | Projects and Solutions | .NET Core as shown in the following dialog:

VS2017 SettingsDialog

Microsoft's Phillip Carter points out that for preview releases of Visual Studio, the use of preview SDKs for .NET Core is enabled by default and is not a value that can be changed. In all cases, explicitly specifying an SDK version in the applications global.json file will result in that version being used.

As expected, 15.9 update may be installed from within an existing copy of VS2017. A fresh download may be obtained from Microsoft and full release notes have been provided.

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