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Visual Studio 2022 Preview 2 Focuses on Instant Feedback

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Progress continues on the upcoming Visual Studio 2022 as evidenced by the latest features debuting in the second preview of the popular Windows developer tool.  In Preview 2, Microsoft provides a broader look at some of the features planned for VS2022's go-live.  The highlights of this preview include internationalization, Hot Reload, and updated C++ build tools.  While all are available to use, a closer look will show that there are still some rough edges to contend with.

Cosmetically, Preview 2 introduces the new icon set that was previously announced by Microsoft.  The new icon palette supports users of both Visual Studio's light and dark modes.  Users outside the United States will be able to more easily use Preview 2 in their native language as it is fully localized by including support for over a dozen different languages.

Icon Preview Courtesy Microsoft

C++ developers will also find that they can try the latest version of the C++ build tools.  They are binary compatible with the tools shipping in VS2019 to promote smoother upgrades.  These tools can also be installed independently of Visual Studio for use on build servers or similar environments.  It should be noted that there is an unfortunate typo in the installer for both installers (MS Build Tools & Visual Studio 2022).  As a result, the latest version (v143) does not readily appear as an option:

C++ Build Tools Not Shown

Despite this, the build tools are available and labeled correctly if the C++ Desktop Workload is chosen for installation (versus attempting to install via the individual component).

v143 Build Tools Installed After All

Giving the developer the ability to more quickly view their codes changes without requiring a full rebuild is one of themes for the features shown in Preview 2.  First is Web Live Preview, allows developers to see the results of their edits live in ASP.NET applications.  This is particularly helpful when making adjustments to the user interface or layout as the changes can be seen instantly without having to recompile.  Given Microsoft’s focus on .NET Core, it should be noted that Web Live Preview currently only supports projects based on .NET Framework according to Microsoft’s Sayed-Ibrahim-Hashimi.  ASP.NET Core and Blazor based projects may be supported in the future but a roadmap has yet to be designed.

Another feaured designed to reduce the need for full recompiliation is Hot Reload which supports both .NET and C++ applications.  This allows developers to make changes to their application and have them applied without using breakpoints or restarting the application.  It is important to note that this is only available for use with C++ projects that use MSBuild, CMake-based projects is not supported but according to Microsoft’s David Li, support for CMake will be coming in a future preview.  There are some limitations that apply to where Hot Reload can be used as it has the same restrictions as Edit & Continue and is not available for all scenarios.  (For details, consult this MSDN page.)

Visual Studio 2022 Preview is available for installation now.  Users of Preview 1 can also use the Visual Studio Installer to update their copy to Preview 2.

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