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InfoQ Homepage News Visual Studio 17.9 Preview 1: Refreshed UI, Debugging, AI, Productivity and More

Visual Studio 17.9 Preview 1: Refreshed UI, Debugging, AI, Productivity and More

Microsoft has released the first preview of Visual Studio version 17.9. Preview 1 brings a range of improvements and features aimed at enhancing developer productivity. Including some AI features like GitHub Copilot, IntelliSense support for Unreal Engine projects, memory management and debugging improvements and this preview version is packed with refreshed UI.

Regarding the productivity features in this preview version developers can use the generated git commit message feature. In the analysis of file modifications within a commit, Copilot examines the changes, provides a summary, and proceeds to articulate each alteration.

Developers are subsequently given the option to either Insert AI Suggestion or Discard. To test this out, the developer will need an active GitHub Copilot subscription and the preview GitHub Copilot Chat Extension.

Memory leaks can be dangerous, this version Manage Memory Insights tab provides additional information. These features will now help developers to detect Event Handler Leaks. This happens when the event publisher outlives the event subscriber; the subscriber remains in memory without additional references.

Other productivity features in this release are related to Debug Visualizers which are now non-modal, for easier interaction with the editor. Also, the Instrumentation tool introduces a start-pause option for profiling applications. This allows users to initiate the application under the profiler's control without immediately gathering data.

The #include References Diagnostics, this feature enables users to visualize the frequency of each #include directive in their code. Specific references can be viewed by clicking on the reference count displayed atop the directive. Regarding the tabs developers can easily toggle between single and multiple tab rows in Visual Studio's document well by scrolling the mouse wheel up or down.

C++ Game Devs can enjoy new features like Improved Blueprint Experience in Visual Studio. As reported, developers can now view Blueprint references and Asset Properties without installing the Visual Studio Integration Tool plugin.

In Preview 1, Unreal Engine IntelliSense in Visual Studio is now more consistent and accurate. Refreshing for UHT-generated files has been optimized, reducing unnecessary error displays and furthermore, developers can also now specify a custom CMake executable.

In the recent .NET 8 update, the Debugger now optimizes release and external code automatically during debugging, enhancing the debugging process. HTML snippets in Razor (.razor) files promote quicker coding with common patterns. Multi-targeting framework (TFM) support for Razor files allows targeted code inclusion.

Additionally, Blazor projects in .NET 8 now feature scaffolding support for views, including CRUD operations using Entity Framework, and simplifying development with a right-click option in the Solution Explorer.

In the end, the notable update with this preview is the UI Refresh of Visual Studio IDE. Developers can activate the UI Refresh, by going into Tools > Manage Preview Features in the main menu of Visual Studio. Locate and check the Experimental control styles option. After enabling this feature, the restart of Visual Studio will apply the UI Refresh.

As reported, it is highlighted that the fundamental aspects of the new user experience remain consistent. The primary objectives centre on the Fluent design language, emphasizing cohesiveness, accessibility, and productivity as the core pillars of the refresh.

Dante Gagne, senior product manager, Visual Studio, stated the following:

In this version of the UI Refresh, you'll get to experience a balance of the feedback we received with the accessibility requirements around things like clickable target space and reduction of visual clutter. This means a more inclusive experience to help everyone be more productive and comfortable while still maximizing code space and respecting the feedback you’ve shared with us.

Microsoft and the development team encourage users to provide feedback and share suggestions for new features and improvements, emphasizing their commitment to constantly enhancing the Visual Studio experience.

Lastly, developers interested in learning more about this and other releases of Visual Studio can visit very detailed release notes about other updates, changes, and new features around the Visual Studio 2022 IDE.

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