Microsoft released Visual Studio “15” Preview today at the Build 2016 conference. It’s a preview of the next version of Visual Studio (perhaps to be named Visual Studio 2016 later?), and shouldn’t be confused with Visual Studio 2015 (which is actually version “14”).
One of the first major changes I noticed is the introduction of a new, lightweight installer.
It allows you to pick and choose just the features that you need. The Visual Studio core editor is required, and more options will be added in the future. Currently there are options for .NET desktop development, game development with Unity, Python, and C++. You can view what additional dependencies will be installed based on the options you select by looking at this dependency table. All installations require the .NET framework 4.6.1.
If you want to download the Visual Studio “15” Preview, there are two types available. You can download Visual Studio “15” Enterprise Preview, which has the traditional installation experience and doesn’t come with the new lightweight installer, or a version of Visual Studio “15” Preview that comes with the new installer.
Here are some highlights of what is included with Visual Studio “15”:
- The IDE now launches 30-35% faster
- There is a new “Open Folder” feature that makes it easier to work with code that isn’t associated with a solution or project file
- A very nice XAML feature that allows you to edit XAML while your app is running, which will be very useful for WPF and Universal Windows apps; Please note that for this feature to work for Universal Windows apps, you need to have Visual Studio installed on a current Windows 10 Insider release with the appropriate Windows 10 SDK installed
- In the debugger when you break on thrown exceptions, you can now specify conditions so that it only breaks when exceptions are thrown in specified modules
- New style analyzers which provide more options for enforcing code conventions
- New C# language features that let you use pattern matching and local functions
- New features and improvements for Application Insights (which I believe is going to be called Developer Analytics Tools)
- It comes with the latest SQL Server Data Tools, including support for the latest features in Azure SQL Database and SQL Server 2016
- There are new items for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), including an updated .NET Native toolchain and an updated to the Microsoft.NETCore.UniversalWindowsPlatform core NuGet package that fixes a number of key issues
Some of the new features that are included with Visual Studio “15” Preview are also included in the just released Visual Studio 2015 Update 2, such as:
- Refactorings that make async methods synchronous when applicable
- Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova Update 8
- TypeScript 1.8
- NuGet 3.4
- Updated C++ compiler with enhanced support for C++ 11 and C++ 14 features
If you want, you can read the full release notes for further details. There is a list of known issues that you can look at, and if you have additional problems, you can provide Microsoft with feedback.