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What’s Inside Visual Studio 2017 15.8

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Article originally posted on InfoQ. Visit InfoQ

Microsoft has officially released their 8th update to VS2017, bringing to fruition many new features they have been previewing over the summer.  This includes Code Cleanup, multiple caret support in the IDE, and profiles for both Visual Studio Code and ReSharper keybindings.  With the advent of 15.8 several additional items are now available for use that benefit a variety of develpoers.

Git branch checkout and branch switching now occur much faster for C#/VB/C++ projects since reloading the solution after those operations is no longer required.  F# developers will appreciate 15.8’s support for the new 4.5 release of that language.  IntelliSense for F# projects has received performance improvements and overall support for F# has improved.

A great new ability for developers who write Visual Studio extensions is the ability to target what instance of VS2017 that you would like to use for debugging.  This requires multiple instances of VS2017 to be installed but the advantage is that it provides the ability to write the extension in one instance (say RTM) and deploy into another (preview channel).

Performance profiling is easier now with the ability to start the CPU Usage tool in a paused state.  During your program’s execution you can then start the tool when events happen for which you want to record data.  Collection can be toggled as needed throughout the program’s execution to record areas of interest.

Many user-reported bug fixes have been corrected, including some long time problems.  Previous versions of Visual Studio would remember IDE window placement when using multiple monitors, but VS2017 lost this ability.  Developer Les Caudle reported this shortcoming and it has now been corrected in 15.8.

A code generation problem reported by user Marian Klymov that has affected several recent versions of Visual Studio (going back to VS2013) has been corrected.  Due to a bug in the C++ compiler’s loop optimizing code, a crash would occur would this bug was triggered.  (This is also reported to affect VS2015 and VS2013). 

As usual, Microsoft has provided full release notes for this release.  Since 15.8 was introduced there have been a couple of minor releases that provide several additional bug fixes.  At the time of this writing 15.8.2 is the latest, and should used to avoid running into these problems.  New users may download VS2017 15.8 from Microsoft while existing users can upgrade from within their IDE.

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