There is much excitement about the new release of Visual Studio 2017. But what's changed, what's in it for developers? ... I know many developers who are still using older versions of Visual Studio, and when new releases come around, they always try to evaluate if it is worth the upgrade. I think on this occasion, it most definitely is! ... read on...
There is tighter integration with cloud services. Azure is very much leading the pack from a developers perspective - the old promise of the 'cloud as a development platform' is very much to the fore, albeit reinvented with the introduction of, for example, Service Fabric and Azure Functions. You would have heard or perhaps worked with technologies called 'Containers'; these are now very tightly integrated directly into Visual Studio with Docker.
Working with other members of your team has never been easier. As normal, you can work with Visual Studio Team Services, Team Foundation Server, and GitHub - there is a really cool feature now that is akin to other styles of development where you can use the new 'Open Any Folder' feature to immediately open and work with virtually any code file without a formal project or solution around it; if you have used VS Code, you must be used to of this concept.
Mobile, mobile, mobile...
Both Xamarin and the amazing Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova are included in this release. Both make it extremely easy to create solid mobile solutions for your customers in an efficient modern way. If you are new to mobile but strong on C#, then Xamarin is the way to go. If you are more used to of Web development, then you should strongly consider using the Cordova tools.
Customize your workspace
I have always liked mostly a dark development environment works-pace - but I do like to change it up now and again. In addition, I like to have various productivity plugins working for me to enhance my development experience. VS 2017 can not only be tailored to your visual and productivity needs, but also offers faster startup times, cut-down skeleton installs, and a higher degree of overall responsiveness throughout the entire general development lifecycle.
Enhanced debugging experience
The overall debugging and testing workflow and experience has been revised to help developers find and tackle problems as early as possible in the dev lifecycle. You need to check out things like 'Live Unit Testing', 'Exception Helpers', and 'Run to Click' to tighten up the path to regression risks and exposing the root cause of new bugs.
Open to all...
As usual, there are various versions of Visual Studio for you to choose from. And importantly, for single developers, open source and academic research, there is a FREE community version - and we all very much like free :)
So, do yourself a favor - before you go to bed tonight, set your computer to go download the all new Visual Studio 2017 and check out what's new - you'll be glad you did.