Microsoft kept its word. Visual Studio 2017 is now generally available, roughly a month after the company settled on an official launch date.
Back then, the company promised the latest version of its flagship IDE (integrated development environment) would enable developers to build mobile- and cloud-first applications while adhering to today's agile DevOps practices. Today, developers can download the finalized version and delve into projects that move and evolve at the speed of the today's cloud-enabled software landscape.
In a March 7 announcement, Julia Liuson, corporate vice president of Visual Studio at Microsoft, echoed those sentiments.
"For streamlined cloud development, built-in tools provide integration with all your .NET Core, Azure applications, microservices, Docker containers, and more," Liuson said. "It is easier than ever to build and deploy applications and services to Azure, directly from the IDE. Visual Studio 2017 with Xamarin make it faster for you to create mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows through updates like advanced debugging and profiling tools."
Another theme surrounding the launch is flexibility. Once downloaded, Visual Studio offers a lightweight and modular installation experience, added Liusion. In addition, the Visual Studio Enterprise 2017 includes Redgate Data Tools that enable developers to more readily incorporate databases into their DevOps workflows.
Users should also notice some performance improvements. Once launched, Visual Studio 2017 springs to life up to three time faster than its predecessor, claimed John Montgomery, director of program management of Visual Studio at Microsoft, in a blog post. Similarly, project load timed are up to four times faster and build speeds on C++ projects have been given a noticeable boost.
The C++ compiler has been upgraded to provide better support for C++ 11 and 14, added Montgomery. The IDE also does a better job of helping development teams stay on the same, more modern page.
"We've added new C# language refactoring commands that help you modernize your code to the latest standard," Montgomery wrote. "New style analyzers and support for EditorConfig let you harmonize coding standards across your team. You can edit XAML while your WPF or UWP application is running and see changes in real-time."
Coinciding with the official Visual Studio 2017 launch, Microsoft also released the fourth Visual Studio for Mac preview. Along with performance improvements and bug fixes, the software includes upgraded support for .NET Core projects and enhanced NuGet and mobile tooling, said Liuson.
Meanwhile, the Visual Studio Mobile Center preview adds support for mobile application built using React Native and Xamarin, adding to the existing roster of Java, Objective C and Swift. (Microsoft acquired Xamarin, a provider of mobile app development tools, last year.)
Finally, Microsoft also released Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2017 Update 1. The source code management solution gains several features aimed at on-premises implementations, including "a new process template managing experience, npm support in package management, additional repository permission management, pull request improvements, test impact analysis, branch policy improvements, and a personalized home," Liusion said.