Visual Studio “15” Preview Now Available

John Montgomery

At Build 2016 we shared a preview of the next version of Visual Studio, which we call Visual Studio “15” (not to be confused with Visual Studio 2015). The download is available here. This is a Preview and is unsupported, so please refrain from installing it on your production environments.

This preview lays a lot of groundwork for vNext, so you may not see a ton of new features. The release notes have the complete list of what’s new in the release, but here are some highlights.

Perhaps the most prominent thing you’ll notice when you go to install this release is that there are two ways to install. With Visual Studio “15”, we are previewing a new lightweight installer that focuses on making installation much faster and less impactful. The smallest installation of Visual Studio with the new installer downloads in less than 300MB, and includes basic code editing support for over 20 languages along with debugging and source code control. You can optionally add support for other features: .NET desktop development with WPF and WinForms, Python, C++ and Unity. It’s a great way to preview new features in the next version of Visual Studio without impacting your production development work.

Since the new installer is a preview, it doesn’t yet have the full set of Visual Studio features. So we’ve kept the “classic” installer for you to preview the other new capabilities in the release. Over time, we will move the full Visual Studio “15” feature set to the new installer.

Regardless of how you install, you should notice the first launch experience is faster – up to 30% faster.

Now, looking at some of the new capabilities in the release, there are few I’d like to call out.

In the language area, the Visual Studio “15” preview includes XAML edit-and-continue for WPF and Universal Windows Apps and new style analyzers for C# and Visual Basic that will help you enforce coding standards.

There are also numerous fixes to the C++ language service, and a preview of a new JavaScript language service. The new JavaScript language service improves IntelliSense, includes IntelliSense for JSDoc comment annotations, and also supports JSX syntax and features like generators and modules from ES2016. This service is not enabled by default but you can enable it by toggling a registry key. For instructions on how to enable the new language service check out the Salsa Documentation on GitHub. Node.js released the latest Node.js Tools 1.2 Alpha which supports Node.js v6.x, has improved support for ES6 IntelliSense engine including support for NPM packages, JsDoc comments, and has fixes in place for increased stability, performance, and improved reliability while debugging. Node.js Tools also support project-less debugging via “Open Folder”.

In the IDE, you can now navigate code bases directly using the “Open Folder” feature, without needing projects and solutions.

In the debugger, we added the ability to add conditions to the debugger configuration so now you can set up your debugger to break or throw exceptions under specific conditions like for specific modules.

This release also updates Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova to support Cordova 6.0.0. TACO also has better NPM integration that will help avoid nearly 30% of the current Cordova build errors that occur due to compatibility issues between Node, NPM, and Cordova. This in turn leads to improved error messaging. TACO also has additional plug-ins.

Tools for Universal Windows App Development includes an updated .NET Native toolchain for Windows 10 apps that has added optimizations to improve runtime performance for managed apps and over 600 bug fixes.

On the analytics front, Application Insights Tools is now Developer Analytics Tools. The primary updates in this version of the tools includes better search features that enable you to easily look back in your search history and enable you to search related telemetry. Additionally, we have streamlined the experience to configure collection of traces from logging frameworks like log4net, NLog, and System.Diagnostics.

The latest Azure SDK 2.9 available with Visual Studio “15” Preview has additional support for secondary App Services and also includes some bug fixes. For details on the download and documentation take a look at Azure Developer Tools page.

In other tooling Visual Studio “15” Preview includes the latest in Office developer tools and SQL Server Data Tools supporting SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database.

For a complete list of what is available in Visual Studio “15” Preview take a look at the Visual Studio “15” Preview Release Notes, and for a list of all bug fixes check out the Known Issues and Fixed Bugs. For information on compatibility check out the page on platform targeting and compatibility.


As always, we welcome your feedback. For problems, let us know via the Report a Problem option in Visual Studio. For suggestions, let us know through UserVoice.


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