Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.4 Released

John Montgomery

Yesterday we released updates to several of our products: Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4, support for .NET Standard 2.0 in the Universal Windows Platform, and the release of Visual Studio for Mac version 7.2. We’ll talk about them briefly in that order, but as always, there’s a lot more information in the release notes for each product. If you’d like to jump right in, download Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4 and download Visual Studio for Mac.

Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.4

This minor update contains new features and performance improvements as well as fixes for bugs reported by you. Some highlights are mentioned below, for the full feature list check out the Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4 Release notes.

Productivity Improvements. There are a handful of new productivity features that will help you be more efficient and effective as you develop your code. If you’re a C#, VB, or Python developer, you can navigate around your project faster because Ctrl+Click will now Go To Definition. We’ve continued to improve performance and memory usage as compared to earlier releases. Lastly, we’ve refined  Live Unit Testing (LUT) by making it easier to find and start. LUT Integration with Task Center Notification is also improved, we now show LUT background processing notification in Task Status center so that user can easily figure out what is happening when LUT is enabled. In addition to  MSTest v2, LUT now also supports MSTest v1.

Universal Windows Platform Development – Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4 supports UWP development targeting the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. When you install the Universal Windows Platform development workload, you will automatically get the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK.

ASP.NET Core support for Docker container registry. In this release you can now publish a docker enabled ASP.NET Core project to Azure Container Registry (ACR), Docker Hub or any other docker container registry. For Web projects with a dockerfile, you’ll see a new option for Container Registry under Publish. For ACR you can create a new registry or select an existing one. For other scenarios, a container registry will need to exist before you publish. In this release, the docker publish scenarios are limited to ASP.NET Core, but in a future release we will include support for standard ASP.NET projects.

Windows Application Packaging Project. In Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4, you will get the first peek at a new project template that enables Windows desktop apps created with .NET or C++ to be packaged inside an .appx package for easier distribution via side-loading or submission to the Microsoft Store. These templates work for both new Windows desktop projects, as well as for existing projects.

C++ Development. You can now use CMake for Linux C++ development in Visual Studio, which allows you to use CMake based projects that target Windows, Linux, or both. Simply open a folder with your CMake project, select Linux as your target and upon connecting to your Linux machine your sources are synchronized for you. Once the CMake cache generation is complete you’ll have full IntelliSense for your project and targets for building, running and debugging within Visual Studio. In addition to CMake support for Linux C++ development, with Visual Studio 2017 version 15.4 Preview you can now benefit from CMake version 3.9 and improved support for projects with multiple CMakeLists.

Data Science. R Tools supported Remote R execution on Windows already – we now support Linux connectivity as well. There are also numerous improvements around RMarkdown editing, Roxygen colorization and IntelliSense, Linting, and Plot multi-selection.

Updates to the XAML Designer for UWP developers targeting the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. We are heavily investing in improving the performance, reliability, and fidelity of the XAML design surface. For our initial release, the updates are only available to developers who have the Fall Creators Update installed, and are targeting the Fall Creators Update in their projects. See the blog post for more information.

XAML Edit & Continue Improvements. You can edit or remove XAML resources using XAML Edit & Continue. In addition, you can also add ControlTemplates to your XAML while using XAML Edit & Continue. To leverage these new features, make sure you are running the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

Mobile development with Xamarin. The Mobile .NET (Xamarin) workload now has a 36% smaller installation footprint. Support for iOS 11 and Android 8.0 Oreo SDKs has been added, so you can implement new features introduced in these updates directly in your apps using Xamarin.

Xamarin Live Player. The Xamarin Live Player enables you to develop, test, and debug mobile apps directly on your iOS and Android devices, all you need is Visual Studio and a device. Optimized for Xamarin.Forms, you can modify your XAML code and see changes reflected in real-time on device without having to compile or wait for a full deploy. This functionality is just a checkbox away, so be sure to give it a try and let us know what you think.

.NET Standard 2.0 Support

With the upcoming release of the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, you will be able to utilize the power of .NET Standard 2.0 when building UWP applications. .NET Standard 2.0 brings an additional 20,000+ .NET APIs to Windows 10 UWP developers, many of these will be familiar if you do Windows desktop development (WPF, Windows Forms, etc…).

To build UWP apps using the new .NET Standard 2.0 APIs, make sure you have the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK set as the minimum version of your project.

Visual Studio for Mac

Finally, Visual Studio for Mac also gets a minor update to version 7.2. Like its Windows counterpart, this update also brings performance enhancements and bugfixes, as well as the features below. Check out the Visual Studio for Mac Release Notes for the full breakdown.

.NET Core 2.0 installation. For new installations, .NET Core 2.0 can be selected for installation alongside Visual Studio for Mac directly in the installer. This enables developers to start building desktop and web apps targeting .NET Core 2.0 right out of the box.

Docker support for ASP.NET Core apps. Making its way out of preview is the ability to deploy, debug, and publish ASP.NET Core web apps with Docker. Enabling support is as easy as right-clicking your project and selecting Add > Add Docker Support. To publish to Azure, simply use the Publish > Publish to Azure workflow and your publication will automatically be set up to use Docker.

Mobile development with Xamarin. Like Visual Studio, this update includes support to create iOS 11 and Android 8.0 Oreo apps using Xamarin. For Android developers, it also includes an on-demand SDK installer, which will install missing SDKs in the background.

Share Your Feedback

As always, we welcome your thoughts and concerns. Please Install the Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.4 today, exercise your favorite workloads, and tell us what you think.

For issues, let us know via the Report a Problem tool in Visual Studio. You’ll be able to track your issues in the Visual Studio Developer Community where you can ask questions and find answers. You can also engage with us and other Visual Studio developers through our new Gitter community (requires GitHub account), make a product suggestion through UserVoice, or get free installation help through our Live Chat support. Need professional support right now? See available support options.

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