Visual Studio 2022 17.3, .NET MAUI is now generally available
On August 9, Microsoft made Visual Studio 2022 17.3 generally available, along with .NET Multi-Platform App UI (.NET MAUI), an evolution of Xamarin.Forms that supports the creation of desktop apps in addition to mobile applications.
While .NET MAUI achieved GA status as a disparate framework in May, it just left preview in Visual Studio today and is now available in the Visual Studio 2022 release channel on Windows.
“We’ve built tools to help you build your .NET MAUI apps without slowing you down,” said Chris Hardy, program manager on Microsoft’s .NET team, in an Aug. 9 announcement post. “Hot Reload, Live Visual Tree and XAML Live Preview accelerate your development time by allowing you to apply code changes and see them immediately. With XAML Hot Reload you can make changes to your UI and see them immediately in the running app. With .NET Hot Reload you can You make changes to your code, save them, and view those changes too.”
In fact, Hot Reload has been a long-requested feature among developers in the Microsoft camp. It was late to Xamarin.Forms, which received XAML Hot Reload functionality in July 2019, lagging behind alternative offerings like React Native and Flutter.
Develop apps for Microsoft Teams
Microsoft has also touted the ability to use the Visual Studio IDE alongside its Microsoft Teams collaboration software, which the company has turned into a low-code development tool with the help of the Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio.
“With Microsoft Teams as your app building platform, you can extend Teams for your app solutions,” said Hardy. “Teams Toolkit for Visual Studio makes it easy to get started with apps that embed the UI in a tab, notify a channel with a custom message, trigger a task with a chat command, and more.”
Live Unit Tests
The new update also features improved Live Unit Testing, which was revealed in a v17.2 preview in March.
Live Unit Testing automatically runs unit tests in the background and reports the results and code coverage in real time. When code changes, it provides feedback on how changes have affected existing tests and whether the new code is covered by existing tests, and reminds developers to write unit tests when they fix bugs or add new features.
“Live unit testing now scales better for larger solutions by limiting builds to only what’s needed and building projects in parallel,” said Hardy. “Further improvements to the Live Unit Testing build mechanism ensure more reliable builds and support for a wider variety of solutions. With the introduction of a setup wizard to configure Live Unit Testing, it’s now easier to set up your live unit testing solution in just a few steps. Other improvements include the ability to cancel redundant test runs and a better understanding of progress by showing operations and errors in the status bar of the Live Unit Testing window.”
Azure container apps
This offering became generally available in May at the company’s major Build developer conference. Customers can run microservices and containerized apps on a serverless platform built on powerful open source technology in the Kubernetes ecosystem.
The Visual Studio v17.2 release added support for the new Azure Container Apps service, which can be used for direct deployment or configuration with GitHub Actions.
Today, Hardy explained more about the service and noted that it enables on-demand deployment via a right-click command or automatically by setting up CI/CD with GitHub actions. “With Azure Container Apps, you can run microservices and containerized applications on a serverless platform,” he said. “With Container Apps, you can enjoy the benefits of running containers while eliminating the concerns of manually configuring cloud infrastructure and complex container orchestrators.
“Visual Studio helps you select existing Azure resources or create new ones to use to deploy your app. It also builds the container image using the Dockerfile in the project, pushes that image to ACR, and finally deploys the new image to the selected container app.”
Other highlights of the release include:
IEnumerable Visualizer: This was a focus of v17.3 Preview 3, which shipped in May, when Microsoft said, “The .NET IEnumerable debugger visualizer has been one of our favorite debugging features of late. This was a highly requested feature from developers like you. We released the first version in Visual Studio 17.2 and received an incredibly positive response. You can learn all about it here IEnumerable Visualizer (microsoft.com).” In today’s announcement, Hardy said developers should “take a look at some commonly requested improvements in IEnumerable Visualizer such as filtering, theming, and CSV exporting. You can read more about here read these improvements on our blog.”
- C++ improvements: The team responded to developer feedback that it should limit CPU usage during C++ builds, resulting in a new feature to allow low-priority builds in the IDE. Other feedback also led to new static analysis checks for std::optional to protect against undefined behavior. “We’ve also been working hard on performance improvements for C++ developers,” Hardy said. “In 17.3, you’ll find Visual Studio indexing and coloring your C++ code faster than ever.
- what’s new Developers can find out with a Help > What’s New or by updating Visual Studio.
- Git Line Staging:Support for this includes the ability to provide specific lines and/or sections of code directly from the editor in the diff view. “First stage one of your recent changes by selecting the appropriate color border and using the Peek Difference UI to stage your change. Read our blog post to learn more and share your feedback,” said Hardy.
- Show tabs in multiple rows: This ability to break tabs into multiple lines to have more horizontal tabs open at once was introduced back in May in v17.3 Preview 1. For more details on this top feedback suggestion from the developer community, see this post.
- Reopen closed documents: Developers can now reopen the last closed tab by right-clicking a tab, either via the Ctrl+K or Ctrl+Z keyboard shortcuts, or by navigating to the menu item below Window > Restore Closed Tab.
Visual Studio 2022 17.4 Preview 1
Microsoft also released the release notes for the first preview of the next version today.
“Version 17.4 will be the first version of Visual Studio to be widely available as a native Arm64 application,” Hardy said. This is confusing as Microsoft said back in June: “We are pleased to announce that the Visual Studio 2022 17.3 Preview 2 release is now available as a native Arm64 application on Windows 11! This will be the first release of Visual Studio that will natively support building and debugging ARM64 apps on ARM-based processors.”
Whichever version came first, it seems Visual Studio is finally a native Arm64 application, one way or another. Version 17.4 will also be the third Long-Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) version to be supported for 18 months from its release. Feedback during the preview cycle is important in order to meet the high expectations of developers at the time of release, said Hardy, who promised a new contribution to the first preview soon.
At the moment, the release notes show the introduction of two new features: rollback – the ability to revert to your previously installed version of Visual Studio – and remove components that are no longer supported. Regarding the latter, the release notes state: “The second new feature of the Visual Studio installer is the ability to easily remove any components that have entered an out-of-support status. Both developers and IT admins can invoke this action to bulk uninstall these unsupported components, making it easier to maintain a secure and compliant environment. Some of that functionality will be deployed in Preview 1 and the rest will come live with Preview 2.”
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David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.