Visual Studio 2017 is on its way, but first Microsoft is busy whipping many of the IDE's (integrated development environment) components into shape.
After briefly pulling the latest Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate from its website on Jan. 26 after Microsoft discovered a bug affecting the setup process, it returned with some highly-anticipated enhancements, among them a less error-prone .NET Core developer experience.
"The .NET Core and ASP.NET Core workload is no longer in preview. We have fixed several bugs and improved usability of .NET Core and ASP.NET Core Tooling," announced John Montgomery, director of program management for Visual Studio, in a blog post. Mobile development with .NET workloads remains in preview, according to an online support document.
Issues affecting the Visual Studio installation process, including a frustrating tendency to hang mid-setup, have been addressed. Microsoft also implemented a retry button for failed installations.
Montgomery also reported the release candidate includes an updated Team Explorer, enabling users to find and connect to projects and code repositories faster. And due to "popular demand," Microsoft reinstated the Advanced Save option, he said.
Some features didn't make the cut, however. The Data Science and Python Development workloads have been removed, along with translation services for non-English languages. Montgomery promised that those components will be made available in the future as separate downloads. Microsoft cautions that upgrading to Visual Studio 2017 Release Candidate build 26127.00 will remove the Data Science and Python development components and related workloads.
Meanwhile, on the Visual Studio Team Services front, users of the application lifecycle management (ALM) solution have new tools at their disposal.
Last week, Microsoft announced the preview release of its Delivery Plans tool aimed at helping development team members better coordinate their efforts. It builds on the existing Kanban boards and Backlogs functionality, assembling them into a comprehensive view, according to Microsoft Visual Team Studio program manager, Derrick Fu.
"A Delivery Plan is a view of the work from multiple teams (and multiple projects) laid out on a calendar with each team's [interactions]," he explained in a Jan. 23 blog post. "Each row in the view represents the work from a team’s backlog, with each card corresponding to a work item—user story, feature, or epic. As you horizontally scroll through the calendar, work in future or past iterations comes into view."
Also new is the preview release of mobile work item forms. Now, when users access work items on their smartphones and other mobile devices, Visual Studio Team Services will open a mobile-optimized version of those work items, complete with touch-friendly actions. Microsoft is also working on giving the platform's team discussion feature a mobile makeover.
Other new Visual Studio Team Services updates include Build Editor template search functionality, drag-and-drop task management, granular controls for setting repository admin permissions and an improved branch policy approvals process that now organizes required and optional policies into their respective sections.