Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 gets release candidate, focus on stability and performance

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If you’re a Windows developer, then you’re likely quite familiar with Visual Studio 2015 and anxiously await every update. The most recent update in the pipeline is Update 3, and Microsoft is today releasing a release candidate aimed at making Visual Studio 2015 more stable and better performing. Some new feature updates have been tossed in as well.

The Microsoft Server & Tools blog posted some information on the update today, and here are the highlights.

Tools for Apache Cordova. This update includes TACO Update 9 and TACO Update 10, which adds plugins for Intune, Azure engagement, security, and SQLite storage, as well as the ability to add plugins from the config designer either by npm package name or ID. It also includes support for Cordova 6.1.1.

Application Insights and HockeyApp. Developer Analytics Tools v7.0.1 (formerly called Application Insights) adds has diagnostics tools events for ASP.NET 5 RC1 and ASP.NET Core RC2 projects. We also improved the search experience: search automatically refreshes if you change search criteria such as filters, date ranges, and selected events, and you can go to code from requests in search and also “find telemetry for this…” in the Search menu. For further details, check out the release notes in Microsoft Azure Documentation.

Debugging and Diagnostics. Update 3 RC includes Diagnostics Tool support for applications running on Windows OneCore devices, including HoloLens and Windows IoT. You will now get better performance and reliability in C++ Edit and Continue when FASTLINK is enabled. And we improved XAML UI Debugging so the new Track Focus feature in the Live Visual Tree will cause any selection changes in the Visual Tree to update the currently focused element.

Visual Studio IDE. This update addresses a lot of feedback regarding problems with subscriptions through an online identity or key used to unlock the IDE. You no longer need to login to to activate your subscription. We have also improved error handling and all user account and licensing operations are now secured with HTTPS. Additionally, we have made accessibility improvements in the Account Settings dialog for activating a subscription and entering a product key.

C#/VB/Roslyn. In this release you will see many performance improvements including when running code diagnostics on an entire solution. To learn about code diagnostic performance improvements read the How to: Enable and Disable Full Solution Analysis for Managed Code page on MSDN. Other bug fixes include –

  • Performance improvements to the C# background code analysis engine that collects errors and warnings. These improvements have also significantly reduced overall memory consumption.
  • Performance improvements to the C# GoTo Implementation and Find All References. You can try these by selecting an object, right-clicking on it and then selecting them from the menu.
  • You can now enable an option to suggest usings for types in reference assemblies or NuGet packages. You can try this under Tools > Options > Text Editor > C# > Advanced, “Using Directives”.
  • When you apply a “fix all” action to document/project/solution we now display a progress bar.

In addition, the update enhances Tools for Universal Windows Apps and updates to architecture tools to address feedback and resolve performance and reliability issues. Code Map, Layer Validation, and UML Diagrams features, and more, have been updated as well. Finally, Visual C++ compiler, libraries, and MDD have all been update.

You can go to the Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 Release Notes for more information, and reference out the Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 RC Known Issues list to be sure you want to apply the release candidate update. Go to the Downloads page for information on this and other available downloads, and  Send Feedback or visit the appropriate UserVoice site when you run into problems.

Go to the blog post for all of the details. Let us know in the comments if you’re looking forward to seeing what Update 3 RC has in store.