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Microsoft Visual Studio 2022 and .NET 6 now generally available

The environment introduces new features aimed to help developers build reliable apps more quickly

Microsoft has announced the worldwide general availability of the Visual Studio 2022 (64-bit) integrated developer environment (IDE) and the .NET 6 software development framework.

Visual Studio 2022 brings with it a number of improvements to excite developers. It's Microsoft's first 64-bit version of the IDE and it means developers can now harness their machine's full hardware capabilities to reliably handle bigger, more complex projects - and even more projects at once, should they need to.

Microsoft has introduced a swathe of new features to Visual Studio 2022 but one of the headline capabilities is Hot Reload. The feature is available on other programming frameworks like Google's Flutter, but Hot Reload is now available for .NET and C++, streamlining developer workflows. 

Hot Reload allows developers to make changes to their code and quickly refresh their app to see how those changes affect the app. It can help identify and remediate bugs or errors much quicker than before when developers would have to fully restart the app's build, something which can take some time and generally get in the way of productivity.

A gif image of a developer using Hot Reload to build an app in Visual Studio 2022

Microsoft

"Regardless of the type of app you’re working on, our goal with Hot Reload is to save you as many app restarts between edits as possible, making you more productive by reducing the time you spend waiting for apps to rebuild, restart, re-navigate to the previous location where you were in the app itself, etc," said Dmitry Lyalin, principal program manager, .NET (Hot Reload, XAML Tooling & .NET MAUI) at Microsoft.

"We accomplish this by making it possible for you to edit your applications code files and apply those code changes immediately to the running application, also known as Hot Reload”.

To further assist developers in quickly identifying app-breaking code errors, improvements to the IDE's debugger have been made as well as another of the headline features, IntelliCode.

IntelliCode is an AI companion to help developers compose their apps. IntelliCode can help complete lines of code by predicting what the developer wants to achieve as they start typing - just two clicks of the tab key accepts the suggestion. The new feature will analyse the developer's codebase to understand the different variable names, functions, and types of code they're writing.

IntelliCode will also parse the codebase to suggest edits and fixes for code samples are that are either faulty or sub-optimal.

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Also announced is the new .NET 6 framework which brings with it language improvements and performance gains that can help decrease the cost of hosting cloud services, according to internal observations.

The latest release marks more than a year of development on the framework and the long-term version will be supported for three years across multiple operating systems including Windows Arm64 and for the first time natively, Apple Silicon. It provides a unified platform across browser, cloud, desktop, IoT, and mobile apps which has been updated to support all types of apps and make it easy for developers to re-use code across apps.

In an extensive blog post detailing the announcement and all of the new features .NET 6 brings, Richard Lander, program manager, .NET team at Microsoft, was keen to draw attention to .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI). Lander said "one of the most exciting additions" that .NET 6 affords developers is the new ability to compose code in a single project which can then deliver a modern client app experience across desktop and mobile experiences.

"We’ve put a lot of time and effort into .NET MAUI and are very excited to release it and see .NET MAUI apps in production," he said.

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