Microsoft has big plans for the next major release of its signature Visual Studio IDE. Among the promised improvements, Visual Studio 2022 promises to be 64-bit, faster, more lightweight, and more approachable.
Due in a first public preview this summer, Visual Studio 2022 will be built for a range of users spanning from learners to experienced developers building industrial-scale solutions.
Visual Studio 2022 will be a 64-bit application, no longer limited to about 4GB of memory in the main devenv.exe process. Moving to 64-bit will reduce component memory usage and optimise Visual Studio's 32-bit design.
The 64-bit Visual Studio IDE on Windows will enable developers to open, edit, run, and debug large, complex applications without running out of memory, Microsoft said. The company added that shifting to 64-bit does not change the bitness or types of applications that can be built with Visual Studio, and that Visual Studio will continuing to be a tool for developing 32-bit apps.
Microsoft cited an example of Visual Studio scaling to use the additional memory available to a 64-bit process, featuring a solution with 1,600 projects and about 300,000 files. There will be no more out-of-memory exceptions.
For .NET development, Visual Studio 2022 will support the planned .NET 6 release and its unified framework for web, client, and mobile apps for Windows and Mac developers. This includes the .NET Multi-platform App UI (.NET MAUI) framework for cross-platform client apps on Windows, Android, MacOS, and iOS. ASP.NET Blazor web technologies can be used to write desktop apps via .NET MAUI.
For C++, Visual Studio 2022 will support the development workload with productivity features, tools, and IntelliSense. New C++ language features will simplify managing large codebases. Improved diagnostics will make difficult problems easier to debug with templates and concepts.
Also for C++, Microsoft is integrating support for CMake tools, Linux, and WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) to make it easier to build and debug cross-platform apps. Binary compatibility with the C++ runtime will be offered for those upgrading to Visual Studio 2022 who are concerned about compatibility.
Microsoft plans for the 64-bit Visual Studio 2022 Preview 1 will also include UI refinements and accessibility improvements.
Other improvements in store for Visual Studio 2022 include a refreshed user interface which is intended to keep developers in their flow. Some changes are subtle and cosmetic, modernising the UI or reducing crowding. Designers of the UI are aiming to reduce complexity and reduce the cognitive load.
Also on the cards is improved performance for the core debugger, with additional features such as charts in the profiler for better spotting and hot paths, breakpoints for more precise debugging, and integrated decompilation experiences.
For real-time collaboration, Live Share will introduce integrated text charts, for quick conversations about code without any context switches. Developers will be able to schedule recurring sessions that reuse the same link, simplifying collaboration with frequent contacts. Sessions policies will be introduced that define compliance requirements for collaboration.
Delving deeper, more and deeper integrations will be offered into daily workflows via the AI IntelliCode engine, in addition to updated icons to boost clarity, contrast and legibility, plus Cascadia Code, a fixed-width font for better readability and ligature support and improved, refreshed product themes.
Meanwhile, Azure cloud app support is intended to make it easy to build modern, cloud-based apps. Repos will be offered that describe common patterns used in apps, with opinionated code showing patterns in action, infrastructure-as-code assets to provision Azure resources, and pre-built GitHub workflows and actions to set up for CI/CD.
This is in addition to personalisation capabilities, ranging from the ability to customise aspects of the IDE to the ability to sync settings across devices for those who maintain multiple development systems.
Rounding off the proposed changes, integration with Accessibility Insights for early detection of accessibility issues is also in the pipeline, supported by improved code search and new support for Git and GitHub, for asynchronous collaboration.
For Visual Studio for the Mac, plans call for moving to a native MacOS UI, for better performance and reliability. The overall goal is for Visual Studio 2022 to provide a modern .NET IDE for the Mac that delivers a productive experience akin to what is offered on Windows.
The current release line of Visual Studio 2019 is version 16.9. A second preview of Visual Studio 2019 16.10 was released on April 14, with C++ ranges, IntelliSense completions, and Docker tool enhancements.