Visual Studio 15 beta boosts XAML features

Microsoft also gives developers a heads-up on how templates will change

Visual Studio 15 beta boosts XAML features

Microsoft continues to build out capabilities for its Visual Studio IDE, offering a second preview release of the upgrade, which improves account settings and XAML capabilities. The company also is making available via open source its macros extension for Visual Studio.

"New features include making the account settings dialog more accessible to screen readers, diagnostics improvements to help track down focus-related issues, Edit and Continue for XAML apps, and simplified debug configuration in Folder view," said Microsoft's John Montgomery, director of program management for Visual Studio.

Preview 2 also includes a lightweight installer and Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova Update 9, which supports Cordova 6.1.1. The first preview for Visual Studio 15 was offered in late March.

Visual Studio 15 -- a different release from the current Visual Studio 2015 platform despite the similar names -- backs Universal Windows apps, which run across multiple form factors via a single app package. With Universal Windows apps, the preview allows developers to edit XAML while the app is running. The new preview also features a JavaScript language service and the ability to import Apple Xcode projects for iOS mobile development.

Montgomery is alerting developers to one breaking change involving how Visual Studio consumes templates: Developers must define templates in template manifest files. "This change will not impact anyone in this release, but it is a heads-up that templates not defined in template manifest files will stop working in the next Visual Studio 15 release. This change will only impact anyone who authors Visual Studio project templates."

Microsoft this week also upgraded its Macros for Visual Studio 2013 extension to be compatible with Visual Studio 2015 and is making the code available via open source on GitHub. Macros let developers group commands and instructions as a single command for automating repetitive tasks. Developers can view the code and make their own improvements and fixes under the open source format.

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