Visual Studio updates shine on C++, Git, Wasm, and DX

Visual Studio 2022 17.6 brings significant performance, editor, and C++ enhancements, while a version 17.7 preview adds more productivity improvements.

Two developers / programmers collaborate as they review code via laptop display.
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Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2022 17.6 IDE is now officially available, with performance, editing, and C++ enhancements that promise to improve the developer experience. A planned successor, Visual Studio 2022 17.7, with new Git visualization and Blazor WebAssembly features, is now being previewed.

The production release of Visual Studio 2022 17.6, introduced May 16, can be downloaded here. The Visual Studio 2022 17.7 preview, unveiled May 17, can be downloaded here.

Key productivity enhancements in Visual Studio 2022 17.6 include improvements to the “Solution – Close” scenario to make closing a solution containing C++ projects faster. Chromium project loading is faster, and Git History now loads files and folders more quickly for repositories with long history and less frequent commits.

New editing capabilities have been added to enhance productivity across different aspects of the development process, such as sticky scroll, to keep relevant headers in view and make it easier to navigate a code base. Brace pair colorization, which helps distinguish opening and closing braces for code, is supported for C#, C++, TypeScript, JavaScript, Visual Basic, and Razor. An enhanced spell checker checks C#, C++, and Markdown files for incorrect spellings.

For Web development with ASP.NET Core, Visual Studio 2022 17.6 features a number of updates for developing APIs, including API scaffolding, an Endpoints Explorer, and an HTTP editor and HTTP file support to test APIs.

For C++ development, Visual Studio 2022 17.6 adds new workflows for CMake, STM32CubIDE, and vcpckg. The CMake debugger lets developers debug CMakeLists.txt files. The vcpkg C++ package manager now ships with Visual Studio, and its commands can be run from the IDE’s integrated terminal. A remote file explorer for Unix lets developers browse, upload, and download files to remote Unix machines listed in the Connection Manager. Also, initial support for C++ 20 mode is featured in C++/CLI projects.

Features are being introduced for scaling a development environment and simplifying management of Visual Studio for IT administrators and developers. For example, organizations now can host Visual Studio layouts on intranet websites as well as file shares for network-based installation.

Visual Studio 2022 17.7 Preview 1 introduces productivity enhancements and .NET and cloud native development improvements. The latter include IntelliTest support for .NET 6+ and NetStandard and the ability to publish Blazor WebAssembly projects to Azure Static Web Apps. 

When publishing a Blazor Wasm project after selecting Azure as the target, developers now will see an option to select Azure Static Web Apps, which Microsoft said offers potentially lower costs versus publishing to a compute-based Azure service. Azure Static Web Apps also offer capabilities such as global hosting and integration with Azure Functions.

Productivity enhancements include a refined all-in-one search experience, the ability to compare files in Solution Explorer, and multi-branch Git visualizations. When opening the Git Repo window, developers can visualize multiple branches in the same graph, to understand how branches are related.

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