Microsoft Releases Visual Studio Tools for Unity 3 Preview, Visual Studio TACO

Visual Studio Tools for Unity 3 Preview and release of the Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova (TACO) is announced at Connect().

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On day two at the Connect(), Visual Studio Tools for Unity 3 available in preview isa free VS add-on that enables a rich programming and debugging experience for working with the Unity gaming tools and platform.

VSTU 3 preview is also now available for Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 on the Visual Studio Gallery at the Visual Studio 2015 Tools for Unity.

Those new, "VSTU 3 Preview is part of the «Game Development with Unity» workload that you can install from the Visual Studio 2017 RC installer with just wha's needed to write and debug cross-platform Unity games with Visual Studio 2017 RC."

For those interested in running Visual Studio 2017 RC as your script editor with Unity, will need at least Unity 5.4. And, you'll need to select VS 2017 RC installations manually, because at present Unity doesn't know how to locate them. In Unity, go to Edit -> Preferences, and choose Browse in the External Script Editor. "Make this point to the Visual Studio 2017 RC executable. By default, its full path is: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Community\Common7\IDE\devenv.exe," microsoft explains.

In future releases of Unity, it'll work out of the box, Microsoft said.

  • VSTU 3 focuses on improving on the fundamentals of an IDE: code editing and debugging. The highlights of this release include:
  • Code Coloration for Unity messages by default will be colored like keywords, but you can change them to your liking.
  • IntelliSense: VSTU 3 Preview plugs into Visual Studio's C# IntelliSense engine to provide code completion for Unity messages.
  • Improved Expression Evaluator is responsible for displaying the values of the Locals and the results of the expressions you input into the Watch and Immediate Window.
visual studio tools for unity 3 preview

visual studio tools for unity 3 preview

Microsoft also introducing latest release of the Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova (TACO), that mainly tackles the big problems involving mobile developers. As to what these issues are, they fall into two major themes:

First is the move towards the speed and reliablity of builds which is exemplified by the new streamlined Visual Studio Installer, which combines with offline installation of a fully validated toolchain of 3rd party components. It also offers a "Mobile Development with Javascript" workload, and enable most developers to "go from 'download' to 'code' within 15 minutes."

Incredible edit-debug speed is what you can expect from a new browser-based simulator which enable "code fast and see the results immediately in the browser". "Live reload, plugin simulation and support for Ionic Framework give VS the fastest developer workflow on the market," writes Microsoft.

Also helping to make builds more reliable in a wide variety of environments, the company is introducing a concept of TACO "Toolsets," which combines "a set of validated tools into a single package" to use by Visual Studio.

Regardless of what else is installed on your computer, TACO will use a sandboxed toolset when building your application.

This release also adds a popular feature called 'Cordova Simulate' from the Visual Studio Code Cordova Tools extension, which "replaces Ripple emulator," and empower you to:

  • Test at varying devices sizes.
  • Simulate geolocation, compass, and accelerometer settings.
  • Live reload for images, stylesheets, JavaScript, and HTML.
  • Use browser developer tools like a DOM explorer and JavaScript debugger, all from within Visual Studio.

Going beyond Ripple, Cordova Simulate then lets you:

  • Simulate even more plugins like Camera, Contacts, File, Media, and more (see the documentation for details)
  • Simulate your app in a dedicated browser window rather than an iframe.
  • Save API responses for custom or uncommon plugins.

You can sign up for the TACO Insider program here.