Visual Studio "15" Preview 4: New Smaller Installer, SSDT MSBuild NuGet Package

Visual Studio "15" Preview 4 release brings--smaller installer, SSDT MSBuild NuGet package. New iOS Web Debugger for Visual Studio works both on Mac and Windows. 64-bit Office for Mac.

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Visual Studio "15" is the next big thing in the Microsoft's developement platform has rececived another update today, a Preview 4 release, introducing many new improvements and bug fixes.

With this release, Visual Studio is now one stage closer to the product's completion.

The main highlight of the Preview 4 is that "nearly all of VS is running on the new setup engine", thus resulting in a "smaller, faster and less impactful installation".

Infact, the smallest install is less than 500 MB on disk, when compared to 6GB in the previous release of VS.

There are a couple of "workloads" that aren't present yet, including .NET Core tooling and Azure tooling, but the rest of the existing VS 2015 feature set is available.

Additonally, some further improvements will be releasing, including support for automated deployments, offline installation and further refactoring and componentization before the product release.

Visual Studio 15 preview 4

Other Preview 4 improvements include:

  • A revamped Start Page experience brings new Open and Create features to the most frequently used Recent list and the News feed.
  • C++ has a whole lot of improvements across the board.

The team notes, they'll bing more improvements to feedback systems as well. "Try the report a problem feature in the IDE to see what we've done, then look at the developer community portal view," added VS team.

Also, the Work items now open in the web from Visual Studio"'15", and now provide us with a number of benefits.

Work items are canvases for discussion and collaboration. "If you use work item tracking with VS '15', you may have noticed that work items now open in a browser window. "

  • With this change, every person you share work items with, from Engineers to PMOs to Stakeholders, have a common experience, no matter what client they are using.
  • Extensions created for the form can be designed and developed once and still be available from any client. They can target pages, groups, context menus, and controls on the form.

The following features would add soon: Additional custom controls, Redesigned history and attachments experiences, and Improved views for mobile devices.

Apart from improvemts, the release also has a couple of important caveats:

First, being an unsupported preview, the team suggests users to avoid installing it on machines that you rely on for critical production work.

Second, though the Preview 4 work side by side with previous versions, but you must remove all VS "15" Preview installations before beginning the setup process.

For a complete list of everything in this release, take a look at the Visual Studio "15" Preview 4 Release Notes page, and or the FAQ.

This release in addition also support following relational database set of SQL tools such as – "SQL Projects, Schema Compare, Data Compare, and SQL Server Object Explorer."

The followng two new features are most relevant to SSDT users:

  • Data Storage and Processing workload shipped with the new Visual Studio installer is designed to:
    • Reduce the minimum footprint of Visual Studio.
    • Install more quickly with less system impact, and uninstall cleanly.
    • Make it easier for you to select and install just the features you need.

    Instead of needing a 6GB+ install of Visual Studio to get the full functionality of SQL Server Data Tools, 'you can now simply select and install just the "Data storage and processing" workload i.e. only 934 MB," explained the VS team.

  • new SSDT MSBuild NuGet package, which makes setting up CI/CD of SQL Projects a breeze
  • The new Microsoft.Data.Tools.Msbuild NuGet package contains the minimum set of components including DAC Framework, SSDT build targets and sqlpackage.exe.

    "You will no longer need a full installation of VS to build and deploy your database projects. Instead, all you need is MSBuild tools and Microsoft.Data.Tools.Msbuild NuGet package installed on your build agent.

    Key benefits include:

    • Super lightweight installation
    • Easy update of the SSDT MSBuild package on your machine – just use the standard NuGet update processes
    • Isolated build process makes it easy to maintain. There are no globally shared dependencies with any GAC'd (Global Assembly Cache) components

In addition, to enable mobile web developers to debug JavaScript running on their iOS devices directly from their editor, today Microsoft has introduce new iOS Web Debugger for Visual Studio Code.

"With our new debugger we are aiming to change that, as our iOS Web Debugger for Visual Studio Code works both on Mac and Windows," the team stated.

Today debugging web sites running on iOS devices are limited to a subset of developers, as the Safari Web Inspector (Safari DevTools) requires an instance of desktop Safari which only is available for MacOS users.

To this end, the new iOS Web Debugger works quite similar to the Chrome debugger which Microsoft introduced back in February.

Under the hood it's the same debugger running inside VS Code, which is powered by our open source vscode-chrome-debug-core library.

The following features are supported in this release:

  • "Setting breakpoints, including in source files when source maps are enabled
  • Stepping
  • Stack traces
  • The Locals pane
  • Debugging eval scripts, script tags, and scripts that are added dynamically
  • Watches
  • Console
  • Virtual port forwarding via HTTP tunnel from local computer."

ios web debugger for visual studio code works both on mac and windows

How this debugger works, the company explains,

"to make the connection from our debugging library to the iOS device, we are leveraging two open source projects, ios-WebKit-debug-proxy and ios-webkit-debug-proxy-win32; that enables communication with the iOS devices over USB through the WebKit Remote Debugging Protocol."

iOS debugging VS Alongside the new debugging Protocol, developers can also look forward to additional feature support coming with iOS Web Debugging that includes, setting breakpoints, stepping, stack traces, debugging eval scripts, virtual port forwarding via HTTP and more.

Adding, "the protocol is compatible with the Chrome Debugging Protocol for the script debugging APIs, and this means our debugger works without additional mapping logic," the team noted.

The new iOS Web Debugging for VS Code is now available on Windows and MacOS to download. And, visit the GitHub repository here.

Not releasted to VS, but Microsoft today has began offering a 64-bit version of Office for Mac in the Production channel.

Today's build is up at 15.25, which Office Insiders have had for a couple weeks.

Some customers might not be prepared for a switch to 64-bit Office; therefore, the company will be offering one more 32-bit build. Version 15.25 is available in 32-bit, but you'll have to jump through a couple of hoops to get it.

Microsoft already providing instructions for installing the update here.

If you're running Office 2016 for Mac, you'll see an update waiting for you.

Update 08/24: An update to Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) which bring more of Office 365 and Azure Active Directory (AAD)'s user lifecycle management capabilities is released today.

With this update, whenever a user is disabled or deleted within their AAD tenant on VSTS accounts, will lose all access to VSTS resources shortly thereafter, usually within an hour of

The compnay explaining this change says, "by updating our service to better align with AAD and Office 365, we are allowing you to secure user access (account creation and deletion) in one place, without needing to take additional steps to secure Visual Studio Team Services."

VSTS in AAD user lifecycle management

An important notice for Office 365 email customers who have configured connectors

Beginning February 1, 2017, Office 365 will no longer by default support relaying messages for the scenarios described above, Microsoft stated.

Adding, "If your organization needs those scenarios to continue to work," you need to make sure that the following are all true:

  • "You have created a connector in Office 365 that instructs the service to use certificate to authenticate emails coming from your organization's own email server (on-premises environment).
  • Your own email server (on-premises environment) is configured to use the certificate to send email to Office 365.
  • This certificate is CA signed and its certificate name (CN) or subject alternative name (SAN) contains a domain that you have entered in Office 365," explains exhange team.

Visual C++ now has an implementation of range-v3 on the Microsoft GitHub repo to improve expression SFINAE on Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 VC++ compiler.

This is the first implementation of the Range TS running in MSVC.

In "Ranges for the Standard Library, Revision 1" (N4128) Ranges are defined like this: "A range is an object that refers to a sequence of elements, conceptually similar to a pair of iterators. the team explains."

"One prime motivation for ranges is to give users a simpler syntax for calling algorithms," said the VC++ team. Rather than this:

std::vector v { /*…*/ };
std::sort( v.begin(), v.end() );
Ranges would give us a pithier syntax:
std::sort( v );”

More information on range-v3 here.