Microsoft introduces new tools for Visual Studio, .Net Core

Ngoc Huynh

Power Productivity Tools for Visual Studio and .Net Core Tools add functions ranging from error highlighting to Docker capabilities.

Microsoft is making moves this week to improve tooling for both its Visual Studio IDE and .Net Core open source runtime.

Ahead of the official debut of its Visual Studio 2017 IDE, which occurred Tuesday, Microsoft released its Power Productivity Tools for the IDE. The extensions include Custom Document Well, which provides configurable behavior for the Visual Studio document well; Solution Error Visualizer, which highlights errors and warnings in the Solution Explorer project view tool; Power Commands, which provides extensions like Copy Path and Open Command Prompt; and Time Stamp Margin, which offers a time-stamp margin to the debug output window.

The Structure Visualizer tool, previously featured in Power Productivity Tools, is not included in the 2017 release. This tool added visual cues to syntactically signify blocks of code. “Parts of Structure Visualizer proved so popular that they have been implemented in the product,” said Justin Clareburt, senior program manager for Visual Studio. “Visual Studio 2017 now has a new feature called Structure Guidelines that is enabled by default for several languages.”

The extensions are accessible from the Visual Studio Marketplace or within the IDE itself, from the Extensions and Updates dialog.

Also this week, Microsoft released version 1.0 of its .Net Core Tools. They work with .Net Core, Microsoft’s general-purpose cross-platform development platform that can be used for device, cloud, and IoT development. Supported on Windows, Linux, and MacOS, the tools can be used with the Visual Studio Code editor, at the command line, or with Visual Studio 2017.

The 1.0 release features interoperability between .Net Core, .Net Standard, and .Net Framework projects, enabling, for example, a .Net Core project to add a reference to a .Net Standard project. Developers also can easily configure continuous build integration for an ASP.Net Core application with Docker support and continuous delivery to Azure Container Services from within Visual Studio. The tools offer MS Build support for .Net Core projects, featuring a simplified csproj project format that makes it easier to edit by hand, and support for file wildcards so that developers don’t have to to enumerate all source file names.

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