Do you even need to upgrade to Visual Studio 2017?

By Carl Sawatzky
Monday, April 10th, 2017

Visual Studio 2017 was released this March, and it promises unparalleled productivity for any developer, working with any app, building for any platform. So, if you are a current user of an earlier version of Visual Studio, you’ll likely be asking yourself if now is the time to upgrade.

upgrade to visual studio 2017

To upgrade or not to upgrade?

Let’s delve into what the latest version of Visual Studio has to offer: its new features and how they might impact your work. Then you can make the most informed decision about how the update will benefit you and whether it fits around the needs of your company.

What’s new in 2017?

In the age of cloud computing, mobile working and the Internet of Things (IoT), it seems reasonable that developers are given access to the latest and greatest tools to build apps that will function well across multiple devices and platforms.

Many of the new features in Visual Studio 2017 are a response to this new reality, and are designed to enable developers a faster, more productive way of working. And that’s the general theme of this new version:

  • Productivity and performance
  • A refinement of the fundamentals – meaning you can install what you need more quickly
  • Cloud app development with Azure – a built-in suite of Azure tools to create cloud-first apps
  • Mobile app development – an integration with Xamarin which unifies your multi-platform mobile requirements

Lightweight solution load

This is an update to the loading time it takes solutions with multiple projects to load. In previous versions of Visual Studio, you had to wait for all projects to load before you could work on any of them. In Visual Studio 2017, the projects only load when you need them to. That means your solution opens much faster—and you don’t have to wait for all projects to load before you can edit a piece of code.

Customize the rules for writing code

Another feature update specific to boosting your productivity is Visual Studio 2017’s built-in configurable style rules. It means that you can stipulate very specific rules for writing code that define what readable code looks like. The objective here is to help you write better code while also reducing the time it takes to create it.

A new Start

In Visual Studio 2017 you can now take advantage of new ‘open’ and ‘create’ services that allow you to create new projects directly from the start page, with searchable templates. The ‘most recently used’ (MRU) items shows repositories that you have cloned on other machines so they are easier to clone on your current machine. Again, convenience here leading to better productivity.

Live unit testing

You can now visualize unit test results and code live on the editor as you are coding. This works for C# and Visual Basic (VB) projects and supports three test frameworks: MS Test, xUnit and NUnit. Seeing the results of your code as you edit it will reduce a lot of time that it takes going back and forth between running algorithms, adjusting and seeing the results.

Incorporating Xamarin

If you’re in the business of building, connecting and tuning native mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows, Visual Studio 2017 might be worth it. The new release of Visual Studio comes with a partnership with Xamarin’s advanced debugging, profiling tools and the (aforementioned) unit test generation features. With a 25% discount on Xamarin Test Cloud you’ll have a pretty powerful solution at hand to get your work done more efficiently.

Should you upgrade?

Okay, updates to tools and solutions are always exciting. Just like the release of the latest game on the latest console is exciting. But while you might like to own it, do you really need it? The goal of any new version of enterprise productivity tools is to improve how we get our jobs done, and it’s the same for Visual Studio 2017. The goal is to help developers be more productive within the context of integration with the cloud and better collaboration. It seems that with the new platform, you and your developers will be able to build smarter apps faster, find and fix bugs sooner.

However, is the latest version right for you? It probably is if you can’t get everything you need done with Visual Studio 2015. Every organization is different and for one Visual Studio 2017 might be considered essential, yet for another the earlier versions are still more than enough. For example, if you are a company who design and build applications for the field of the Internet of Things (IoT), investing in Visual Studio 2017 is probably worth it. However, if you’re only using Visual Studio for bolstering your SharePoint environment with small add-ons or some other minor aspect of your business processes, then you won’t really benefit from the new capabilities, so sticking with what you already have should suffice.

It’s worth bearing in mind, that, ultimately, technology will continue moving forward and your tools and solutions will eventually go past their ‘sell-by’ date. So, whether you upgrade to Visual Studio 2017 now or not, it’s likely you might need to upgrade sometime down the road.

Do it your way

Feel the need to polish your developer skills? Want to know more about creating the next viral mobile app? Or are you interested in taking the next step in your programing career? Whatever your goals, we have the right training path for you. Learn to use cutting edge web application development tools with a Microsoft Visual Studio training course from Train Canada. To find out more about this course and many of our hundreds of other programs contact us today.

To learn more about Visual Studio 2017, sign up for our live webinar scheduled for May 5, 2017 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.



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