Visual Studio is the world’s best IDE, and it just got better with the recent launch of Visual Studio 2017. This release is packed full of awesome features including live unit testing, new refactorings, code suggestions, and C# 7 support, as well as features that help mobile developers build better mobile apps, faster. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the features that make mobile development a breeze in Visual Studio 2017.
Getting Started with Visual Studio 2017
The Visual Studio team has completely revamped the installation experience from the ground-up. The new install experience is intuitive, touch-friendly, and most importantly, we now have the option of a low drive-space footprint, selecting only the tools we require. We can select a Workload that best suits our requirements, such as Mobile Development with .NET, Universal Windows Platform, or .NET Core. Only the required components will be installed, helping to keep the download and final install sizes at a minimum. You can get started faster than ever, plus ensure that your install only contains exactly what you need to get started.
Many mobile apps at their core are simply list views with data pulled down from the web. In this release, we created new templates for Visual Studio 2017 to reflect this reality. By clicking just a few buttons, you can bootstrap your next mobile project with a mobile app for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 that includes tabbed navigation, MVVM, settings, and more. By clicking “Host in the cloud,” you can then take your mobile project to the next level by provisioning a backend for it, complete with client-side code for online/offline synchronization and automatic conflict resolution.
Opening any Xamarin.Forms XAML document now provides a significantly improved IntelliSense experience in Visual Studio 2017. The new code completion engine supports bindings, custom properties, custom controls, converters, and much more.
The Xamarin.Forms Previewer gives us a “WYSIWYG” view of what our app will look like on device, as well as live updates of our changes. Visual Studio 2017 features many enhancements to the Xamarin.Forms Previewer to increase the range of supported controls and XAML constructs. This is a huge time saver in comparison to re-deploying to our devices to see changes.
Once we’ve developed, debugged, and tested our app, then comes the task of publishing to the app store(s). The Android Archive Manager provides a seamless app publishing process by guiding us step-by-step through the process without ever leaving Visual Studio 2017.
The Xamarin Inspector is a tool for Visual Studio Enterprise customers that allows you to make changes to your user interface and instantly see the results. For example, we don’t need to re-run the application to see how a font change will alter the look and feel of our app; we can simply run the app with Inspector and see changes on the fly.
iOS Simulator for Windows
The iOS Simulator for Windows is another feature in Visual Studio 2017 Enterprise edition. It makes perfecting your app a breeze by allowing you to view the iOS Simulator without having to jump back to your Mac.
Xamarin Profiler is a tool designed to detect memory leaks, unused resources, etc. Visual Studio Enterprise users can leverage the powerful features of Profiler to catch these issues before they make their way to users.
Xamarin Test Cloud allows us to test our apps on real physical devices to see how they perform in the real world. This requires writing test scripts. Visual Studio Enterprise users can use Xamarin Test Recorder to record tests and run them on a multitude of devices in the Xamarin Test Cloud.
If you haven’t yet taken the dive into Visual Studio 2017, you should definitely give it a try today to take advantage of the many new features and enhancements for both .NET and mobile developers.