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Modest Visual Studio 2019 advances target productivity

The latest version of Microsoft's Visual Studio tool set is no big bang, though it does add incremental and useful features for developers to build apps on any platform.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 may not offer earth-shattering improvements, but its incremental advances will help developers through the cycle of development, testing, debugging and deployment.

Two updates stand out in the latest biennial release of Microsoft's flagship development platform, which became generally available this week.

Visual Studio Live Share enables team members to collaborate in real time to share, edit and debug code across each other's screens, which is useful for pair programming or conducting code reviews. And Visual Studio IntelliCode is a code completion capability that applies AI to complete lines of code for developers.

Live Share and IntelliCode are important because they extend improvements to developer productivity, said Arnal Dayaratna, an analyst at IDC. However, Visual Studio 2019 goes beyond pure developer productivity features to include support for Microsoft's DevOps platform, Azure DevOps Server, and enables developers to track their application across the DevOps pipeline.

"The emphasis here is not solely about developer productivity or developer velocity," Dayaratna said. "Microsoft has gone out of its way to ensure that developers have a richer and more efficient experience while writing code."

Visual Studio Live Share lets developers collaborate in real-time, and Visual Studio IntelliCode lets developers create custom models for intelligent suggestions that can be shared with colleagues, Dayaratna said.

"In other words, developers need not use predefined suggestions from IntelliCode, but can instead train IntelliCode to make the kinds of suggestions that are most useful for them," he said.

Visual Studio 2019 also features expanded GitHub integrations to make it easier to clone a Git repository, or to open an existing project or folder .

Visual Studio IntelliCode
A screenshot of IntelliCode in Visual Studio 2019

Code refactoring, containers and microservices

The emphasis here is not solely about developer productivity or developer velocity. Microsoft has gone out of its way to ensure that developers have a richer and more efficient experience while writing code.
Arnal DayaratnaAnalyst, IDC

Modern application development requires diverse expertise and the ability to program in multiple languages, plus an understanding of all the different technologies deployed to build back ends -- most notably containers, microservices and serverless.

Visual Studio 2019 also enables developers to develop container applications for Kubernetes with Visual Studio Kubernetes Tools.

This release also improves code refactoring in .NET, which is particularly important for companies as they modernize monolithic applications into microservices, IDC's Dayaratna said.

Other notable additions in Visual Studio 2019 include one-click code cleanup for anomalies and the ability to save fixes made to code as part of a profile for future use.

Visual Studio 2019 also supports the ability to build cross-platform C++ applications, .NET mobile apps for Android and iOS written using Xamarin, and cloud-native applications using Azure services.

In addition, Microsoft made Visual Studio 2019 for Mac generally available, with a C# editor built on a shared core with Visual Studio on Windows.

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