VS Update & .NET 4.61 With WPF
Written by MIke James   
Friday, 30 October 2015

It is nice to know that Microsoft hasn't forgotten the old ways. New, along with Visual Studio Update 1 RC, is an update to .NET and WPF.

Not so long ago things were looking bleak for WPF and even for .NET as WinRT was being pushed as the solution to everything.

Fortunately the new Microsoft, you know the one that turned Windows 8 around by skipping Windows 9, seems to have seen the error of dumping the past.

 

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The first good news is that Visual Studio 2015 Update RC is now available, just three weeks after the CTP was released. The list of goodies is very long and which you are interested in depends on what languages and platforms you are targeting.

For C++ programmers you can now edit and continue debugging Windows Store projects. The compiler has enhanced support for C++11 and 14 and even 17 with better code editing. memory diagnostics and debugging and build tools.

For C# there's an interactive window and command line REPL, a Goto Implementation command, a command that converts get methods to properties, CPU profiling while debugging and more. 

For Cordova programmers you can now target Cordova 5.31 and iOS9.

TypeScript has been updated and now has ECMAScript 6 support and some features proposed for version 7 including async.

Node.js support has been improved with better IntelliSense and support for Node.js 4.x. 

You can also provide feedback to the VS team more easily with a single click taking you to UserVoice. 

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The upgrade to the .NET Framework is a small one but it does include some clues as to where things are heading. There is improved support for Elliptic Curve crypto, specifically digital signatures, SQL connectivity improvements, profiling improvements and a lot of bug fixes and performance gains. 

The single biggest improvement in the new .NET Framework is to WPF. As important as any technical change is the comment in the WPF blog:

First, we want to assure you that we are still committed to continuously servicing the platform, providing important fixes and improvements, and evolving the tooling based on customer feedback. We are exploring ways for partners and the community to provide us with more direct feedback, and participate more easily in testing and validation of fixes and features as they are prepared. This would allow customers to review these changes in a non-production environment for feedback purposes. 

In this release touch stack performance has been improved making WPF more suitable for tablet/laptop apps. WPF is already DPI aware and will scale graphics to suite the display. This has been extended to work with multiple monitors on a per monitor DPI awareness. This only available as a preview at the moment but you can apply to try it out. 

The ability to work with DX10 and 11 has been added via an open source project - WPF DirectX Extensions. This is good news if you are a DirectX expert but not if you just want to use WPF for 3D. As it stands WPF has reasonable 3D facilities and it would be nice if these were improved rather than using a native DLL. The other big problem is that, in common with most open source projects, the documentation is non-existent. 

Better open source news is that 200+ WPF samples have been moved over to GitHub, making it easier to browse the code without having to download each project in its entirety. 

Finally, a strange, but very welcome, improvement is to the spelling dictionary but only on Windows 8.1 and 10.  As long as you are using of of these recent OSs you can now spell check a full range of languages - on early systems you only got English, German, French and Spanish. You can also make use of per-user custom dictionaries, but again you only get the full works on Windows 8.1 and 10.

It is nice to know that work is ongoing on WPF and .NET even though the open source contributions aren't proving to be as polished and well packaged as the traditional Microsoft offerings. I suppose the excuse is that you can always go and read the code. 

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Last Updated ( Friday, 30 October 2015 )