Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2019 Preview, the latest version of its popular IDE used by millions of developers worldwide to write code and deploy software. (Note: This article on Visual Studio 2019 is also available as a free PDF download.)

The release offers a variety of productivity improvements, enhanced collaboration and faster tooling.

Notable features include the addition of a new start window that introduces developers to the IDE, a new search function, a wider range of AI-powered assistance for the IntelliCode autocomplete and auto-formatting, better refactoring capabilities, and smarter debugging.

The IntelliCode upgrade means suggestions will be personalized to each user, giving them recommendations based on the patterns and libraries used in their code. IntelliCode will also now work with the XAML and C++ languages. Visual Studio Code users can also use IntelliCode when working JavaScript, TypeScript, Python and Java.

The new version of the IDE also makes it easier to collaborate, with the built-in access to Visual Studio Live Share, which itself gets new features including sharing desktop apps, source-control diffs and code commenting. Additionally, Microsoft says it is “responding to developers’ need for increased coding space” with the release. Visual Studio 2019 Preview is available to download here.

Visual Studio 2019 for Mac Preview is also available today, bringing with it what Microsoft describes as “enhanced productivity and collaboration capabilities” to Mac developers working with software written with C# and .NET Core, mobile apps made using Xamarin and, games with Unity, while also providing back-end services to client applications.

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Subscribers to Visual Studio Enterprise also gain access to CAST Highlight, a service that allows users to scan their application source code to “identify the cloud readiness of their applications for migration to Azure and monitor progress of their app both during and after a migration”. A paid for option, CAST Highlight is available for free for one month for up to five apps per Visual Studio Enterprise subscriber.

Also announced at the Microsoft Connect() event today was the general availability of the .NET Core 2.2 software framework, which includes performance upgrades, as well as improvements to web and data app frameworks, and is available to download now.

The latest improvements include enabling tiered compilation by default, as well as new features in the ASP.NET Core web stack, such as hosting model improvements for IIS, Web API improvements including API security, template updates for Bootstrap 4 and Angular 6, and HealthCheck upgrades.

Alongside, Microsoft made available .NET Core 3.0 Public Preview, which Microsoft says provides “significant updates to web, cloud, IoT, AI/ML and Windows desktop workloads”, adding support for WinForms and WPF, two of the most popular .NET application types used by millions of developers. It is also available to download from here.

Microsoft also revealed the availability of ML.NET 0.8 public preview, its machine-learning framework for making it easier for devs to add custom ML models to their code.

Also new is the general of Xamarin.Forms 3.4, the latest release version of the framework for building cross-platform apps for Android, iOS and Windows, and the public preview of Xamarin.Forms 4.0.

A closer look at Visual Studio for Mac 2019 Preview.
Image: Microsoft