Visual Studio gains some go-faster stripes for Android emulation

Microsoft has sent version 15.8 of Visual Studio out in the big wide world, and it looks to be a useful upgrade for those using Redmond’s development tools.

Mind your language

F# 4.5 and TypeScript 3.0 have both showed up to the party (and let’s face it, there ain’t no party like a dev tools party) having both been finalised at the end of last month. As well as the improvements to F# The Register noted in July, the software giant also claims to have doubled the speed of Intellisense in large files (more than 10k lines of code.)

Not that a Real ProgrammerTM would admit to depending on Intellisense (your humble hack, however, would be quite lost without it). A Real ProgrammerTM, of course, sets registers by hand using a soldering iron.

The venerable C++ environment has also seen some modifications, with C++ Just My Code allowing developers to skip non-user code during debugging. A recompilation with the new /JMC compiler switch (on by default) should be all that is required to enable this handy behaviour.

Multi-caret editing also made a most welcome appearance, allowing multiple locations to be edited in a file simultaneously via a selection of keyboard and mouse combinations. Sadly, it looks like the edits can only be performed in the same file rather than over a project.

Microsoft also reckoned that performance when running tests has improved – claiming a solution with over 10,000 MSTests executed a single test 82 per cent faster than the previous version.

Accelerated Android

More interestingly, support for the Google Android emulator has made an appearance for machines running on the Windows 10 April 2018 Update. The update allows mobile developers to dramatically increase the speed of the emulator by running it with Hyper-V (assuming the Windows Hypervisor Platform has been enabled.)

Having struggled with the performance of the Android emulator in the past (eventually giving up and deploying to a handy physical device instead), The Register can confirm that the improvement is quite marked on an elderly i7 laptop with 16GB. Throwing together an app using Xamarin and running it up on the emulator represents considerably less of the slog to which we’d become accustomed.

It is, however, worth pointing out that we did have to pretty much nuke our installation of Visual Studio from orbit in order to persuade the updated emulator to fire up. Microsoft has also warned that an application may take an abnormal amount of time to deploy.

Xamarin itself also came in for some love with some much-needed improvements made to the designer. A split-view editor allows layouts to be edited and previewed at the same time and placeholder data and images mean that some of the guesswork of how a layout will behave has been taken away.

The hulking download is available now, to strain bandwidth already stretched by a patch Tuesday bonanza. ®

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