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Microsoft: Try to break our first preview of 64-bit Visual Studio – go on, we dare you

Microsoft has unveiled a slew of developer tools, including a preview of the 64-bit Visual Studio 2022, ahead of that developer event set for 24 June.

Preview 1 of Visual Studio 2022 comes direct from the department of never-say-never following version after version of the toolset remaining staunchly 32-bit, even as the hardware world changed around it.

The move to 64-bit was announced earlier this year and is an ambitious one considering the ecosystem and sheer size of the Visual Studio codebase.

Far be it from us to wonder how much cruft might be lurking within a product that has its roots in the previous century.

“The 64-bit conversion effort affects every part of Visual Studio, so the scope is much bigger than our usual previews,” explained Microsoft senior program manager Justin Johnson in a blog on the matter, meaning that the first release is not so much about whizzbang new features (although there are improvements to IntelliCode even if some bits of VS2019 are missing at present) but more about seeing if the old thing remains upright as programmers prod at it.

Microsoft is particularly keen that developers throw huge and complex solutions at the preview that would have caused wobbles in previous versions. The company boasted that “customers were able to run the IDE for days, even with solutions containing 700 (or more!) projects.”

Perhaps this hack is a bit old fashioned, but there is surely an argument to be made that rather than allowing developer tools to expand like a helium balloon headed for space, getting to a solution that isn’t quite so bloated might be made easier by having a rethink rather than adding yet more memory.

While Visual Studio can now chomp through more system resources, its ecosystem of extensions has not fared so well – Microsoft warned that updates would be required by vendors before those same extensions would turn up in Visual Studio 2022. This may not bode well for that one weird component that has long been abandoned but is still depended upon by a developer.

The release was joined by updates to .NET 6 and ASP.NET Core in the form of Preview 5 as well as an updated preview of the .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI). Microsoft also announced a developer event at 3pm ET on 24 June, hot on the heels of its “What’s next for Windows” show.

After all, there is little point in having a shiny new operating system unless one can encourage developers to target code at it. ®




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