Visual Studio 2019 Preview One

Microsoft has announced the release of Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1 at the Connect 2018 event. This preview highlights many changes, from the IDE’s startup behavior, to code refactoring functionality, and greater use of search functions to better navigate larger projects.

This preview showcases Microsoft’s efforts to get developers working on their projects quicker. Microsoft has added a new launch screen that appears at application startup. The goal of this screen is to make it quicker to immediately open a recent project or to clone/check out an application hosted on Git. It is possible to simply press ESC to close this window and proceed with the loading of the IDE. Customizing the behavior of this is possible under Options | Environment | Preview Features which provides an option to permanently enable/disable this window.

Another sign of the expediency push is the revamp of the Quick Launch box (hotkey CTRL Q). The search capability of the IDE has been improved to support fuzzy string searching and additionally will search across IDE settings, commands, and options. This was demonstrated by showing the results of a search for the misspelled word “cdoe” in Visual Studio 2017 (where nothing was found) versus Visual Studio 2019 Preview which searched on the assumption the user meant “code”.

Code refactorings have been expanded in VS2019, with the editor identifying common scenarios where code implementation can be improved. Examples of this new behavior include changing for-loops to LINQ queries or converting tuples to named structs. It is important to note that these recommendations are optional and taking the advice of the IDE is up to the developer.

The Format Document settings dialog has been pulled out of the Options menu and given greater prominence in the IDE. Now dubbed Code Cleanup, this standalone dialog is accessible from both Quick Launch and at the corner of the main editor window as shown here:

Visual Studio

It should be noted that Microsoft says this design is not final and may change over the course of development.

A search bar has been added to the Autos / Locals / Watch windows shown in the debugger. Search depth can be configured in an effort to keep the feature useful without burdening the user with too much information to wade through.

Finally, as Microsoft previously announced, the Blue theme for the IDE is being revamped. Initial comparisons show the theme to be a lighter shade in comparison to that in Visual Studio 2017. Those unhappy with the change in themes are put in a difficult situation as by default Visual Studio will sync theme preferences across copies of the IDE. If the traditional Blue theme in Visual Studio 2017 is desired, but a different theme is sought in Visual Studio 2019, it is necessary to disable syncing of account details on VS2019. (Otherwise a switch to a Light or Dark theme will propagate over to Visual Studio 2017.) The following screenshots show VS2017’s blue theme first, followed by VS2019:

Visual Studio 2019

Interestingly, the current iteration of the IDE does provide ways to customize the behavior of other aspects of the user interface (the aforementioned startup window, and whether or not to use the new compact menu and search bar).

To obtain Visual Studio 2019 Preview 1, it is necessary to download a new copy of the Visual Studio Installer. Once this is run it is able to manage installations of VS2017 as well as VS2019 Preview.