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The preview release offers a suite of new features as well as increased stability for Microsoft’s development platform.

This week Microsoft released Visual Studio 2019 v16.9 Preview 3. This is the Visual Studio Team’s first preview release of 2021. The preview offers new additions to C++, .NET Productivity, Test Explorer, Accessibility, and XAML Tools.

The new release includes a significant new component for Windows desktop developers. The new feature is called WebView2, and it is a browser control based on Edge Chromium rather than the old Internet Explored-based Trident.

Jacqueline Widdis, the Release Manager for the Visual Studio Release Team, detailed new features of the preview in a blog post.

Updated C++ support

Microsoft hs added additional command line tools. First, users can now target the LLVM version of the OPenMP runtime with the command line switch “/openmp:llvm”. They have also added support for the “lastprivate” clause on “#pragma omp” sections and unsigned index variables in parallel for loops.

As a response to the surge in remote working due to the COVID pandemic, Microsoft has added “first class support” for remote Windows development with Visual Studio CMake projects. Developers can also deploy and debug the project on a remote Windows machine from Visual Studio 2019.

Increased .NET productivity

“The .NET Productivity team has been busy adding additional IntelliSense improvements,” Widdis writes. These include completion for preprocessor symbols and a new change in Solution Explorer. Specifically, it will now display the new .NET 5.0 Source Generators underneath the Analyzer node.

“Go To All will no longer display duplicate results across netcoreapp3.1 and netcoreapp2.0 as well as results for partial types that exist to wrap another nested type. This will help declutter the results, according to Widdis.

Additional enhancements

Preview 3 includes some nice usability features such as Audio Cues. This is where Test Explorer can play a customizable sound when a test run completes. In addition, if a user has High Contrast enabled in Windows, Visual Studio 2019 will now honor those settings.

“We sincerely hope these new features and additional stability give you reason to smile this new year,” Widdis concludes.

Tip: Microsoft Visual Studio Code gets official Snap version for Linux