Microsoft’s 64-bit Visual Studio preview is out for testing

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Microsoft has released several developer tools, including the preview for the 64-bit version of Visual Studio 2022, ahead of the June 24 developer event. The first preview of Visual Studio 2022 comes after it has been kept at the 32-bit level for years, even as the hardware world transformed.

The decision to make it 64-bit was announced earlier this year and presents an ambitious plan to change the ecosystem. That is a gargantuan task, given the massive size of the Visual Studio codebase. It is natural to wonder how much cruft is hanging around in this version of the toolset, given that it first became operational in the last century.

The preview

Justin Johnson, Microsoft’s senior program manager, said in a blog post that the 64-bit conversion move impacts every part of Visual Studio. So, he added that the preview would be bigger than usual. That probably indicates that the first release is not about new features per se.

That’s not to say there is nothing new, since there are improvements to IntelliCode, with some parts of VS2019 missing for now. The preview is all about remaining functional, while programmers test it out to see how it holds up.

What the preview is about

Microsoft wants the developers to test out large and complicated solutions on the preview to see how it reacts, boasting that users would be able to run the IDE for days, even with solutions that have 700+ projects. One could argue that this is an old-fashioned way of looking at things, where memory is just expanded, instead of rethinking Visual Studio in a fuller way.

While it can now use up more resources, its ecosystem of extensions will require vendors to make updates that will not turn up until Visual Studio 2022 is released. This is not very good news for the components that have been abandoned by vendors, even though developers still need them.