Microsoft's Visual Studio 2019: New 16.4 version brings GitHub integration

Microsoft releases Visual Studio 2019 v16.4 and warns developers to stop using older versions.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2019 16.4, the newest version of its full integrated developer environment (IDE) that was launched in April

Developers on Stack Overflow nominated Visual Studio as the second most popular development environment to Microsoft's separate cross-platform code editor, VS Code. 

Visual Studio 2019 introduced a new start window to help users get coding faster, better search, and the Visual Studio IntelliCode AI assistance for auto-correcting code, as well as better Python virtual support.

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The latest version of Visual Studio 2019, v16.4, brings a new integration with Microsoft-owned code-sharing site GitHub, which allows users to publish code directly from Team Explorer, the feature that helps developers collaborate on software projects.

Developers can now click the 'Publish to GitHub' button on the Team Explorer Synchronization page to replicate local repositories on GitHub repositories. According to Microsoft's Visual Studio team, this feature was a "high priority" because so many developers think it is a productive idea.

For mobile app developers there's also a new XAML 'Hot Reload' feature for Xamarin.Forms. Xamarin – which was co-founded by GitHub's current CEO Nat Friedman – was bought by Microsoft in 2016 because it created tools to write Android, iOS, and Windows apps built with C# in Visual Studio.    

"XAML Hot Reload for Xamarin.Forms enables you to make changes to your XAML UI and see them reflected live without requiring another build and deploy," says Microsoft program manager Jacqueline Widdis.   

Microsoft says this XAML feature will speed up development times and make it easier to improve an app's user interface without forcing developers to rewrite code to support changes.  

"Because your application is compiled using XAML Hot Reload, it works with all libraries and third-party controls, and is available for iOS and Android. Consequently, it works on all valid deployment targets including simulators, emulators, and physical devices," explained Widdis.

Microsoft has also added a new built-in Container Tools window, which started life as an extension for Docker containers in the Visual Studio Marketplace. The tool allows users to list, inspect, stop, start, and remove Docker images and containers on a local machine.

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On the desktop for WPF and UWP apps, there's new IntelliSense support for XAML code snippets. 

Microsoft also offered updated information about support timeframes for Visual Studio 2019, which impacts users of Enterprise and Professional editions. Version 16.4 is the second supported servicing baseline for Visual Studio 2019 after version 16.0. Versions 16.1, 16.2, and 16.3 are no longer supported.

"Visual Studio 2019 version 16.4 is the second supported servicing baseline for Visual Studio 2019. Enterprise and Professional customers needing to adopt a long-term stable and secure development environment are encouraged to standardize on this version," Microsoft notes in support documents.   

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