As developers, there is something in the our DNA that causes us to always be looking forward to the next thing that is going to allow us to do things faster and do new things that we haven’t been able to previously do. I think this is an amazing time to be a developer for many reasons. One in particular is because we don’t have to wait very long for the next version of developer tools. These product cycles have never been faster. I can remember the days of VS 2005 and waiting for VS 2008. Multi-year cycles are long gone and now there is a new version of Visual Studio almost every year with frequent updates throughout the year. Visual Studio Code takes that one step further and seems to want to update every time I open it but updates are actually about each month. Visual Studio Team Services, the cloud version of Team Foundation Server (TFS) which is an amazing agile project management tool + private repo + CI / CD tool, is updated every three weeks.
So are these faster than ever cycles still not often enough? Well you’re in luck. In addition to all these “slow lane” product cycles, each of these tools offer an insiders or preview option to the next upcoming version/features. The best part is that these can live side by side with the existing installations/versions. Let’s take a look where to install / enable these.
Visual Studio 2017 Preview is available to download.
The installer is aware of both versions and even allows you to install different components for each.
Just so you don’t accidently run the wrong version, the preview version is clearly marked when running it.
Visual Studio Code
The Insiders edition has a green icon to identify that it is the Insiders edition.
Visual Studio Team Services
VSTS is a SaaS solution so there isn’t a separate installation. However, VSTS extensively leverages features flags and you can enable some preview features your user or account level. To get to the list, you navigate from your user account and select preview features.
Each feature can be toggled on/off with a Learn more link for additional information.
Feedback, Feedback, Feedback
Even if the normal cycles are fast enough, I think Microsoft encourages you to try out these to get feedback before the new updates are officially released. With this feedback, it helps ensure that these fast cycles can be maintained with exceptional quality. It also gives you the ability to provide input and help shape these tools so they can continue to be the best tools for building applications. Each of these tools include mechanisms for providing the feedback. Check the help menu to start providing feedback.