Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2022 17.3 for Windows, bringing a few new capabilities for developers to leverage in their apps along with an array of other improvements. Among these, two might stand out if you’ve been following the news around app development at Microsoft: official support for .NET MAUI and Arm64EC.
With these features being official, you can now start using them in apps you want to publish and have confidence that they will work as intended. .NET MAUI (or Multi-platform App UI) is a set of tools that lets you create apps for Windows, Android, iOS, and macOS using a single shared codebase. For developers of cross-platform apps, this should be a big help, and it also supports features like Hot Reload so you can see how your code changes affect the app in real time. .NET MAUI has been in preview for some time now, so it’s good to see it finally be officially supported.
Meanwhile, while Arm64EC support isn’t mentioned in the announcement for Visual Studio 2022 17.3, there’s a separate blog post announcing official support. This comes over a year since Arm64EC was first announced. If you don’t know, Arm64EC (Emulation Compatible) is an application binary interface (ABI) that allows developers to create applications that mix Arm64 and x64 code in the same process. Essentially, as a developer, this means you can gradually transition your app to add Arm64 support without having to rewrite it completely. It’s also important for apps like Microsoft Excel, which rely heavily on extensions designed for x64. This way, the core app itself can transition to Arm64 without breaking compatibility with x64 extensions. In fact, Microsoft’s Office apps already use Arm64EC on Arm devices.
Aside from these big additions, Visual Studio 2022 17.3 also comes with improved performance for C++ so that it uses less CPU resources while building a C++ app. Additionally, indexing and colorizing C++ code in Visual Studio is now much faster, with Microsoft sharing an example of a new Unreal Engine 5 solution, where Visual Studio 173 takes 72 seconds to index, compared to 146 seconds in version 17.2. A new Teams Toolkit is also now available to help you build apps for Microsoft Teams.
There are numerous other improvements, and you can find the full release notes here if you want an in-depth look at everything added in this update. Along with Visual Studio 2022 17.3, Microsoft is also releasing .NET Framework 4.8.1, which is the first version with full native support for Arm64. And on that note, Microsoft also announced that Visual Studio 17.4 will be the first version of Visual Studio to be fully native on Arm64 as well, and the first preview is out today. You can download Visual Studio 2022 17.3 for Windows here, or get the 17.4 Preview 1 here if you’re curious.
If you’re on macOS, Visual Studio 2022 for Mac 17.3 is also out today. This version comes with support for User Secrets, new code fixes to help you be more productive, and support for App Store Connect accounts, which are required for individual Apple developers. There’s a full list of changes here. Visual Studio for Mac 17.4 is also entering preview today with initial support for .NET MAUI.
Regardless of what version you’re looking for, you can find the latest Visual Studio downloads here.