Microsoft Visual Studio 16.9 preview enhances C++ tooling


Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2019 16.9 Preview 3, an update to the company’s signature integrated development environment that offers more command line tools for C++ development as well as enhancements tuned to .NET and XAML. The previous update to Visual Studio 2019, version 16.8, added support for the C11 and C17 versions of C.

Preview 3 was released January 20. Among the new C++ command line tools, the preview lets developers target the LLVM version of the OpenMP runtime with the command line switch, /openmp:llvm. This feature includes added support for the lastprivate clause on #pragma omp sections and unsigned index variables in parallel for loops. This switch is currently available only for the AMD64 target and is considered experimental.

Preview 3 also brings first-class support for remote development to CMake projects, including configuring a project to target AMD64. Also for C++, Microsoft has marked many of the lock and guard types in the Standard Template Library implementation as nodiscard, to offer more helpful compiler errors.

Other changes and enhancements in Visual Studio 16.9 Preview 3:

  • MVVM (Model-View-ViewModel) tools have been expanded for XAML. Lightbulbs have been introduced to generate commands and new view models.
  • For .NET productivity, IntelliSense has been improved to highlight completion for preprocessor symbols. Also, Solution Explorer will now display .NET 5.0 C# Source Generators underneath the Analyzer node. This will allow for easy navigation and viewing of generated code.
  • Also for IntelliSense, improvements have been made to the functionality and stability of providing imported modules and header units. Also, Go-To-Definition can be highlighted on module imports.
  • With Address Sanitizer (ASan) for Windows, the IDE integration for ASan-reported exceptions now handles the full collection of reportable exceptions.

Instructions on accessing Visual Studio previews can be found at Preview 3 follows Visual Studio 2019 16.9 previews released on December 8, 2020, and November 10, 2020, which brought enhancements to areas such as Git productivity and C++ development.