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Microsoft Visual Studio update soups up C/C++ programming

With the release candidate for the latest version of its Visual Studio IDE, Microsoft is offering better C/C++ operations and has fixed a number of performance issues.

Visual Studio 2015 Update 2 RC, released late last week, improves C/C++ runtime library performance in a number of common operations. "For example, extracting floating point numbers with iostreams is up to nineteen times faster," John Montgomery, Microsoft director of program management for Visual Studio, said in a blog post. "Certain string operations are also faster, especially std::string::replace when replacing same-sized substrings." C++ projects load faster as well.

For Visual C++, the C++ compiler and standard library have been updated with enhanced support for C++11 and C++14 features and preliminary support for C++17, Microsoft said in release notes. The compiler includes backing for variable templates and constexpr, which provides for constant expression. With the C++ IDE, new installations of Visual Studio use by default the faster database engine introduced in Update 1.

The update, downloadable at the Visual Studio website, also improves the C# and Visual Basic Analyzer API and offers concurrent execution for Analyzer writers. Additionally, the release candidate fixes problems that had occurred with ASP.Net after installing Update 2 CTP (Community Technology Preview). Update 2 RC also takes care of crashes that were due to null and/or invalid pointer reads as well as crashes some users had encountered when opening a solution in the IDE. Licensing failures have been reduced, and more actionable information is provided when failures occur. The release candidate also mends errors in the NuGet Package Manager Console.

The upgrade shows Git source control status in the IDE's status bar and supports consumption of TextMate snippets with InelliSense completion. It updates Visual Studio Tools for Apache Cordova, adds support for the iPhone 6s simulator, and offers command-line integration for build and project creation.

In conjunction with the Visual Studio release candidate, Microsoft released Team Foundation Server 2015 Update RC 2, an update to its application lifecycle management server. Users now can create and delete projects via REST APIs. "These improvements help to bring more parity between Visual Studio Team Services and Team Foundation Server for project management operations," release notes state.

The update features a new version of Web-based release management that's "simpler to use than the earlier version and is based on the same infrastructure and experience as the new Build system in TFS." Users also can connect to a VMware vCenter server, for managing VMware vSphere virtualization environments, from Visual Studio Team Services or from TFS, and an extension for connecting to a Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager is included as well.

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