Visual Studio 2017 Support in AppBuilder_870x220

Visual Studio 2017 is here, and Telerik Platform and AppBuilder are ready with support.

Telerik Platform offers effortless development of fully native and hybrid cross-platform mobile applications based on the NativeScript or Cordova frameworks. As part of it, we provide an extension for Visual Studio—and we have some exciting news to share there.

Welcome Visual Studio 2017

The incoming Visual Studio 2017 RC changed its installation in a major way. Up until now, everyone had the same huge, gigabytes stealing installation whether they were a Node.js backend or WPF desktop developer. With Visual Studio 2017 everyone will be able to use only the parts that make sense for their tasks.

As developers ourselves, we are enthusiastic about these changes. Our team consists of people who code desktop apps, mobile apps and server-side code. We anticipated the positive impact and knew that you, our customers, would want it too.

We embraced the opportunity and started updating our Visual Studio extension at the earliest possible moment.

Creating the Visual Studio 2017 Extension

To support the new modular installation, the Visual Studio team introduced a new way for developing extensions and a new VSIX format (the way Visual Studio extensions were distributed and installed). You can read more details on their blog. The surprise to our team was that for the first time since 2010, the VSIX format was not backwards compatible. The crux of this was that every extension needed to explicitly specify on which parts of Visual Studio it depended.

However, adopting the new model was surprisingly easy for us. As a first step, we needed to simply double click on the vsixmanifest file in our solution and specify the dependencies in the UI. We needed a couple of trials and errors to slim down our requirements to just the "JavaScript and TypeScript language" Visual Studio package! This was expected, as the focus of AppBuilder is to develop mobile apps with JavaScript or TypeScript. But it is a testament to the design of both AppBuilder and Visual Studio that we could do this with so few dependencies.

VS prerequisites

Once we understood our dependencies, we had to fix some issues in our code and we were generally ready to ship!

Results

We are happy with our achievements. Everything works as is and you can jump into coding right away.

Our templates are fully integrated in VS 2017:

Project Templates

The UI is intact. For example, managing project dependencies:

NativeScript dependencies

Another result of our work was that we found a few inefficiencies in our startup code. We have already resolved some of them and will continue to optimize our code.

Supporting Older Versions of Visual Studio

To support the new Visual Studio extensibility model, we had to do one big change. We are no longer actively developing new features for Visual Studio 2010.

For existing VS 2010 users nothing changes in the short term. If you have already installed our extension, it will continue to work as is. If you need to install it, for example, after re-installing Visual Studio, please contact our support team and we will provide the installation package for 2010. Starting with AppBuilder 3.7 (February 2017), we will discontinue our support for Visual Studio 2010 entirely.

Other current versions of Visual Studio - 2012, 2013 and 2015 are fully supported.

Try It Out!

Please, give our new extension inside Visual Studio 2017 a try! You can download it here. Share your feedback with us in the comments below or at our feedback portal.


About the Author

Todor Totev

discovered programming using the illegal clone of Apple II made in the socialist block 25 years ago. Since then he dabbled in every programming technology which can run in a personal computing device, small or not so small. He enjoys prototype based object oriented languages, playing with his German Shepard dog and mercilessly beating his friends on Magic the Gathering. Google Profile

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