Here’s what’s new in Visual Studio JavaScript support for iOS and Android developers

Michael Cottuli

In Microsoft’s latest Visual Studio blog post, they focus on the recent release of TACO (Tools for Apache Cordova) in Virtual Studio 2017 RC and how it’s going to address some of the biggest issues faced by iOS and Android developers.

According to the post, Microsoft is “tackling the big problems” in this release, and trying to address some of the most significant roadblocks that developers tend to crash into as they create and maintain apps. As to what these issues are, they can be put into two central themes:

  • Fast, reliable builds. The new Visual Studio Installer, combined with offline installation of a fully validated toolchain of 3rd party components, provides for faster builds that are also easier to troubleshoot and fix.
  • Incredible edit-debug speed. A new browser-based simulator enables you to code fast and see the results immediately in the browser. Live reload, plugin simulation and support for Ionic Framework give VS the fastest developer workflow on the market.

Microsoft’s move toward speed and reliability is exemplified by their new streamlined installer, which now offers a “Mobile Development with Javascript” workload. The new installer frequently gets developers to “go from ‘download’ to ‘code’ within 15 minutes.”

Also helping to make for a more reliable and quick development experience is the addition of “toolsets,” which combine “a set of validated tools into a single package which can be used by Visual Studio.”

The biggest change coming to TACO to improve its edit-debug speed is coming from the addition of Cordova Simulate, which is going to be replacing Ripple in the newest build of TACO. Here’s you can expect in Cordova Simulate:

Like Ripple, Cordova Simulate will empower you to:

  • Test at varying devices sizes.
  • Simulate geolocation, compass, and accelerometer settings.
  • Live reload for images, stylesheets, JavaScript, and HTML.
  • Use browser developer tools like a DOM explorer and JavaScript debugger, all from within Visual Studio.

Going beyond Ripple, Cordova Simulate then lets you:

  • Simulate even more plugins like Camera, Contacts, File, Media, and more (see the documentation for details).
  • Simulate your app in a dedicated browser window rather than an iframe.
  • Save API responses for custom or uncommon plugins.

Visual Studio 2017 RC is available right now to download, so you should grab it if you want to see these features for yourself. For more info about upcoming releases of TACO, you can sign up for the TACO Insider program here.