Keeping up to date with development tooling and technologies is impossible with the speed of innovation and release. As we progress forward this is only going to get harder. So how can we help with this?

With browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Edge they have adopted the “evergreen” approach. This is where a new release is pushed out and the next time the application is restarted the new version starts. It isn’t just applications like web browsers but Office is also going that way. If you have an Microsoft 365 license applications such as Word, Excel and Outlook will also update when there is a new version. Even MS Teams does this now!

So how can you keep up to date with IDEs such as Visual Studio without impacting your day to day driver?

In previous versions of Visual Studio it was all or nothing. It came with the newer version of .NET Framework usually and it impacted your operating system. If you installed them in reverse order (newer to older) then your whole computer could become unstable and require rebuilding. This caused issues when you had to support multiple versions of .NET Framework. It was hard to evaluate the newer options without impacting your day to day version. This happened all the way up to Visual Studio 2015. With the speed of cadence of .NET Core/.NET releases and wanting to hear feedback from the community a change had to come. This is where the Visual Studio Installer come in.

What is the Visual Studio Installer? It is a version install manager. The newer versions of Visual Studio allow for side by side installations. This keeps each version separate but also allows for a lot more flexibility. The concept of “release channels” started to be used at this point. Publicly available channels for the released versions which are available to anybody but also internal Microsoft build channels for internal testing before release. This can be seen on various presentations etc. although the one I can think of recently does not appear to be available on YouTube.

Not only does the “channels” model allow for different major versions but also different SKUs of the same version to be installed side by side. There are currently 3 SKUs of Visual Studio for each version; Community, Professional and Enterprise.

Why point this out now? Well with the imminent release of Visual Studio 2022 in early November you may be cautious to install the new version for concern of impacting your day to day version required for your job. With any new versions there is always a point to be careful but if you’re interested in looking a the new functionality coming out then give it a go. Obviously I take no responsibility if something goes wrong! However over the years I have run the following versions side by side in various combinations without any issue; 2017, 2017 preview, 2019, 2019 preview and 2022 preview. So I for one will be installing 2022 when it becomes Generally Available without concern to allow for investigating and using the newer tech.

Any thoughts then let me know on Twitter @WestDiscGolf.