After promising an Arm64 desktop device “focused on developers” last month at Microsoft Build 2022 conference, Microsoft announced Tuesday the release of the Visual Studio 2022 17.3 Preview 2. As Visual Studio Senior Program Manager Mark Downie notes in the blog post detailing the launch, it will be available as a native Arm64 application on Windows 11, which will be the first version of Visual Studio to natively support building and debugging Arm64 apps on Arm-based processors.

“Our key goal with this preview is to introduce and stabilize the most popular Workloads used by developers who are building apps that run on Arm64, and to gather feedback from the community to help us prioritize additional experiences and Workloads as we work toward General Availability (GA) later this year,” Downie says. “We’re thrilled to join our Windows, .NET, and C++ partners in building a vibrant Arm64 developer toolchain. Today we deliver the latest version of Visual Studio that significantly reduces the dependence on x64 emulation. While the capabilities of the x64 emulator have expanded, we know that the very best Arm developer experiences will be supported by tools that run natively on Arm64.”

As of now, Microsoft will only enable a few Workloads in the first preview for Arm64, noting that “Arm64 development is a long-term investment.” Nonetheless, the company assures that its work will be enough to make Windows 11 Arm64 helpful for Arm64 developers. In the blog, Downie outlines the Workloads enabled that will be generally available at the end of the calendar year:

  • Desktop development with C++ (for MSBuild-based projects)
  • .NET desktop development (WinForms, WPF) using both .NET Framework, and modern .NET.
  • NET and Web development

“.NET 6 has had native support for Arm64 from day one, and this release extends native Arm64 support for the .NET Framework in the form of .NET Framework 4.8.1 runtime and SDK,” adds Downie. “You can now build managed desktop applications (Windows Forms and WPF) using both .NET 6+ and .NET Framework 4.8.1.”

.NET Framework 4.8.1 will be in the upcoming major update for Windows 11 by the end of 2022 but will also be made available for the previous operating systems at an unspecified date in the future. In addition, Microsoft promises that the following previews will add support for Windows App SDK, .NET MAUI, and Universal Windows Platform.

For those interested in installing the new native Arm version of Visual Studio 2022 for Windows, it is important to note that you need to uninstall the previous version of Visual Studio first. After that, you can visit the Visual Studio website, where you’ll find the installer for the x64 version.

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