Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2022 17.3 Preview 2 today, and it’s the first version of Visual Studio to run natively on Arm devices running Windows 11. Microsoft announced an Arm version of Visual Studio at Build last month, and now, curious developers can try it for themselves. This is a big step in enabling developers to both develop and test apps on Arm64 devices.
The company notes that enabling development on Arm64 is a long journey, so it’s prioritizing the most important workloads for developers with these devices. Right now, Visual Studio will support workload for creating desktop apps with C++ and MSBuild-based projects. This release includes a new MSVC toolset that allows the compilers to run natively on Arm64, delivering improved performance.
For managed developers using .NET, Microsoft is supporting development using .NET 6, but also the more traditional .NET Framework 4.8.1, so you can build Arm64 apps using both of these technologies. This specifically works for Windows Forms and WPF apps, as well as web apps that use .NET.
Again, these are what Microsoft considers priority workloads, and Microsoft says they will be generally available by the end of the year. However, future previews will also add support for the Windows App SDK, .NET MAUI, and UWP, so the plan is to eventually support the entire Windows development scene on Arm64 devices.
With this update to Visual Studio, Microsoft seems to really be taking Arm development on Windows 11 seriously. The company announced a full native Arm development toolchain at this year’s Build, and it hasn’t taken too long to deliver. Hopefully, we’ll also hear more about Project Volterra soon. That’s going to be a device wholly dedicated to Arm development, but details of its specs are still scarce.
To install the native Arm version of Visual Studio 2022 for Windows, you can download it from the Visual Studio website, and it’s the same installer used for the x64 version. However, if you have a previous version installed, you’ll need to remove it completely in order to install the Arm64 variant.