Benefits of Updating Visual Studio
The kind of improvements you can expect:
- Faster compilation – If an edit-compile-test cycle is short, developers do not lose their train of thought and can stay focused on the problem at hand.
- Better code browsing – Developers often spend more time navigating, reading and understanding existing code than writing new code. Modern IDEs can make that more efficient and thus help you get a task done in less time.
- Better code authoring – Autocomplete, suggestions, refactoring tools, syntax check and static analysis while you write all help you to write better code faster and with fewer bugs.
- Better debugging – Diagnosing bugs is a big part of every non-trivial software development. A good IDE integrated debugger can make that much easier.
- Modern C++ – New language features allow more high-level constructs that lead to more elegant, more reusable and less error prone code.
All of these items help productivity and thus free up resources to increase the quality of your software or to add more functionality to it. The last three versions of Visual Studio have all brought numerous changes in each of these categories. Most of them integrate seamlessly into the workflow without having to first learn how to use them. The table below shows the highlights that we consider most valuable and that together form a good argument for updating.
What's in it for us?
The sooner our customers, i.e. you, update their compilers, the sooner we can take full advantage of new language features (because we can stop supporting older Visual Studio versions). We can spend more time on adding value to our products because we save resources on maintaining support for older compilers.
VS 2015Incremental linking works more often without automatically falling back to full relinking.
Faster overall linking → 5axcore.dll full linking ~2X faster than with VS 2013.
VS 2019IncrediBuild is integrated and lets you use up to 16 cores in parallel while compiling without additional cost.
Faster overall linking → 5axcore.dll full linking ~6X faster than with VS 2013.
Better code browsing
VS 2019Quickinfo on mouse hover over closing braces.
Better “Find in files” (ability to group and filter the results).
VS 2017Full C++14 and C++17 compliance (with the latest update).
The choice between C++ and other languages used to be the choice between efficiency and productivity. Newer IDEs, compilers and language features aim to close the productivity gap without sacrificing efficiency.
Using newer compiler versions
- Gives access to better productivity features in the IDE
- Lets you use modern language and standard library features
- Improves onboarding of new developers, because they have often already used newer tools
In today’s competitive software industry it is important to take easy wins. Updating Visual Studio is one of them.