Microsoft claims that the Visual Studio 2017 installation is faster and uses less space than previous versions, and I think they’re right. The basic approach is to install only the bare bones initially and then make you install things that you need as you go along. It seems to be a reasonably effective approach.
To install Visual Studio 2017 Community (the free edition), follow these steps:
- Go to the download page and click the Free Download button. That downloads an executable that’s about 1 MB.
- Double-click the executable and let it do its thing. It will download and install the bare bones Visual Studio environment. This takes around 600 MB so it will take a few minutes. If you have a fast internet connection, it’s relatively quick. When it’s done, it will launch Visual Studio 2017.
- If you want to pin Visual Studio 2017 to the Start menu or taskbar, click on the Start menu (in the lower left corner of your screen) and type “Visual Studio 2017.” When you see Visual Studio 2017, right-click it and select Pin To Start or Pin To Taskbar.
- To install project templates, do this:
- Press Ctrl+Shift+N or open the File menu’s New submenu and select Project to start a new project.
- On the New Project dialog you’ll notice that the only template that is installed is a blank solution. At the bottom of the template list on the left, click the Open Visual Studio Installer link. When the UAC dialog asks you if you want to allow the installer to modify your system, click Yes.
- Click on the kinds of templates that you want to install. I installed .NET Desktop Development. That includes Windows Forms and WPF projects in C# and Visual Basic. It takes around 2.08 GB.
- After you make your selections, click the Modify button in the lower right corner. (A particularly bad name for this button. It’s the only button available, however, so eventually you have to stop looking for an Install button and click it to see what it does.)
- Wait. Depending on which templates you selected, this could take a while. If you install everything, it adds up to around 82.58 GB.
- After you install the new templates, the installer will need to reboot your system.
As in other recent versions, Visual Studio 2017 requires you to have a free developers account to run.
In every release, Microsoft adds lots of new features to try to convince you that it’s worth moving to the new version. A small sample of the features (some new and some not) include:
- IDE support for English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.
- Faster, smaller installation of Visual Studio.
- Data science and analytics
- Data: SQL Server, Azure Data Lake, Hadoop, …
- Cross platform (Xamarin): Windows, Android, iOS, Linux, macOS
- Games: C++, DirectX, Unreal, Cocos2d
- More games: 2D and 3D games with Unity
Here are some links where you can get more information:
- Visual Studio 2017 RC review: a look at what’s new and improved
- Visual Studio 2017 Product Family System Requirements
- Visual Studio 2017 Release Notes
- Visual Studio 2017 Platform Targeting and Compatibility
I’ll still stick with Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition for most of my posts because anything I write in that should be forward compatible with newer versions of Visual Studio, but you should download the new version and start playing with it.
If you find things that you particularly like or dislike, post then in comments below. (If you find problems, report them to Microsoft.)