Visual Studio extensions can now support Arm64 devices
Microsoft is greatly expanding its efforts to support Arm64-based devices, and today the company has announced you can now build Visual Studio extensions with support for Arm64. Earlier this year, Microsoft announced its intention to offer a fully Arm64-compatible developer toolchain, including an Arm version of Visual Studio, which is currently available in preview with version 17.4. There’s also Project Volterra, an Arm-based development machine which we know very little about.
Now, in addition to building Visual Studio itself for Arm64 processors – such as the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 – Microsoft is making it possible for developers to build their own Visual Studio extensions that are also native to that architecture. When creating or updating an extension, developers need to add the correct ProductArchitecture tag to the VSIX manifest to target Arm64 versions of Visual Studio, then include Arm64 as a platform target when building the package. You’ll need the latest version of the VS SDK Build Tools for this to work, and you may also may need to make some changes to existing extensions, depending on how they’re currently built.
You can also publish the Arm64 version of an extension to the Visual Studio Marketplace, and even if you already have a version targeting AMD64, you can add the Arm64 version in the same listing, so users can download the appropriate version for their machine easily. For extensions that already have separate listings for AMD64 and Arm64, Microsoft is working on making it possible to merge the listings into one.
Microsoft has confirmed that Visual Studio 2022 17.4 will be the first version to officially support Arm64, and it should be available at some point in November. Microsoft’s roadmap states that new minor updates should happen every three months, and version 17.3 was released in early August. This should give developers time to update their extensions for Arm64 ahead of general availability. For now, if you’re curious, Visual Studio 17.4 Preview 2.1 was released earlier this week for those that want to try it out.