Fresh releases of TypeScript and Visual Studio 2017 for Mac round out November

BigInt and .NET Core 2.2 support? Oh Microsoft, you spoil us!

TypeScript is an open source project that lets you code in a superset of JavaScript

On the eve of Microsoft's big developer shindig, or rather virtual developer shindig, Connect(); a fresh version of TypeScript has been released, along with an update for Visual Studio users who like their OS Apple-flavoured.

TypeScript 3.2

Just squeaking in before the expiration of the self-imposed November deadline comes version 3.2 of the open-source programming language TypeScript.

TypeScript is an extension of JavaScript that supports static types and is aimed at those supporting sprawling JavaScript applications (or just devs who like to see their source festooned with declarations).

Strongly typed languages force the programmer to exercise a bit of thought when dealing with variables. For example, trying to add a number and a text string would cause a strongly typed compiler to choke up an error, whereas vanilla JavaScript would just spit out a string, which may not have been the intent.

TypeScript works by taking TypeScript source, replete with all its declarations, and emitting pristine JavaScript, shorn of TypeScript's fripperies.

As with previous releases, 3.2 gives and takes away, so needs a bit of thought before blithely installing it.

In terms of giving, TypeScript 3.2 introduces support for arbitrarily large integers via the primitive type bigint. Microsoft warned that TypeScript will (correctly) throw a wobbly if devs attempt to mix number and bigint types.

Stricter checking for bind, call and apply also makes an appearance along with the ability to resolve tsconfig.json files from node_modules without unwieldy clambering around parent directories. TypeScript 3.2 also now permits object spreads on generics and models them using intersections.

The team has also introduced what it calls "quality of life improvements" to editors. TypeScript now produces suggestions for most variables and parameters that would have been reported as having implicit any types and a quick fix to automatically infer the type.

However, some parameters no longer accept null, or accept something a bit more specific based on the type. The wheelDelta properties are also gone, having been previously deprecated and the team warned that some WebKit-specific properties are next on the chopping block.

We took the release for a spin and, to be frank, found little to alarm us (although the bigint support and editor tweaks are very welcome), which is how things should be. Version 3.3 is due some time in January 2019. We remain hopeful that the request for error messages to be reported in haiku form makes it in because, well, we like a bit of whimsy every now and then.

Visual Studio 2017 7.7 for Mac

The oddly named Visual Studio for Mac (which bears little resemblance to its Windows sibling) received a version bump to 7.7, following the August release of 7.6. Microsoft has lobbed out updates for the tool at a ferocious rate, getting to 7.6.11 before ticking over to 7.7.

Running as a macOS app, with its roots in Xamarin Studio, the IDE allows devs to target the likes of Android, iOS, tvOS and watchOS, as well as Mac desktop apps. Naturally .NET Core and ASP.NET Core apps are also supported.

.NET Core is the headliner for this release, with .NET Core 2.2 support for those brave souls happy to install the preview SDK. 2.2 co-exists with 2.1, so pointing a project at the new framework is a simple case of selecting the appropriate target framework to get access to the new toys of the latest and greatest.

The beating with the Azure stick continues as VS for Mac gains support for Azure Functions 2.0. Microsoft is jolly excited about the new Azure tooling and keen for devs to use the technology to build scalable, serverless apps by running small chunks of their code in the cloud to spread workload.

Other improvements in this release include tweaks to Intellisense, publishing ASP.NET Core projects to a specific folder rather than Azure and the performance boost to Xamarin.Android builds already seen in the Windows incarnation of the tool. ®

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