Visual Studio 2017 15.6 preview release 2, this version update includes macOS environment configuration, iOS WiFi deployment, real-time XAML preview in the Remoting iOS simulator, and more.
Automatic macOS Provisioning
Building iOS apps with Visual Studio on Windows just got even easier with a brand new feature called automatic macOS provisioning. Rather than manually maintaining a Mac build machine, all you need to do is connect to the Mac, and we’ll handle the heavy lifting of installing and configuring your build machine with the correct Xamarin.iOS and Mono bits, all from Visual Studio.
Below, you can see the complete flow of connecting to a brand new Mac with only Xcode installed:
iOS WiFi Deployment
The Remoted iOS Simulator, which allows developers to test and debug iOS apps entirely in Visual Studio on Windows, is now available to all editions of Visual Studio (as of version 15.5), including the free Community Edition! The simulator supports functionality such as location simulation, rotation, gestures, and even includes functionality that the iOS simulator on Mac does not, like multi-touch. This provides a great simulator experience for developers building iOS apps on Windows, but what about devices?
With Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6, you can now deploy your iOS apps over the network with WiFi deployment, no cables required! After setting up a wireless device in Xcode, it shows up in Visual Studio just like a normal deploy target.
Live XAML Previewing with the iOS Simulator
The Xamarin Live Player enables developers to continuously deploy, test, and debug their apps using just Visual Studio and an iOS or Android device. Visual Studio 2017 version 15.5 added support to preview real-time XAML changes directly in the Android emulator without requiring a recompile or redeploy. This release brings that functionality to the Remoted iOS Simulator for Windows.
To use this feature, select an iOS simulator from the deployment targets dropdown and choose Live Run Current View using the context menu, keyboard shortcut, or the banner at the top of each XAML file.
Machine Learning with CoreML
Visual Studio 2017 version 15.6 also adds support for the CoreML framework that was introduced in iOS 11. With this framework, iOS apps can take advantage of trained machine learning models to perform tasks using the CoreML framework.