Microsoft has released the Release Candidate (RC) for their third update to Visual Studio 2015 (VS2015) and Microsoft’s John Montgomery has provided a brief summary of what that entails. One of the big items is the removal of the telemetry code that was previouslyinserted into C++ programs by default. (Based on testing VS2015 Update 3 RC on a Windows Server 2012 R2 VM.)
Mobile developers will find that Updates 9 & 10 for Tools for Apache Cordova are included. Cordova 6.1.1 is the default version for new projects with Cordova 5.X or later required to add plugins.
Edit-and-Continue support on C++ has been improved, including when FASTLINK is enabled. C++ developers will also note that some performance regression errors introduced in Update 2 have been corrected for this release. Swappable traits from a C++17 working paper have been implemented. Clang 3.8 has been integrated, but will still show as Clang 3.7 in project properties.
Interestingly (given that this is the 3 rd Update), all user account and licensing operations are now transmitted over HTTPS. According to Microsoft, product activation for VS2015 should be better overall. Similarly those writing Universal Windows apps for submission to the Windows Store, you can associate your submission with Azure Active Directory credentials for reduce the number of future sign-ins required.
There are several additional details for this new release that are detailed in the release notes and on the known issues page. Update 3 RC can be downloaded from Microsoft now, and includes both full copies of VS2015 with Update 3 RC applied as well as a web updater.
This update does ship with a “go-live” license which means that it can be used in production environments and an upgrade path from RC to Release is supported. However keep in mind that as this is not the final release, it probably should not be installed on critical production environments.