Microsoft is making it easier for developers to set up and use Windows dev machines. A new Dev Home section of Windows 11 is available in preview today and includes the ability to set up development environments for machines that will link to GitHub and connect to relevant repos, install tools and packages, and much more.
“Life as a developer involves constantly juggling manual dev machine set up with too many clicks, multiple tool sign-ins, navigating sub-optimal filesystem performance and context switching, and we know that these disruptions can significantly impact your productivity,” admits Windows chief Panos Panay.
Dev Home utilizes Microsoft’s Windows Package Manager (winget) to generate a configuration file to install the apps, tools, and packages that developers need. It also includes the ability to configure coding environments in the cloud using Microsoft Dev Box and GitHub Codespaces.
Microsoft has also created Dev Drive inside Dev Home, a new storage volume that’s customized for developers and uses Microsoft’s latest Resilient File System (ReFS) alongside a performance mode for Microsoft Defender that will improve build times for heavy I/O operations by up to 30 percent. “The new performance mode is more secure for your workloads than folder or process exclusions, providing an ultimate solution to balance security with performance,” says Panay. Developers can add Dev Drive options to their environment setup for new Windows dev machines.
Finally, Dev Home is also designed to allow developers to get a quick overview of the projects they’re working on through GitHub widgets that surface GitHub issues and pull requests. Microsoft is working with the Xbox team to add the GDK to Dev Home for game developers, and custom-built extensions for Dev Home will also be supported.