VS2008 still Crappy?

Posted: January 8, 2008 in Uncategorized

Ok, now that I have grabbed your attention with that cheesy title, let me assure you that I personally DO NOT think its a crappy tool. No sir. I have been in the Microsoft Camp for most of my career, with a brief stint in the Sybase camp as a Powerbuilder developer. Like Scott Hanselman once said, Microsoft indirectly pays my mortgage. I have been with Visual Interdev and Visual Studio 2001 through 2008.

VS in 2008 has come a long way. New features like JavaScript intellisense and better debugging capabilities are welcome enhancements. I have been able to debug JavaScript even in Visual Interdev, although not consistently. Stop and debugger were my friends then. The new enhancements may not be revolutionary but are evolutionary and help developers in their productivity. The integration of so called writing unit tests from VS is good to see but leaves a lot to be desired. It’s no TestDriven.Net.

Sidu’s rant about the dialog that pops up with you hit ctrl-tab is noteworthy. It is unfortunate that he called VS2008 crappy and it does not do justice to his intelligence. Sidu has far more experience using multiple development platforms than I do and is better equipped to make comparative comments. However, I am appalled by some of the racist comments his post attracted. Why does stuff like this descend into religious wars? Beats me. The dialog in question sports a snapshot of the open windows as you ctrl-tab through them. I am not sure if this is really useful. If one of the windows that is open is an aspx page in design mode, the snapshot does not render. Like I said earlier, you can’t read the code, you cant view the design mode window. So what purpose is the snapshot?

You have to understand that VS is an eco-system. Microsoft certainly has resources to include every possible widget a developer would need. A pluggable architecture better serves everyone. The success of TestDriven.net proves the point. That Microsoft pursued TestDriven.net with a seize and desist order is sad. Look at the flourishing 3rd party control suites and the companies that develop them. Infragistics and Telerik (my favorite) owe their existence to the fact that Microsoft did not devote all their energy in developing every possible control a developer may need but in developing an architecture that can be built uopn. It may not be perfect, but it sure is not easy and you have agree that Microsoft does a commendable job. VS has multiple languages, web and winforms development to contend with. Yes it’s not free but you really don’t need to “get-out” of the IDE to create a config file, an aspx file, an XML document, a JavaScript file, and on and on.

You may argue that to know what you are missing, you have to know what is out there. If you are like the proverbial frog in the well, your world is small. However, slinging mud or trashing an alternate IDE or development tool or platform serves no purpose. You have to realize that code is just one small piece of the software system although it is the heart and brains of the system. But a software system is more than the code that runs. If you have any doubt listen to Scott and Dan Appleman discuss software architecture in this episode of Hanselminutes.

Here is my appeal. If you think we .Net developers are frogs in the well, show us the way out. Show us what is better outside the well. Please do not slander or sling mud. We are all in it together. Like religions software platforms are different and have their strengths and weakness. Together we can make it better and learn from one another.

Let’s build something better that will transcend platform wars and help the customer.

kick it on DotNetKicks.com

Comments
  1. Sidu says:

    My friend, you are right as always. I don’t know what I was thinking when I wrote that post with a stupidly provocative title – I sometimes forget that there are a lot of people who end up reading my stuff thanks to it being on ThoughtBlogs.

    I’m too lazy to do an organised post about IDE features (and I committed to doing so in a moment of frustration :-)), but now that I’m doing a lot of .Net, I can easily do a post of one or two ReSharper features a day, with screenshots as and when I come across them. Possibly also a comparison with similar behaviour in IntelliJ and Eclipse, if it is warranted.

    Do you think that would be useful?

  2. Sidu,
    Thanks for your comment. You can’t back out now. I am expecting a White Paper from you ;-)

    Yes, a feature highlight with screenshots from the IDEs you use and highlighting the best feature in a competing IDE is definetly educational and will help devs like me to see what better things are out there. With enough geeks and alpha geeks, like you, talking about these features, we will hopefully see improvements in VS. Else I might just be convinced to jump ship ;-)

  3. Re: Frog in the well and alternatives

    “If you think we .Net developers are frogs in the well, show us the way out. Show us what is better outside the well. Please do not slander or sling mud. We are all in it together. Like religions software platforms are different and have their strengths and weakness. Together we can make it better and learn from one another.”

    Raison d’etre for the ALT.NET community – try not to judge it by the Yahoo mail list… ;-)

    http://altnetpedia.com

  4. Sidu says:

    My first post on the topic is out. Please let me know what you think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s