Visual Studio 2005 – Some Feedback

I hate Futuritis. It’s only the Microsoft Hype Machine[tm] at work. Sorry, but that’s the truth.
However, I could not resist the temptation to try out Visual Studio 2005, with all I heard about it. This post is going to be feedback only for the guys at Microsoft, since I understand they listen and want it.

What I liked

  • I could place the Output window as a document tab. That’s great because I always had to stretch the dockable window’s frame to see more. Now I can just have it stay as a document.
    All I need to do now is be able to separate output windows (one for the Build output as a document tab, one for the Debug output as a dockable window).
  • MSBuild is great. I haven’t even begun exploring it…
  • Turning the form into partial classes – one for design and one for other code? Splendid!
  • Most refactoring work is done in good taste. The colors hurt your eyes a bit, but it’s not that bad. Preview window rocks.
  • The Text Editor’s Formatting – I love the part when I can decide on my standards and make Visual Studio adhere to them (where to place spaces, newline before braces, etc.).
  • Finally someone listened to me (or maybe I’m taking too much credit here), and they placed an option to not collapse regions when opening a new file! Hallelujah!

What I didn’t like

  • They killed the Start Page! Nooooooooooo…….
  • Why oh why do you change the key settings? At least let me have a “Classic” keyboard scheme.
  • I don’t know if this is a mistake or not, but the icons for “View Code”, “View Designer”, “Refresh”, etc. in the Solution Explorer are now reversed. What the fudge?!
  • The Expansions Snippet Interface is uncomfortable (I’m talking about what you get when you press Ctrl+R,X). The inline colors are horrible and the inline interface isn’t fluent.
  • My biggest gripe is the Error List. It’s uncomfortable, looks bad, doesn’t clean up between Makes/Builds, doesn’t show correct location of error at times, isn’t ordered in the same order as the errors were encountered in the build and all in all quite bad. I had to resort to using the Build Output window.
  • Am I the only one who expected Microsoft to stop showing missing Xml Comments as Warnings?
  • Strong Name Keys are now a command line switch. This appears as a warning if you use it as an attribute from AssemblyInfo.cs. Why? It’s more flexible (using the same key for many files via a linked file, for instance). It’s not a warning. Information at best.
  • Bug or Feature? I clicked on the checkbox to create a separate directory for the solution and project and they both are placed in the same directory – the project’s.
  • The Text Editor lets you scroll below the bottom line until the last line is on the top of it. There’s nothing there! Why do you let me scroll there?

[ Update: Forgot to mention this, and I thought it was obvious, but this is my own personal opinion. You can tell me you think I’m wrong, but don’t tell me I am wrong, because in my mind’s eye, I am right. That’s the meaning of different opinions. ]

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12 thoughts on “Visual Studio 2005 – Some Feedback

  1. "The Text Editor lets you scroll below the bottom line until the last line is on the top of it. There’s nothing there! Why do you let me scroll there?"

    Perhaps because some of us are really damn tired of looking at the bottom of our screens all day. I *always* add a full screen of whitespace to the end of my files so I can keep the newest line in the center of the screen. This keeps my head in a comfortable and normal upright position.

  2. kevin-

    Said it before and I’ll say it again. You want to add a new feature that breaks compatability because you think it’s easier to use? Make it optional so that I could cancel it.

  3. As someone that spends a lot of time with code on a projector, the scroll past the bottom line is a nice feature. To me at least.

    I fail to see how it breaks compatability with anything.

  4. Phil-

    Breaking compatability is not just for code, you know. It’s also for UI. If I used to scroll all the way to the bottom and the whole screen was full of code in VS2003 and now I get an empty screen and I start to search for what I did wrong, that’s not very friendly and breaks ‘compatability to the user’, if you wish to define it that way.

  5. I personally like that change, as I also tend to add white space at the end of all my code so I don’t have to keep scrolling down if I’m working near the bottom of the file and need to reference code that is below my new code (but got pushed beneath the viewable area).

    I completely understand wanting a option for this though. If I want to have the new way, I can completely understand if someone else wants to have the old way.

  6. That’s really stretching the definition of compatability almost to uselessness. It’s a change to the existing interaction model. I do agree that more control over the UI configuration is warranted. VS has always been behind the curve is this respect.

  7. everyone, please don’t stretch or change the definition of compatibility in any way. I’m quite comfortable with the existing definition, and changing that would make the new compatibility incompatible with my old compatibility, which would mean that I’m incompatible with whatever the hell it was we were talking about.

  8. Why do you need a start page. By removing it (in tools -> options) in VS 2003, you will get VS starting 10 times faster. And recent projects list you can still get through file -> recent projects.

  9. Anatoly-

    I love having a front page for my working environment. That way I could just start VS and click on the project I want to work with. Quite useful, I think.
    If they added some things to it (maybe something related to VSTS), it could even be more useful.

    If it loads at 10% the time without the Start Page, how about making it work faster instead of totally removing it?

    Anyway, I come again to the same point I made before. You want it out? Okay. Just let me put it back in. 90% of the users may want it out, but apparently, I’m in the remaining 10%.

  10. "That way I could just start VS and click on the project I want to work with"

    Omer, you miss the point. You can do just the same opening empty environment and do file -> recent projects – you get the same list.

    "If it loads at 10% the time without the Start Page, how about making it work faster instead of totally removing it?"

    Because start page loads additional ^iexplorer^ instance in memory, and empty environment does not.

    Again you have the same list through file -> recent projects, so you have it – it is not removed.

  11. > The Text Editor lets you scroll below the bottom line until the last line is on the top of it. There’s nothing there! Why do you let me scroll there?

    There’s good reasons. One was already mentioned. The other is if you have a autohide window or similar blocking the editor but youd like to be able to see the last lines without changing window settings and so on.

    I also bet it’s possible to make the start page same as in IE etc web browsers, optional.

  12. Ummm…. its not breaking compatability to be able to scroll past the last line. It was that way in VS6.0, and they removed it in 7.0 and 7.1. Pissed me right off they did.

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