Wednesday, April 26, 2006

VisualStudio ...oh my...

I've had Visual Studio installed on my machine for less than a month. Already, MSDN is completely broken. What kind of product can bork itself that quickly? I'd uninstall and reinstall, except that would require shutting down, installing the dvd drive, booting up, installing MSDN, shutting down, putting the spare battery back in, and booting up again. Given near universal internet access, I can live with msdn.microsoft.com. MSDN documentation is horribly organized and the search engine is for crap, but I would like _something_. No wonder Microsoft stock is moribund. What developer wants to waste time with this crap? It is embarrassing (for Microsoft) that I've had such better experiences with Sun's JDK and Eclipse. Sure, VS is faster, but what good is faster, when it doesn't work?

It isn't just MSDN that is broken. Every once in a while (I can't track down what triggers it), something goes wrong with my solution, and VS stops applying the defines! I have a common code-base that uses include links to be shared amongst 3 different projects within a common solution. Basically, there is the release build, the unit-tests (which need access to the internals), and a compact-framework build. There are a few parts of the main code that are either tweaked (for the unit tests) or disabled (for compact-framework). Everything will work like a dream until randomly my tests start failing because the #if block for the tests is getting skipped. Closing down VS and restarting it seems to fix the problem. It seems like there is some caching going on, and the cache management code doesn't realize that while it may be a common path, due to the defines, it isn't identical code. sigh.

Stuff like this is why they need to toss the VS code-base. Microsoft needs a new IDE targeting low-level coders. I don't need design surfaces. I just want a fast editor with debugging and basic refactoring support. Unfortunately, I'm fully aware that this is actually a great deal of work, but there is something just fundamentally wrong with VS as it is today.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi there,

it's a pure piece of crap; so far the only safe way i've found to run it is inside vmware (not vpc, thanks), so that if it crashes, i can go back to the latest snapshot and get back to work.

i'm done, fed up with ms crap, i'm going from a job in .net to another java and back to c++ next week; can't take any more of their stupidity.

cheers,

adri

1:37 AM  
Blogger E and J's Film Crew said...

while we're at it, can I get some of the eclipse and netbeans refactoring goodness too? And can they fix TFS/VC so that it does optimistic locking so that I can work on a plane? and maybe offer me help fixing compiler warnings like eclipse and netbeans do, rather than just offering to suppress them? and collaboration, those features of Netbeans that actually integrate IM, those would be nice...


Using VS'05 I do feel like we're about 18 months behind the java tool set and lagging.

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

do u have the ie 7 beta running on your machine. It what breaks my MSDN.

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Andy Pennell said...

I run VS 2005 24hrs a day on my machine for C++ editing/debugging. I have had maybe one hang, and no crashes. For me it is the most reliable VS ever. Is it perfect? of course not, but it is far from the steaming pile of crap these posters imply.

9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The caching should be tossed. That's the source of all the problems with both 2003 and 2005. I don't want caching. I can't believe that it would be THAT big of performance hit to toss it. Hell make it an option or something.

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have tried reinstalling to fix the help and after the second try I realized that it only looked through the helps, help by default? I have had several hangs as well but I run the compile with autosave so often I really haven't lost any work yet.

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A previous commenter said that Visual Studio is only 18 months behind the Java world's tools? Is he kidding?

One problem with MS has been the arrogantly obnoxious way in which they've ignored, or belittled, or deprecated almost every modest advance that the practice of software development has made outside their walls (while at the same time trying to ape the form if not the substance of many of them).
Unit testing, test-driven development, continuous integration, DETERMINISTIC build processes, and more, languish under this banner of misguided fumbling.

When the empty-headed posters went up in building 42 saying "FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS USE JUnit," while MS's answer for TDD and unit testing, both then and now, has been pretty much Sweep Crap All, followed by a tortured exercise in missing the point, I knew it was time to stop expecting a solution to come from that direction.

2:55 PM  
Blogger derek said...

I forgot to mention unit-testing. I spent how much money on Visual Studio Pro, and it still doesn't have basic unit-testing built in? It just hurts. I vastly prefer C# over Java, on pure language design grounds (structs, ease of integration with existing native code, ref/out parameters, foreach() syntax, 'override' keyword, unsigned integer types, ...) but the more I use VisualStudio for actual development, the more I miss Eclipse.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The IDE feels like it was released at a quality level of 75%. All the features are there, but especially the Visual Inheritance and usage of components in different projects of a solution is completely broken.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

Re: Microsoft needs a new IDE targeting low-level coders. I don't need design surfaces. I just want a fast editor with debugging and basic refactoring support.

Derek, I hear you, but please man, yet another text editor targeting low level coders is something we don't need. We as programmers are already working with hammers and chisels, we don't need to go back to the tar pits again do we?

How about raising the level of abstraction to get some real design tools in our industry, not just text editors or design surfaces. You don’t find too many mechanical engineers whipping out their protractors anymore, they all have graduated to CAD tools – something we don’t have in our industry. Maybe our time has come?

1:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we're at it, why is it necessary for me to buy a license for Visual Assist? As much as I love the product ( VS is unusable without it ), why isn't this in the default build of the IDE?

At least the install process is only 2 hours compared to VS.NET2003 which was about 4 on my machine.

That's progress, right?

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Sinclair said...

I've been developing with VS2005 for quite a while, and no probs here. I've bumped into a couple of occassions where it would "forget" to color my syntax, but other than that, it's been flawless and I've been spending 8-12 hours a day with it.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is hard for me to believe that anyone can run VS2005 for 24hrs a day for C++ projects without any notable problems. I use VS2005 for a mid size C++ project and boy Intellisense is a royal pain in the butt. It just stuck every now and then for infinite amount of time. I totally agree that this product has very low quality bar since I can repro the problems very consistently by just editing my header files. Althought I never thought I could live without intellisense and source code browsing but believe me I am much better off deleting that Intellisense dll. The only reason I use this crap is due to its integrated debugger.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And this is why I still pay the morgage with VS 6.0...

5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at msdn2.microsoft.com

12:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree: in my experience, using VS 2005 for C++ development is a bad idea. It’s just a shame that VS continues to decline. I was more productive with VS6, than with 2003, and more productive with 2003 than 2005 - really! Each version adds a couple bits of usefulness... and brings a bunch of sluggishness and bugs. VS 2005, how’s this for a slogan: Designed by and for executives. I swear each version adds a few ounces of usefulness and 100 pounds of crap. I don’t think it’s the developers fault; it’s a failure of management. Way to go Soma!

7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While the IDE may be crap, the 2005 C++ compiler itself is a big improvement over the previous versions.

I frankensteined the 2005 compiler with the VS6 libs. I use it to make ATL3/MFC42 components without all the MSVC80.DLL and manifests crap.

The trick is to use the April 2005 SDK for the include headers and VS6 for the libs.

I use vim with a tweaked syntax colorizer, ctags in lieu of intellisense, and CVS.

I don't need no [bleeping] IDE. Just give me a compiler that works and I'm happy.

12:57 AM  

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