Visual Studio 2012

I installed Visual Studio 2012 about two weeks ago and I've been spending time experimenting with it whenever possible. I have to admit I had more than a few doubts about VS2012 going in. I disliked how Microsoft removed all colors from everything in the UI and the accents like the ALL CAP menus and the use of strings of colon characters for emphasis. I have no idea who made some of these design decisions but they were NOT made with input from the current user base regardless of Microsoft's protests to the contrary. When the beta debuted a couple months back the overwhelming top request from developers was to fix the monochrome color scheme. Microsoft went a little way towards resolving that issue by adding just a splash of color to some of the glyphs (aka icons) but the UI is still terribly bland. The first thing I did after installing was to switch to the Dark color theme. It took me a little while to get use to it but I'm liking it quite a lot now. It's very easy on the eyes and the small color additions made to the glyphs really pop well in that theme.

Here's a few things I've noticed so far, for good or bad.

  • Good

  • Dark color theme.

  • File preview tab.
  • XAML designer is more responsive.
  • VS components typically use asynchronous calls now preventing UI blocks.
  • Project load times seem to be improved.
  • Improvements in the Solution Explorer including my favorite the "Collapse All" button (finally).

  • Bad

  • Bland monochrome color palette.

  • ALL CAP menus. Really? Come on!
  • Using ChUI tactics like strings of colon characters for visual emphasis. It's the 21st century now guys.
  • Team Explorer tries to present too much in too small of an area, e.g. I'm finding checking in pending files more difficult in VS2012 than in VS2010.

I'm slowly getting used to this new IDE and, reservations aside, I'm sure I'll be using it exclusively within the next couple months. That said I'm very bothered by the attitudes coming out of Microsoft these last few months. It seems like they're moving toward a culture similar to that of Apple, i.e. they've decided they know what's best for their customers and what they decide is what we'll all get regardless of whether or not we like it. If they keep going down the path they're going to find a tough road ahead. Visual Studio 2012 is good but, if Microsoft had listened better to its users, it could have been great. Pull your heads out of your collective asses up there MS. You've been doing a great job for a number of years (at least for us developers). Stop your backward slide before it becomes endemic.