19 March 2010

Visual Studio 2010 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As I reflect on another week gone by, I have to say I like the “spring forward” for DST.  It’s wonderful to be able to leave the office and walk back to my hotel room while the sun is still out.  Of course it makes getting up in the mornings a little harder, but it’s a tradeoff I’m happy with.
image_thumb_1_31B565A2This was an exciting week.  I attended a preview event of the Visual Studio  2010 Launch, presented by Microsoft on site for our benefit.  Jason Zander himself, the General Manager for Visual Studio (i.e. the guy who “owns” the Visual Studio product line), was there to present for us and get us excited!  I’ve been playing with Studio a little bit, especially on my Netbook.  Now that the great Launch event is almost upon us, I’ve had some time to reflect on the product.  There’s good and not so good as you’d expect, but by far, the good outweigh anything else.  Nevertheless, here are my thoughts, what I’m excited about and wish list items I’d like to see for the next version.  This is of course very far from a complete list, but just my quick thoughts.
  • IntelliTrace – Think DVR for your code testing.  This is the single most awesome new feature in the product in my mind.  Giving testers the ability to record their testing sessions both visually and data wise and then making it possible for developers to come back and spin up a VM on demand, deploy all the proper code and run the same steps as the tester for the developer to see, debug and fix is… well AWESOME!!!
  • Import/Export Debug Breakpoints – It’s a little thing, but if you’ve ever tried to collaborate with another developer on code and where to set a breakpoint, you’ll know what I’m talking about.  This is a nifty little time saver.
  • Linq2SP – Well, the Linq is everywhere and now it’s in SharePoint too!
  • So if you’ve heard the rumors about SharePoint Foundation 2010 on Windows 7/Vista for a better developer story, then this is even better.  Jay Schmelzer confirmed for us that SharePoint Server 2010 will ALSO be installable on Windows 7/Vista!
  • Optional Parameters for C# 4.0.  OK, so this one’s just my pet peeve, but ever since I first switched to C# from C/C++, I’ve been waiting for optional parameters.  Finally!
  • Seems to have decent performance.  The operative word here is *seems*.  The demos were given on IBM Thinkpads which, isn’t the most awesome hardware around for demos, but it appeared to perform pretty well.  I would recommend to Microsoft that they get some decent demo laptops though.  You want things to be snappy in a demo.
  • Tracepoints – The ability to collect predefined data at given trace points within the application’s execution cycle, will be very useful.  The functionality is mostly self created for developers at this point.  Having the IDE take care of that for us, will be a big help.
  • The Dependency Graph Generator will not identify reflection based calls.  That means once you leave the reservation, your calls aren’t going to make it into the DGML that’s generated.  I have this listed as a “bad”, but in all honesty, this is probably in line with anyone’s reasonable expectations of such a tool.
  • TFS is a must.  If you thought you could live without TFS before, this release ties so closely to TFS 2010 that it would be almost impossible to not have it.  Can you say licensing?
  • No run time, in-line variable/code correction while in IntelliTrace.  This means you get to debug and work with a COPY IN TIME of the code that was running on the server when the bug was found.  Once you fixed the bug in that COPY of the code, you’d have to find a way to merge it forward into the current code set.  This is definitely one for my wish list for the next version.
  • No Remote SharePoint server development or debugging.  This one will probably bite us a couple of times.  Another one for my wish list.  It would be awesome if you could attach to code on a remote server and debug it.
  • 32 bit.  So Visual Studio is 32 bit, not 64 bit.  It provides complete support for developing and targeting 64 bit apps, but is itself not 64 bit.  That’s not a big deal in my mind and I believe it’ll be the case in the next rev.  It’s not really an “ugly”, at least not if you compare it to demos in VB.NET given to a developer centric audience in order to show off a developer tool!  I’m still chuckling about that one.
Overall I’m super excited about the upcoming release.  I can’t wait to get the RTM bits on my machine.  More than anything, I’m already thinking through how TFS would play into Best Practices for Application Lifecycle Management, Change Management and Quality Control processes for large scale enterprises in the future.  Who knows.  Maybe my book will have something about it…


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