Visual Studio 2011: Developers' first reactions

Now in developer preview, the flagship Microsoft IDE promises a better UI, code review, and HTML5 support

With Microsoft readying a beta version of Visual Studio 11, the next major upgrade to the company's IDE, developers are interested in HTML5 backing as well as in basic functional fixes. Visual Studio 11, available as a developer preview since last month, is set to feature accommodations for the upcoming Windows 8 OS, as well as the Windows Azure cloud computing platform, along with capabilities such as code cloning and enhanced unit testing. No release date is yet scheduled.

"I do like the HTML5 stuff they're showing and also some of the intelligence enhancements they have for CSS [Cascading Style Sheets] 3," says Joel Padot, a developer at Florida Farm Bureau Insurance. His company is looking at HTML5 and Web applications as way to support mobile devices. (HTML5 features are planned for the HTML editor in Visual Studio 11.) Padot also praised code review capabilities planned for the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server application lifecycle management server.

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But Microsoft's IDE could use some basic functional improvements, says Funmi Bajomo, a software developer at Ledge Light Technologies, which does custom software development: "Visual Studio 2010 has a tendency to freeze a lot. You have to reset your computer quite often to get it to run properly." She hopes Visual Studio 11 fixes that issue.

Bajomo also questions Visual Studio's pricing and upgrade cycle. Her company spent more than $10,000 for five developers to use the current version, which was released in April 2010. Microsoft releases a new version about every two years. "In this economy, do we really want to be asked to actually pay for another version so soon?" she asks rhetorically.

Stacy Shaw, a developer at aerospace firm Triumph Structures, is happy about the promised deeper tie-ins between Visual Studio 11 and Microsoft SharePoint collaboration platform: "I think it's going to be a lot easier to develop." Shaw also is looking forward to better ease-of-use in Visual Studio 11 and wants better compliance with standards such as HTML5 and CSS.

Ease-of-use is one of Microsoft's focus areas, says Cameron Skinner, Microsoft's general manager for Visual Studio Ultimate. "How do we just remove some of the complexities in the environment itself and keep you guys focused on the job at hand?" is the question Microsoft's developers were asked to address. Thus, Visual Studio 11 requires fewer tool bars and tool windows to get a job done, he says.

This article, "Visual Studio 2011: Developers' first reactions," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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