I installed VS 2010 Beta 1 over the weekend and since it’s now in public beta I’m free to comment on it. To make a long story short, “It’s not done.”
Frankly, I don’t see that they have made much progress toward the litany of issues we’ve been raising over the last decade. They’ve completely re-written the UI so it’s no longer a Windows Forms application which means everything takes longer. My (informal) tests show that the UI performance is painfully slow in some cases. I expect that because it’s compiling .NET code like crazy behind the scenes. This behavior might be transitory—until the DLLs get swapped out which happens more often on RAM-stressed systems. I, for one have a 6GB 4 CPU system which is hammered as VS starts and still I have to wait for operations post initial startup.
Okay, it’s not fair to complain about performance at the beta stage. Performance is the last thing Microsoft worries about during development of an entirely new product. However, what disappoints me most is the fact that they have apparently made no effort to fix the issues I and many others brought up at the MVP summit last year and the years before that. IMHO, this was a golden opportunity to rework some of the troubling UI issues in the Server Explorer, the TableAdapter wizards and elsewhere but I expect they were pressed for time—given the bi-annual ship cycle they think is justified.
Yes, yes, there are “improvements” in the VB language so it can be more like C#. This makes it harder for those creating the new tools and toys to only write the examples in C#—which they keep doing despite repeated pleas from the VB.NET team.
Consider that I focus on data and reporting now-a-days so I could care less about the sexy UI spinning dialog features. It seems that more fundamental issues are also being left to be done—like 64-bit support. Thankfully, the new default is “X86” so we get 32-bit Edit and Continue (EAC) on 64-bit platforms but not 64-bit code.
Here is a list of issues that I discovered in my (albeit brief) examination of Beta 1. The annotations refer to an earlier release.
· Again, no BI project type is available. Does this mean developers attempting to work with existing Visual Studio 2008 SP1 BI projects will have to wait again while the two teams (Visual Studio and SQL Server) get in sync?
· I can’t tell if the ReportViewer report processor has been upgraded, but trying to import an RDL file from a 2008 BI project failed (again).
· Why does the “Name:” field default to “Microsoft”? I mentioned this last time as having some pretty serious copyright issues. This should default to blank or to the Windows username or some other user name, not “Microsoft”. If left as is, applications are tagged as copyright “Microsoft”. The MSDN help setup should also leverage this name as entered in the first part of the setup operation. <<Unchanged—still an issue>>
· I like the fact that setup did not waste my time or disk space showing pictures of grinning yuppies as it progressed through the steps. It looks more like a developer tool rather than a consumer tool (like Access). I cannot repeat this comment for the MSDN help documentation section—it still shows the same old (and creepy) pictures. <<I did not install the doc this time>>
· I like the fact that setup just went ahead and started without showing extra dialogs that say something to the effect of “Okay, we’re ready to start setup…” as if it was about to format the drive. I cannot say this for the MSDN help setup section. It stops (for some reason) after a period of time and tells me “Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 Product Documentation is ready to complete”. Why? If I had walked away expecting the setup to complete, I would have returned to this dialog. Come on folks, get rid of these needless dialogs—especially for setup scripts that take longer than 30 seconds to compete. For some reason, I was immediately returned to the initial Visual Studio setup dialog—I thought MSDN setup was done—it wasn’t. It spent the next N minutes copying files. <<I did not see this problem in Beta 1>>
· I’m not sure it’s necessary to take the CPU cycles to show the path and filename for each file as it’s being copied. A progress bar would suffice and probably take less time to update—unless we’re supposed to record these names as they fly by in case… <<It appears as these filenames have been removed.>>
· Issue: When I scroll down to see what further steps are yet to be done, when the next step in the process completes, it rolls the list back up so the yet-to-be-done items are hidden. <<I did not try this for Beta 1>>
· There is a “Reboot” item in the list of steps. It does not reboot. I assume this means a reboot is (eventually) required. If this is the case, it should say “Reboot required…”. After the final setup step no reboot was triggered or requested (as expected). <<Not seen in Beta 1>>
· Setup installs SQL Server 2008. Question: does this incorporate SP1 or SP2? <<No answer to this question>>
· What about an existing instance of SQL Server 2008? I assume setup does not overlay an existing setup which would be a common occurrence. Given the problematic aspects of installing SQL Server service packs post install, I would hope that the most recent service packs are included in the build. Ah, shouldn’t SQL Server 2010 be shipped with Visual Studio 2010? Of course not. How silly of me. << No change in Beta 1>>
· Overall, setup seems much faster—except for the MSDN section which seems about the same.
· The connection dialog still shows SQL Server instances that have been registered but are not started. That is, the SQL Server instance selected is shown in the dropdown list of servers but the database list is not populated (because the connection did not open). No outward signs of this issue are shown. It’s relatively simple to detect the state of a server instance—why isn’t the developer shown this state and (possibly) given the option to start it? <<No change>>
· Why is it that I have to change the server name (which is really the server/instance name) to get the dropdown list of visible databases to reconnect and requery the visible databases? <<No change>>
· Why is it that when a developer clicks on the dropdown list of available databases it simply does not populate without saying why? Is it that you’re embarrassed that you don’t really know (because of the sad state of the exception handling at the ADO.NET and network layers)? <<No change>>
· When SQL Server Express is installed on this development system, none of the (essential) SQL Server tools are installed. Where is the Express version of SQL Server Management Studio? These are also free and should be installed. IMHO, Visual Studio should install the SQL Server Express Advanced Services Edition as well as the associated tools. <<No change>>
· Overall project load speed (create a new Windows Forms project seems slower. <<No change>>
· “Choose Database Objects” still shows checkbox list for Tables, Views, Stored Procedures as if a developer would ever choose all tables. Sure toy database application developers might do so, but it’s still a discredited practice. <<No change>>
· The Data Source Configuration Wizard still does not prompt for a Where clause. What confuses me is that the “Data Source Configuration Wizard” that gets launched when using the ASP.NET Chart control looks entirely different. It starts with a “Choose Data Source Type” that leads off with an “Access Database”, “Database”, LINQ etc. It has a dialog “Configure the Select Statement” (wrong casing on SELECT) that prompts for individual tables, custom SQL or SP as well as a WHERE, ORDER BY (note correct casing) and Advanced options. Why isn’t this designer used for Windows Forms? Note that this dialog defaults to SELECT *. This is a mistake. <<No change>>
· What happened to the CrystalReportViewer control? <<No change>>
· The Task icon on the Microsoft Report Viewer is still too small (it has not been made larger as it has in the ASP.NET dialogs).
Shows an exception fired after the Report Wizard completed and attempted to preview the report (called from “Create a new report” on the MSReportViewer control). Also got an error attempting to compile the RDLC report. <<No change>>
So, what I planned to focus on (reporting, Report Viewer, data code generation) still does not work or shows no signs of any of the changes I’ve been asking for… for a decade.