Visual Studio 2010 – A worthy upgrade?

 In .NET development
So is Visual Studio 2010 a worthy upgrade? Or is it just another programmer’s IDE which promises to change the way you code and then leaves you wondering what the fuss was all about?  I’ve found it difficult to decide even after having migrating more or less every website and application which I’ve had to work with.  The aim of this article is to explore the reasons for using Visual Studio 2010 rather than the previous version or even notepad, something which can be tempting to do at times.

The first thing that strikes you when you load the application is the look and feel of the interface. The dark blue trim makes for a more elegant environment helping your eyes focus more easily on the code area. The previous version has a washed out look which starts to look boring after a while. What’s even more prominent is the clarity of your code – yes I had to open the same project on two different versions of the IDE to really believe it. The default font your code loads in is Consolas, a ClearType font which looks crisper when it utilises Microsoft’s ClearType font rendering technology.  This technology is used in recent Microsoft applications such as Windows 7, Office 2010 and of course VS 2010. The slightly smaller footprint of Consolas compared to Courier certainly seems to give you more real estate.

If you’ve been through the marketing blurb of VS 2010 you will have noted that the IDE has been built from the grounds up and is based on Windows Presentation Foundation. The effects of this are easily noticeable when you drag a document tab – you now have more control over placement of the tab in a split window. The biggest improvement has to be the ability to rip a tab off and place it anywhere on the screen, i.e. inside the IDE or outside.

The other noticeable difference is multiple monitor support whereby you can view another code document on your second monitor, something which most sane developers would most likely have but were not easily able to take advantage of in previous versions.

Click on a word in your code and you’ll notice all instances of that word highlighted in Grey background. This seems to come in handy as it tells you exactly where those properties and methods exist in your code and has the effect of giving your otherwise mundane code some definition.

These are some of the features I’ve come across or can remember at present. I’ll be looking at other features of VS2010 in a future blog. In the mealtime feel free to leave comments on your experiences with the product or indeed about the blog itself…


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