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Judging Visual Studio 2005

Monday, January 23, 2006

I’ve pounded on Visual Studio 2005 a lot this month. Overall, I’ve been happy with the IDE, and find myself more productive.

Stability: Good
Frans has been able to crash the IDE with a brace and with a mouse click. I’m happy I have not found any major problems. I did have a spectacular crash one afternoon with the old “Unexpected error encountered. It is recommended that you restart the application as soon as possible” message (HRESULT: 0x80131527 File: vsee\internal\vscomptr.inl Line: 473). Restarting was not an option as the message kept coming back. I had to kill the IDE, but didn’t lose any work.

One area I’ve found to be extremely delicate is the scripting engine integration. I have a few macros I use with Visual Studio. One of the macros uses the clipboard API. I’ve seen the macro crash vsmsvr.exe with a call to GetClipboard on several occasions. When vsmsvr.exe crashes unexpectedly, I can never get devenv.exe to accept input focus, and have to kill the IDE. The Windows clipboard seems fragile when I have both a remote desktop and virtual PC running.

Performance: Fair
Performance can drag at times. Refactoring operations on large projects are slow. My devenv.exe process has been hovering around 250MB of VM. Source control operations can also be slow. View pending check-ins can take forever when it needs to scan thousands of files, and simple add and delete operations often seem to hang the IDE for a few seconds at times.