Friday, May 16, 2008

Visual Studio

In my day job these days, I rarely get to do any actual coding. I'm time-sliced so badly with management tasks that I don't have reliable time to devote to programming. I wish I was the sort of genius who could code up a solid, production-ready application in his spare time, but, well, I'm not. I'm still a decent coder, but I'm out of practice, and therefore slow. Without solid hours behind the keyboard, it would frankly be dangerous to throw anything I write into production. The cumulative result is that I don't have much excuse to spend time with Visual Studio these days.

And that's a shame, because Visual Studio is one of the very few Microsoft programs that are actually a joy to use. Unlike Apple, most Microsoft products are functional, loaded with utilitarian features, but absolutely missing anything to delight their users. In contrast, Visual Studio is just an astonishingly good IDE: it was written by developers for developers, so they knew exactly what developers would want, what they would like, and how they would want it implemented. With Vista, Microsoft's unprecedented ability to throw billions of dollars at a problem became a liability: Vista is a bloated, unpleasant nightmare. But with Visual Studio and its associated languages (especially C#), MS got the design pitch perfect, and they threw just enough money at the problem to impress me even more every time I fire it up.

So it's been fun the last week or so, as I've been futzing around (in my copious spare time) with a tiny little side project. I'm probably the only one who will ever use it, and I'm doing it more for private amusement than anything else – but it still feels good to be back in Visual Studio. It's an old friend, and I've missed it.

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