Visual Studio 2012/TFS 2012: A Breath of Fresh Air

Visual Studio 2012 hasn’t been released to the general public yet, but a friend of mine was nice enough to lend me his MSDN copy of both VS and Team Foundation Server (I run Sharepoint 2010 on my intranet, which is a requirement for TFS…the integration is incredible). While you’re at it, do yourself a favor and install the new (and free) decompiler from JetBrains: DotPeek, which also integrates into Visual Studio. But, I digress.

First off, I swore I would never migrate my source control over to TFS. For the better part of a decade, I’ve been using SourceGear’s Vault solution to house my code, and provide versioning control; the single license version is free. But after watching several webcasts on TFS 2012, I decided to take the plunge (getting it installed is not for the faint of heart by the way, block off half a day to get it up and running). It is leaps and bounds beyond any previous version of TFS, and the Sharepoint integration is nothing short of amazing, especially the reporting piece. The performance of the remote build server has increased drastically, and the client portion (Team Explorer) has much better integration into Visual Studio, and is more intuitive (VSS anyone?). I find it easier to use than Vault actually, so definitely a worthwhile plunge if you have the opportunity to do so.

Visual Studio 2012: Wow. Just, wow. It’s hard to believe that we used to get programming done with Visual Studio .Net (or 2003, 2005, 2008, 2010). It is finally a mature product in this author’s humble opinion. This may sound silly, but thank you Microsoft for FINALLY including a dark theme! My eyes are quite grateful for that inclusion. And, thanks for bringing back some color to what was an extremely boring Metro-esque theme in the betas. The VS GUI is slick looking, and doesn’t detract from getting work done like previous versions. Also, Intellitrace is badass: Being able to unwind a stack trace on the fly is pure awesomeness. And everything just feels faster than previous versions. I will be uninstalling 2008/2010 soon for sure since they are just sitting on my machine chewing up disk space.

Next on my list of new products to tackle: .Net 4.5, the new C# language features (async/await code candy generation keywords), which means I need to rip out some threading frameworks on pet projects. And the big one that’s looming over my head: SQL Server 2012 (and soon, Sharepoint 2013 and Office 2013). And certainly not least, Windows Server 2012, though I might hold off on upgrading my servers as I’ve been less than impressed with Windows 8 (Sidenote: If you are having Windows 8 woes, read this great article by Scott Hanselman on Windows 8 productivity), though it is growing on me…s-l-o-w-l-y, but that’s another post for another day.

Microsoft have really dropped a lot of new products on us these past few months, Jayson has been a busy little bee trying to absorb it all. Alas, that’s the life of a software developer though, have to reinvent ourselves every couple of months or so. I’m still tackling F# in my spare time as I want to use F# for low level libraries in future projects (DAL/BL type stuff). F# has a huge learning curve, even though I come from a functional programming background…it’s a work in progress. So much to learn, so little time. Back to the books for this developer.