Visual Studio 2008 Review
I know it’s a bit late, but as promised here’s a review of Visual Studio 2008. I’ve had it for a while now, but I wanted to wait until I’d worked on a few projects with it before I offered my opinion.
Overall, it’s a solid improvement over 2005. The guys at Microsoft have made some good changes that actually improved the development experience rather than just adding a bunch of fluff. Unlike 2005, you’re not required to upgrade to the newest framework to use it, so you don’t have to upgrade to .NET 3.5 just yet. The IDE is generally a bit faster than 2005 and several of the features that were a headache for my team in 2005 have been made useful. The 2 most notable improvements were support for nested master pages in design view and a huge performance improvement in the table adapter editing interface.
One of the first things I noticed about the interface is the influence from Expression Web. There is a new split view for the designer and several new CSS helper tools. The split view has been in other products, like Dreamweaver, for ages and I have generally not found it very useful and initially, I felt the same way about the split view in Visual Studio. It really doesn’t help much when laying out your pages, but when writing code-behinds, it provides a much quick method for reviewing the layout and server control properties. The CSS tools, much like Expression, seem like they may be useful to those inexperienced with CSS, but for me they were more of a hindrance than help.