Aaron Brethorst

Round peg in a square hole, rabid generalist.

Lightweight Development Experiences

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Jeremy Jarrell raises some excellent points on his blog about the pain and suffering he goes through when trying to use Visual Studio for lightweight code editing and experimentation:

[F]or just playing with scratch code while lying in bed at night, working on my open source projects, or just plain having fun…Visual Studio seems like overkill. It does crash occasionally, it has its little quirks, and it takes forever to start up. And I have to accept that I have to sacrifice nearly all of my clock cycles and memory to the care and feeding of it. But hey, every relationship has its sacrifices…SharpDevelop, however, is super lightweight. It starts up fast, its super responsive, and…thus far…hasn’t crashed on me yet.
It pains me a bit to read this, since I owned the Visual Studio shell and had responsibility for a lot of these scenarios up until a month ago. Even still, I recognize where Jeremy’s coming from on this. Jeremy appears to be using Team System, which does have a lot more functionality (which means more code) than some of our other SKUs, such as Visual C# Express. Jeremy specifically mentions his love for the Object Test Bench and Immediates Window, both of which are included in VC# Express. VC# Express is really, really fast, too. It boots in something under a second on my computer at home, an Athlon 3200+ system, which only cost me about a thousand bucks when I built it over a year ago. I’m sure you could get something even better for less now.

Regarding crashes, I actually don’t see any when I use VS. It’s weird, I know, and a useless answer, to be certain, but I’ve certainly seen my fair share from other locations. If you haven’t upgraded to VS 2005 SP1, do that. If that doesn’t help, then the best advice I can give on reporting a crash in Visual Studio comes from the totally awesome Sara Ford:

If you happen to encounter a crash, please send the report to Microsoft to help us investigate.  Then let us know the crash ID number you sent in the report.  To find this information, please do the following:

1.  From Start - Run dialog, run “eventvwr.msc” 2.  Open the “Application Log” node. 3.  Look for the newest event with Source=”Microsoft Development Environment” and Event=”1–1” 4.  Open that event and you’ll see “Bucket” followed by the crash ID number we’re looking for.

Getting crash reports from our customers is helpful. Getting crash reports, plus a Microsoft Connect bug, plus the ability to follow up with you over email is invaluable.