Visual Studio 2012, take two

So I managed to get VS 2012 installed. (See previous post for details on my first failed attempt.) I’d love to write up a blog post detailing some weird issue and how I worked around it, but I don’t really have anything useful to offer along those lines. I basically just installed some pending Windows Updates, had a cup of coffee, then tried again.

After the install, I was prompted to install a patch that apparently fixes some compatibility issue. Then, I was prompted to install VS 2012 update 2. I did both of those things, and now have a usable VS 2012 install. I’m still not sure why Microsoft can’t post updated installers for their products when they release patches and updates, but I’m used to the silliness now, so I just grin and bear it.

I had read a good bit of negative feedback about the UI changes in VS 2012, and I have to say that I agree with most of it, now that I’ve seem the product up close. It’s much less pleasant to look at, compared to VS 2010. First, the upper-case menus are ridiculous. Whoever thought that was a good idea has hopefully been fired by now. (Who am I kidding, he probably got promoted!) You can fix that pretty easily with this NuGet package. And the guy who put it together gets extra points for the instructions: “YOU NO LIKE NO SHOUTING?! Run Disable-AllCaps”.

The next easily-fixed interface blunder is the color scheme. The default is called “light”, and it’s kind of an all-grey mess, with a little bit of white, black, and blue.  If you switch to the “blue” theme, you get something a little like VS 2010, and much more usable.

The general flatness of the interface, though, is still pretty blah. There was really nothing wrong with the VS 2010 interface, and no reason to arbitrarily change stuff for the worse like this, and it’s so hard to believe that anybody really thought they were making things better here.

There’s a blog entry on the VS team blog that discusses the all-caps thing in specific. If you read it, you’ll get a good picture of how a very large company can make really poor decisions about specific products, based on big-picture corporate strategies and directions, and how they can be (apparently) clueless about what they’re doing. They talk about how the use of uppercase text is a “strong signature element” of MS user interfaces, including Zune and Bing. Now, really, how much thought does it take to figure out that the menu bar for a complex programming IDE has nothing to do with the user interface on a failed MP3 player or a web search engine? They end the blog post by saying that “we will enable you to customize the casing, and we are exploring options for how to expose that choice.” Well, the blog post is about a year old, VS 2012 has had two update releases, and still no option in the product itself to change the menu casing.

Alright, so that was way too much grumbling about fairly trivial user interface stuff. I guess I’m just in a bit of a cranky mood today! I still look forward to trying out VS 2012, and seeing what useful new features have been added to the product, and to C#!

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