Random Thoughts on Visual Studio 2008 SP1
9 Comments August 12, 2008
As the world knows, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 is out so start your download engines. I've installed it on one machine so far and I thought I'd mention a few things I found interesting.
- The install took exactly an hour for me and was far better than the Visual Studio 2005 SP1 torture. After the first Next click I just let it run and didn't have to baby sit it. I installed off the ISO version as I didn't want to take any chances. I wanted all the bits with me as I was more afraid of a partial or corrupt install with the "piece at a time" download. The machine I installed on had the Team Suite edition so I knew I'd need everything anyway.
- While many Microsoft folks have blogged about their team's particular adds to SP1, you can find the complete list of added features and bug fixes in Knowledge Base article 945140. Based on the number of features added, the version number really needs to change. However, I'm not complaining!
- All my .NET applications certainly feel much faster because of the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 speedups. I wish I would have taken some startup timing statistics because even WPF applications start reasonably quickly now.
- Visual Studio has a new icon! I guess that will make it easier for us to tell the difference between Dev 9 and the rapidly approaching Dev 10.
- Is there a story behind the option dialog UI change? Notice that the checkboxes are now flat instead of 3-d.
- I love the new debugger option to cancel Symbol Server PDB file downloads. This is a great option on slower connections:
- Another favorite debugger feature is that on managed code the debugger looks when you are stepping into a method and if it's a small property or operator, it turns the step into a step over. Now you don't have to apply the DebuggerStepThroughAttribute to all your one line methods.
- Now the debugger knows about the .NET Reference Source Code out of the box. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, Microsoft has not posted the correct PDB files for the .NET 3.5 SP1 release. There are PDB files up on the public symbol servers, but they do not contain any of the Source Server indexing. The previous version of System.PDB was 6.68 MB. Now it's 595 KB and definitely contains none of the appropriate reference strings. Also, my NetMassDownloader just returns Bad Request when trying to access the code. I'll let you know what I find out from Microsoft.
- My personal favorite new feature is that Step Into Specific has finally made it to managed code. Say you have a line of code like the following:
OuterMethod ( InnerMethod ( ) );
Prior to SP1, if you did a Step Into, you always stepped into InnerMethod whether you liked it or not. Now, if you want to step into OuterMethod, right click on the line and behold the magic of Step Into Specific:
- The TFS updates are totally dreamy. Brian Harry has the complete list here.
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