The Visual Studio Beta has been released and if you think it’s just a new skin think again. I’ll leave it to the VS team’s blog to list all of the new features although I will provide my color commentary on some of them.
First and foremost the most radical change is the new Integrated Development Environment (IDE). There has been a tremendous amount of feedback about the new UI with lengthy discussions on design verses functionality. Personally, I switched to the “dark theme” and haven’t looked back. Do I miss all of the colored icons? Maybe as I’ll admit that it does take some additional time to find a specific function in a monochromatic world, however using the associated keyboard shortcuts almost eliminates this problem. I say almost as some shortcuts might not be available for certain items.
Searching code is extremely important so invoking the inline searching capabilities and all the options it provides (i.e. scope, find/replace, etc.), means that finding a specific section or block of code is a piece of cake. In the past I’ve used the productivity tools for VS10 which now appears to have found a new home in VS11. I also like the Quick Launch search which searches all of the menu items and configuration settings for the search term and displays the associated results. That’s a big plus as now there’s no need to remember where a menu item is if it’s 4 sub-levels deep.
Performance is always a concern and VS11 has addressed those concerns, specifically around virtual memory usage, solution load time and debugging. The linked posts are dedicated to the aforementioned topics and provide a tremendous amount of insight into each area.
Of course if you’re not completely enthralled by a feature or see additional area’s for improvement then set aside a few minutes and take the VS survey. If you’re looking for support, definitely check out the MSDN Forums to interact with others in the community who are using this pre-release software, including Microsoft MVPs and product team members. I’d also recommend using Microsoft Connect to report and track issues, search for issues reported by others, and to find possible answers.