C# Express r0x0rs!

I occasionally read about people being put off trying the XNA Framework because they don't want to install C# Express, worrying this might somehow interfere with their main Visual Studio installation.

This is madness! C# Express just like totally rocks, dude...

It coexists perfectly with other versions of Visual Studio. I've been running both side by side for a couple of years, while installing and removing various addon packages on a near-daily basis.

It is also just a beautiful piece of software. Clean, light, and fast, it starts up in a fraction the time of its bigger sibling, and I appreciate the less cluttered user interface.

Sure, there are some features missing (I'm a keyboard macro fiend, and I miss my macros), but overall I find myself choosing Express wherever possible. Sometimes less can be more, and I for one will still be using Express out of preference even after uplevel Visual Studio support is released in Game Studio 2.0.

Comments (8)

  1. zman says:

    I agree but I still miss:

    1. Code analysis – I like keeping to standards as part of my dev process.

    2. Add-ins – there’s a couple I find very useful

    3. Refactoring – Express has a much more limited set

    Though I don’t know why people worry about installing side by side. There are much better things to gripe about like why the VS team couldn’t have a Vista ready product even tough they get access to Vista before the rest of the world 😉

  2. ShawnHargreaves says:

    I would have expected to miss refactoring, but it turns out the only refactoring I actually use on a day to day basis is renaming, which Express handles nicely.

  3. JoelMartinez says:

    and also "extract method", which it also does just fine.  

    Another not-oft-praised feature of express is how you can create a new project without having to save it to disk.  It’s great for those moments when you have to test a simple class real quick, or need to verify the output of some random string format routine, etc.

  4. tmilker says:

    I cannot wait for XNA 2.0 for the Professional version support.  It is really difficult not being able to work with CodeRush, Resharper, Unit Test Explorer, Refactor Pro! and VisualHg(okay, so I am still writing this one, but it will be ready by 2.0).  CodeRush is the most missed since it is basically my vim for Visual Studio.

  5. andyl says:

    I’m missing the class diagrams. When a project gets beyond a certain size, I find its near-impossible to remember how everything slots together, and I find the diagrams a perfect birds-eye view! This and source-code control plugins are the only things I miss in Express.

  6. claustopholt says:

    The only thing I really miss is source control.

    But I don’t really buy your sales pitch, Shawn 🙂 My wife repeatedly tells me I shouldn’t bet because I always lose, but I feel confident here: I’ll bet you 99% of the people with access to VS.NET Pro or better will never use Express again once XNA GS 2.0 comes out.

  7. thomas.aylesworth says:

    I think most of the other commenters have missed the point.  C# Express may not be as full-featured as other Visual Studio editions, but it’s crazy for people to hold out on XNA because they don’t want to install C# Express alongside their full Visual Studio installation!  And yet I’ve also seen multiple posters in the XNA forums say they aren’t going to use XNA for that very reason…  That’s crazy talk.

  8. Ultrahead says:

    One way or the other, the discussion will be over once v2.0 is released …

    … it’ll be replaced by a new discussion: "when will XNA GS support VS 2008?" … and bla, bla, bla …

    … it’s very difficult to please everyone 🙁

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