The disappointment from Microsoft: Visual Studio 2012

With the announcement on the 1th of August for Visual Studio 2012‘s final build shouldn’t I as developer with Visual Studio be thrilled rather than disappointed? Yes the new version brings quite a lot of new and/or improved features, but it seems like Microsoft has lost their focus on what should really matter. I guess it’s not the first time the company from Redmond has gotten caught up in their own little world and totally forgot about everyone else.

So let me finally get to the point: Visual Studio 2012 or rather the compiler (MSVC) will support only about three new C++11 core features which gets us to a count of 18 supported core features of 40 (source). Some may now argue that 18 features are a lot specially since the new standard isn’t even a year old, but for those I can only add that many possibly features were obvious to come with the new standard and that the open source projects like GCC and Clang already support way more features and some of those for quite a while now (source).

When I said that Microsoft has lost their focus, this wasn’t taken out of the blue. It’s based on different facts and intuitions:

  • Fact is that Microsoft at first wanted to release the Express version of VS12 with support only for their Modern UI (formerly called Metro) Style Apps, so the development of native C++ applications would’ve then only been possible for people who pay (or pirate) Visual Studio 2012.
  • With the constant and heavy development on their own home-brew language C#, they kind of make their priorities clear…
  • Stephan T. Lavavej (aka STL) stated in a comment to the first source link from above: “Since January 2007 (when I moved from Outlook Search to VC Libraries), I’ve been the only MS dev working on the STL.” – From such a big company you’d clearly think that they’d put more people on such a task; now you can only guess how many people work on the compiler itself… (Also note that the STL itself isn’t even that far behind regarding C++11.)

As I’ve written on my other blog C++11 is a new and better language, it’s the language of the future and it’s kind of sad seeing such a big company like Microsoft failing to keep up with the development for one of their core applications.

Since I don’t want to miss to the C++11 train that starts to roll faster and faster with every passing week, I’ll probably have to leave Visual Studio behind me and start looking out for better alternatives like QtCreator, KDevelop or just plain Vim in connection with GCC or Clang. Since those tools are the most powerful in their right context, i.e. a *nix based OS, and since I’ve gotten more and more used to the so called GNU-tools, I’m seriously considering the move to Debian. For those who know me better, this step would be quite a big one for me and I won’t go and just abandon Windows but there’s no really good reason to code and develop on Windows anymore.

While writing this blog post on another PC, Debian is getting installed on my main one… So we’ll see how things develop and my hope is that Microsoft gets their things together and very soon release a service pack/update with new core features.