[Please read my Disclaimer]

Dear MacDork,

You recently blogged about Visual Studio 2005 quoting an article by Paul Krill about how the VS 2005 release date was going to be next year (hence the Visual Studio 200X name of your entry) and about the top 10 features in Visual Studio. To clarify Visual Studio 2005 *is* going to launch the week of November 8th. To be fair, you couldn't have known this as it wasn't announced until the day after you blogged about it, but just thought you'd like to know.

Also, the features highlighted in the Paul Krill article are not what *Microsoft* considers the best features of Visual Studio. Instead, they are the top requested fixes or suggestions that *customers* voted on in the MSDN Product Feedback Center. On the Product Feedback center customers can vote on how important a bug/suggestion is and that's how we determine what the top 10 customer requested features are. So to your response (below) about how we shouldn't lead with new icons, *we* didn't decide to make new icons the #1 request on the Product Feedback Center, our customers did.

  1. The user-driven, top-10 improvement list begins with the ability to deploy updated and new icon sets. This feature enables  access to icons that can be distributed with applications. This makes it easier for developers to focus on code, said Brian  Keller, a Microsoft product manager on the Visual Studio team. (You sure you wanna lead off w/ “deploy updated … icon sets”?  I mean, you ARE Microsoft…. can’t you come up w/ something a *little* more impressive than that?)

Now before you say "Everything I’ve heard (perhaps anecdotally) about .Net points to a hodge-podge of technologies" why don't you try it out for yourself? No Seriously. Since you sound like a Web developer given your astuteness with cross-browser issues when describing the other features, how about you download and try Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition and take the VWD Guided Tour. While VWD isn't designed for enterprise developers (you'll find architecture tools, unit and load testing in Visual Studio Team System which you can order for free from here and we'll even pay S&H) you can still take it for a spin and honestly evaluate what it's like to develop applications using Visual Studio and the .NET Framework. At least keep an open mind about our technology - Rick Ross got a chance to look at what we're doing first hand when he came to Redmond and had some positive things to say:

First, ASP.NET 2.0 is truly impressive. It drives the state of the art forward with a rich set of high-level modular components for creating and deploying web applications. Most of us have hassled with creating yet another member registration or login block in a web application, but ASP.NET 2.0 makes those hassles a thing of the past. You can tell that Microsoft sets its product development priorities by listening to where its customers feel pain. Of course, I have no idea how much pain the customers will feel in their bank accounts to have this power, but the technology is simply outstanding. Second, Visual Studio is a powerhouse that makes the other Microsoft products possible, and the 2005 version (also called "Whidbey") has a ton of new features that make .NET development easy and fast.

Now Rick isn't leaving the Java world anytime soon, but he's a developer first and he seems willing to at least hear what we have to offer and encourages others to be open-minded: "I am encouraging mutual respect and a dialogue to keep the possibility for progress alive. Frozen hatred is not in the best interests of the Java developer community."..."I want it to be explicitly clear that I am NOT advocating any Java developer to abandon Java. I am only saying that we should consider, as a community, treating our peer developers in the Microsoft world and elsewhere with more respect and open-mindedness.

Try it out and send us *your* feedback, it might even make it into Paul's next article...