How your feedback is shaping .NET

How your feedback is shaping .NET

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Eight months ago we asked you to provide feedbackon the features you want us to ship. And you didn’t disappoint! Since then, we’ve seen hundreds of Tweets, blog posts and user voice votes. It’s great to be part of such a thriving community.

We are fully committed to improving the .NET ecosystem by being more open. To quote Habib from his Build talk:

By openness we don’t just mean open source. We also mean openness in the way we communicate, in the way we release documentation and just in the way that we do business.

Reacting to feedback is a critical part of making sure we’re doing a good job of enabling a great ecosystem.

One of the major feedback channels we monitor is User Voice. In this post, I’d like to look back and show case some the items we’ve resolved since we asked for more .NET advisors.

Overview

We’ve completed some very popular user voice items. In total, we’ve addressed well over 10,000 votes. Here is a picture of how the votes are distributed across the areas we’ve addressed:

Now let’s look at each area.

Reference Source

I don’t know about you but sometimes I’ve a hard time using APIs that other people wrote. In many cases having documentation is sufficient to solve the problem. However, sometimes it’s just easier to look at the source of the API. Using the .NET Framework is no exception to this.

It seems I’m not alone – there are close to three thousand votes for improving the .NET Reference Source, our existing solution that allows you to step through the .NET Framework source in the debugger:

First of all, we’ve addressed the specific request, which is to ensure that .NET Framework source debugging works, even after your installation has been updated with a security patch.

However, we also sat back and thought whether enabling debugging is the best experience for understanding the code. In many cases, reading and browsing can be a much better experience. Thus, we also launched a new web site that hosts the latest version of the .NET Reference Source, called http://sourceof.net.

Make sure to check out the video that walks through the features of the browser:

SIMD

Performance matters, especially in compute intense applications. Today, we don’t have a good story for leveraging SIMD instructions, which enables the processor to run computations in parallel within a single CPU core. As a result, the request to support SIMD is by far the most popular request for our code generation.

We announced a preview for SIMD support at Build and also provided a blog post on how you can leverage SIMD from your code.

.NET Native

Until recently you had to make a decision: do you prefer the productivity of C# and .NET or do you need the power of the C++ optimizer. Wouldn’t it be great if those aspects would be orthogonal decisions?

We felt so too. At Build, we announced the preview of .NET Native. For more details, have a look at our post about the .NET Native Preview.

Portable Class Libraries

Portable class libraries is the key building block for enabling a cross platform ecosystem with .NET. Many of you told us that you’d love to build more libraries for the ecosystem but that you can’t use portable class libraries because Visual Studio Express doesn’t support it.

Starting with Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, you can now build portable class libraries using Visual Studio Express for Windows.

We’ve also improved the tooling itself, for example, many of you needed WinRT support as well as the ability to design Xaml. Those items are also addressed with Visual Studio 2013 Update 2.

Cross Platform

We’re living in a many-device world now. Consequently, we’ve invested quite a lot into making newer features available via NuGet. NuGet packages enable you to take advantage of newer features without having to wait for the next .NET Framework release – or even an OS upgrade.

You told us that this isn’t good enough: you also needed a license that allows you to move your investments forward, to any platform.

We’ve addressed this concern by removing the platform restriction from our NuGet packages.

But we didn’t stop there – we also announced a collaboration with Xamarin to improve your cross-platform experience, in particular around building mobile applications.

Summary

In order make .NET great, we’ve asked you to advise us where we should focus our attention. Since that post we’ve completed numerous user voice items, addressing more than 10,000 votes.

Please keep the feedback coming!

Leave a Comment
  • Please add 2 and 7 and type the answer here:
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  • Now that we have .Net Native, can you get it to spit out AMP accelerated binaries?

  • Thank for your effort. Please consider win7 support in the new stuff.

  • Wow! Thank you.  Doing a great job team.

  • TIOBE Index for April 2014, C# Rating 4.82% change -1.33%.  guys please speed up!  you have no more the time!

  • Make .NET runtime for Linux, or show dedication to make Mono 1st class. It will pay off!

  • I'd like to see the async/await debugging support that you added in VS 2013 extended to more than just Win8 apps. We don't write any Modern apps currently so its as if this feature never existed for us.

    Also, maybe you guys could share an update on progress with allowing lambda expressions in the debugger? Eagerly awaiting that feature.

  • Can you, please, log a suggestion for the Async support you have in mind on visualstudio.uservoice.com That is how we track customer requests in so we can implement them in order of popularity

    For lambdas, we have visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../2049821-debug-lambda-expressions. Please vote on that if you haven't done so already! This item is under review, which means it will be implemented for one of our next releases.

    Thanks!

    Maria Ghiondea

    Visual Studio Debugger

  • Is it possible to get the source of "sourceof.net" so that we can use that for browsing & searching through large codebases?

  • I like the idea of "openness"  but for it to realistically "feel" open to everyone outside of Microsoft you will need to openly talk about the items you would rather avoid.

    Your .NET item with by far the largest number of votes is XNA:

    visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../3725445-xna-5

    Even if the only use of XNA is to allow beginners an approachable way to learn both .NET and Game Programming, it is useful and valuable, not to mention repairing some very bad vibes you have managed to pick up by killing XNA and killing Silverlight.

    I know you will want to pass those issues around like a hot potato that nobody at Microsoft wants to catch, but it's still reverberating through the internet and the memories of .NET fans everywhere and will continue to damage to you until you address it.

    You appear to have belatedly addressed WPF from various hints dropped at BUILD but some plain talking (or blogging) is still missing in action on that as well.

    Your cute pie chart will look quite different of you show those segments with the top votes included.

    I like what your doing and I like your blog post but every day I run into the bitterness in other people and think that while you are having thoughts of "open" it just might be time to bring back all those developers that equate the silence on obviously important topics as anything but open.

  • @SleepyDaddySoftware: I've pinged the experts on .NET Native -- reply will follow.

    @Laci: Porting features to previous platforms can be tricky; it's always a balance of risk, available resources and product road map. That being said, most of our new library work is targeting existing platforms, which includes Windows 7.

    @Simon: We're trying :-)

    @Anil Mujagic: Agreed -- we're fully committed to make .NET work great across platforms. To ensure the best experience for the Linux/iOS/Android platforms, we're working with Xamarin. They are the industry expert on implementing .NET on those platforms.

    @MgSm88: I've filed the following user voice item on your behalf:

    visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../5757204-expand-async-debugging-support

    Please spread the word & vote! It helps Maria's team to prioritize.

    @Teucer: I'm not aware of any plans to open source the implementation of the .NET Reference Source browser. I've filed the following suggestion on User Voice.

    visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../5757227-open-source-the-code-that-powers-net-reference-so

    Again please share & vote!

    @DonAlienware: I fully understand the frustration around the issues you're raising. I've taken your feedback and will try to make sure it gets addressed.

  • @SleepyDaddySoftware: Thank you for the suggestion. The C++ optimizer is capable of autovectorization. AMP code is usually generated as the result of explicit AMP instructions (such as parallel_for_each.) I'm not certain what the gap is between autovectorization and automatically recognizing patters where AMP instructions should be applied but it's certainly something we should put on our radar.

  • The vote for an updated VB6 has more votes than any you have listed above.

    visualstudio.uservoice.com/.../3440221-bring-back-classic-visual-basic-an-improved-versi

    And yet no one in Microsoft dare address it.

    (Yes I know VB6 isn't part of .Net, nor would we want it to be, but it does need updating).

    In the Tiobe index for April 2014, VB6 has just risen to sixth place.  Not bad for a language ignored by Microsoft for the last 12 years.

    Does no one in Microsoft have the authority to look at the call for an updated VB6 and at least make a response ?

  • Thank you a lot. You did really great job here.

    Please dont stop here and make .NET even better by adding AMP acceleration possibility and really cross platform, eg buy Xamarin.

  • Maybe eventually you can make VB.NET Native as well.

  • @Sten: Unfortunately, I can't comment on VB6 as this is outside my area.

    @Pavel: Regarding AMP, see Andrew's response above. With respect to cross platform & Xamarin, see my comment above.

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