Visual Studio 11 Beta Available Now!

Visual Studio 11 Beta Available Now!

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Today, we're excited to announce that Visual Studio 11 Beta is now available for download.

Back in September, we announced the release of Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview and detailed the simplification efforts we made across the IDE, integration of the best and most popular features from the Productivity Power Tools and effort to improve project compatibility scenarios.

Since then, we've been busy improving and fine tuning experiences in Visual Studio and also addressing feedback and known issues from the Developer Preview. We’ve invested in performance improvements in the areas of responsiveness and memory utilization.

Take a look at what's new in Visual Studio 11 Beta and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta on MSDN and for a more in-depth discussion, see Jason Zander’s discussion of the Beta release . We also encourage you to check out the new Windows 8 App Developer Blog to learn more about how to build great Metro style apps for Windows 8.

Last week, we revealed the new developer experience (in Part 1, Part 2) and showed you screenshots of the new user interface, iconography, search capabilities and how we've streamlined common workflows. Many of you had a lot of passionate feedback on these posts. We have read all the comments, and you will hear more about this from us soon. In coming weeks, we’ll be using this blog to talk about many of the other specific features of Visual Studio 11.

We Want Your Feedback!

Your feedback is an important part of our software development cycle. We review every comment that we receive and are constantly using this feedback to improve the product. Now that the Beta is available, we hope you will install and work with it, and continue to send us your feedback on how it all comes together.

If you encounter a bug or an issue, please report it through the Visual Studio, LightSwitch, and Blend Connect sites. We also want to hear your suggestions or feature ideas/improvements so please add your suggestions to UserVoice or vote on other user’s suggestions.


The Visual Studio Team

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  • I have to assume that you're picking up on the general theme here, but I have to repeat so many others:

    the UI changes are simply lazy. It's not that grey is ugly or bad or anything as such, and it's not that I have anything against Metro (I like it), but what happened to VS is half-baked, inconsistent and sloppy. None of the most broken UI has been fixed (project properties, especially for C++ projects, comes to mind), and rather than trying to understand either your users or your own UI guidelines, some intern was simply told to grayscale your icons, and UPPERCASE a few labels. In the old font, with no concern given to actually making it look in any way clean.

    It's lazy, and a big step backwards.

    What's funny is the contrast against the screenshots of Office's take on Metro. That's clever and elegant, a way to merge the stylishness of Metro with the complexity of ribbons and desktop applications. They thought about it, and clearly had an actual UX designer working on it.

    The VS approach is a joke.

  • @Matt Kaufman

    I am talking about exposing more and nicer extension points. The new text editor extension points or APIs introduced in VS2010 are much nicer than older APIs like those that adding new commands to the menus, for example.

  • A suggestion related to mouse wheel:

    What we used to is Wheel for scrolling, Ctrl+Wheel for zooming, yet in VS11's WPF editor it's completely reversed.

  • So... not only the icons inside the IDE have been changed, the file icons that are displayed outside the IDE, in Windows Explorer, have been changed too.

    Is that supposed to help with "focusing" on explorer's folder content? Well it does exactly the opposite because now all the source file icons are b&w while explorer is full of colors.

    Have you seen the ribbon that was added to Win8's explorer or were you too busy changing icons for no good reason?

    Have you seen the file icon used for PDF files by Windows Reader, a Metro app? It's red.

    And maybe it wouldn't be that bad if the icons were really b&w. But they're actually gray&gray. Dark gray with an outline of light gray. Combined with explorer's white background this results in worse contrast making the file icons look almost blurry.

    I've seen plenty of ugly icons before. These aren't ugly, these are "technically wrong".

  • Just uninstalled VS11, and it leaves a lot of garbages inside my system (like SQL2012 RC0), I have to uninstall them manually, one by one. Can't you delete them all at once, like what you did back at VS2010 RC?

    After uninstall .NET 4.5 beta, my .NET 4.0 is gone, thus VS2010 failed to start. This is unexpected.

    And those ugly file icon remains. Tried "Restore file association" inside VS2010, had some effect, except the solution file's icon.


  • The "Tools|Options|Fonts and Colors" dialog crashes the VS.

    Now, this is not THAT bad as seen on the screenshots. But it's STILL bad.

    You wanted to "remove distractions" (what distractions?) but it has gone WAY too far, to the point of sensory deprivation (ever heard of it?) making all the grays actually distracting.

    At least give it some hint of color.

    And bring back coloured icons.

  • @mstify

    Please can you provide more information on your experience of developing a metro app.

    Metro apps run full screen, and the default is to launch them as such, you should be able to easily alt+tab back to VS from the keyboard.

    Another option is to launch you app in the simulator so you can remain in the desktop view. More information on the simulator is available here:



  • @Azarien I did that several time before and just tried again. No crash here. Maybe there's something else you're doing that makes it crash? Maybe your windows content?

  • I managed to find time to continue working with this Beta, here is my second feedback:

    Visual Studio 11 Beta - Feedback 2


    I can't find a way to create new code snippets, I only see how to select snippet files.

    Intellisense works nicely on #include paths.

    However when you select a folder with ENTER or SPACE keys, it will insert '\' instead of '/'.

    That is considerably annoying because writing cross-platform code (that should be encouraged).

    You can use the '/' key to select the folder and that works but it don't feel as natural as just ENTER or SPACE key.

    Typing '#' or ENTER on a definition line will makes intellisense move everything on the left.

    It's really anoying: I need some macro to be readable and indentation helps here.

    It's a bit depressing that there is still no way to just jump from header file to it's associated cpp file if any.

    As Visual Assist X proves it, even an aproximation would be useful.

    I code a lot on my spare time and it's the kind of thing (with snippets) that really helps me focus on the semantics

    of my code instead of having to navigate in the tool and type a lot of structural code that have meaning only for

    the compiler.

    Found another issue:

    I try to build a cpp file alone (a very simple one). Build begins but don't seem to end.

    I end it myself by canceling the build. It ends.

    From there, I can't build a cpp file alone anymore. The Ctrl+F shortcut doesnt work and the option doesn't appear anywhere

    in the menu or right-click contextual menu as before.

    The only way to get it back is to close completely the IDE and reopen it.

    The good thing is that it really is fast to open and close the IDE.

    I'm impressed because I feel that the IDE don't get in the way on the speed side.

  • Tried repair VS2010's install, but the solution icon still haven't come back.

  • @Deny - Details on supporting VS11 with Windows Phone can be found here:


    Cathy Sullivan

    Program Manager - Visual Studio Code Experience

  • Please left align the WPF editor's property view, or at lease make it optional, it's so hard to locate specific one when right aligned.

  • I'm surprised it doesn't work on Vista. I can understand (with pain) the reasoning for dropping XP support, but already killing Vista with its extended support for another five years?

    Ah, I get it. You want software developers to force users to upgrade.

    I presume the next version of VS after VS11 wouldn't even run on Windows 7.

  • Beein using VS 2011 Beta since released. I used it to program 4.0 framework in C# environment. I was a part of the trial for the toolbar for VS 2010 so the simplified toolbar was awesome for me back then but I think now it is even better. It takes a little bit to get used to the "gra" but once you do it is phenomenal. "The beauty of my plan is in it's simplicity Dude!" as Walter once said so I really do love the simplicity of VS 2011.

    Also a ton of bugs that I had in VS 2010 are now gone (ie. I had the debbuging crash everytime unless I go to Debug->Attach to process. This is no longer an issue)

    Great job on the Beta.

  • I can't differentiate any of the icons!!! Previously, i can easily differentiate the class icon, functions, and toolbox items. We need the color back! This is ridiculous! And what's with that ALL CAPS???!!!!

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