Microsoft reveals upcoming Visual Studio 11 changes

On February 29th, Microsoft launched the beta for Visual Studio 11 at its official web site. Technically, Visual Studio 11 is a codename for what Microsoft will likely call Visual Studio 2012 when the final version is released.

The beta version added a number of new features, including support for making apps for the Metro UI in Windows 8. Now Microsoft has updated the official Visual Studio blog with word on some changes it plans to put into the next version, which will be the Release Candidate build.

One of the most controversial changes in the beta, as least going by the previous comments from developers on the Visual Studio blog site, was the decision to eliminate the use of color in the graphics "except in cases where color is used for notification or status change purposes." Microsoft will make things more colorful for the Release Candidate version by colorizing the tool's Status bar,  lightening the grays in the light theme and window chrome, and by putting in broader and bolder use of accent colors in tool window headers and tab treatments.

The blog entry goes over a number of other changes and additions that will be put into the RC version of Visual Studio 11. There's no word on when it will be released, although ZDNet speculates it will come out at the same time as the Release Preview version of Windows 8.

Image via Microsoft

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41 Comments

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I think the key thing is deploying colour where it is useful in differentiating the UI elements and making things easier to follow with the eye. Having unnecessary coloured icons is a distraction from the code which does use colouring usefully to distinguish different elements. The same is true of the status bar colouring where it will mean developers are keyed instantly into which environment context they are in.

This is one respect in which I thought XP was terrible - the bright blues, greens and reds of Luna drew my eyes away from the content (going back to classic made things a bit better). Vista's shift to black and to some extent 7's translucency are a lot better than Luna. Metro UIs seems to be really focussed on making content "king".

cant wait. Only thing i can't seem to find in vs11 that was in the 2010 was the comment button. I liked highlighting a bunch of code and clicking comment. Maybe its just hidden and i can't find it lol

As for the color, im with the comments on who cares. i actually like it grey and see no need to have a colorful UI. First thing i loved about leaving xp back when vista was beta was no more of that god awful green and blue everywhere.

I like how the "save" icon is still a floppy disk. I know it's a recognizable symbol and all, but at some point it will have to change. In some years, you'll have some people who have never even seen a floppy disk entering the workforce.

Panda X said,
John I think the new UI would be a better image for the article rather than the old UI.

Yes, definitely not a smart decision to use a pic of the old UI in an article about the new UI... would be like writing an article about Windows 8 and showing a screenshot of Windows Vista RC1...

Ah sweet! They removed the dumb colons and caps everywhere!

Edit: uhm, for some unexplainable reason they decided to go ALL CAPS in the menu bar...

Edited by fobban, May 8 2012, 7:45pm :

fobban said,
Ah sweet! They removed the dumb colons and caps everywhere!

Edit: uhm, for some unexplainable reason they decided to go ALL CAPS in the menu bar...

Yep, I noticed that too! And how about the underlined shortcut key in each menu item?
Hopefully that will also be changed.

xfx said,

Yep, I noticed that too! And how about the underlined shortcut key in each menu item?
Hopefully that will also be changed.

Underlined shortcut keys used to be the norm in windows apps (in fact, hold down"alt" and they'll appear again) but I don't get the capitalisation. Someone said it was to make things clearer but is it actually any clearer? Even if it is for some people (it's no more clearer to me), there's a lot to be said for consistency.

Kushan said,

Underlined shortcut keys used to be the norm in windows apps (in fact, hold down"alt" and they'll appear again) but I don't get the capitalisation. Someone said it was to make things clearer but is it actually any clearer? Even if it is for some people (it's no more clearer to me), there's a lot to be said for consistency.

I believe it's meant to be consistent with the Office 15 UI (as is a lot of this make over), which uses all caps for it's ribbon titles.

now you need to re-learn everything you know, specially the what you had learned last year. Well, thats another thread, education. Education aint free bitch.

ThePitt said,
now you need to re-learn everything you know, specially the what you had learned last year. Well, thats another thread, education. Education aint free bitch.

Why? It's literally just a colour change of the UI, nothing more.

They made it look nicer. If you're a developer and you've used Visual Studio before, you'll still know how to use the new version. And consider the target audience.

ThePitt said,
now you need to re-learn everything you know, specially the what you had learned last year. Well, thats another thread, education. Education aint free bitch.

I didn't have any trouble with the transition from 2010 to VS11. I doubt the change from beta to final will require any education.

ThePitt said,
now you need to re-learn everything you know, specially the what you had learned last year. Well, thats another thread, education. Education aint free bitch.

At least MS training is cheaper than Oracle training where things change without documentation.

The icons still look like crap. The more colourful elements they've added are a definite improvement though.

Seems like it's taken a bit more of an Office 15 look too it, though I hope they haven't actually removed the Aero window chrome >.<

They also seem to have removed a lot more toolbar buttons too - I code but I'm not a keyboard shortcut monkey, I do like having Indent / Comment/ Copy & Paste up there by default. Seems a bit daft to remove them.

Edit: Blergh, looks like they drawn their own Windows chrome. Suppose I'll just have to get used too it @__@

Edited by ~Johnny, May 8 2012, 6:39pm :

psreloaded said,
and whats with the capitalized menu options... i hate this change...

Really, I don't understand why caps for the menu bar is such an issue? People find the smallest things to complain about at times.

psreloaded said,
and whats with the capitalized menu options... i hate this change...

The capitals are likely for visibility (considering the very clean and flat look).

GP007 said,

Really, I don't understand why caps for the menu bar is such an issue? People find the smallest things to complain about at times.

YEAH EXACTLY I MEAN FULL CAPS IS TOTALLY GREAT AND EVERYBODY LOVES IT.

Martin5000 said,

YEAH EXACTLY I MEAN FULL CAPS IS TOTALLY GREAT AND EVERYBODY LOVES IT.

Using it to talk is stupid, but the menu isn't the same it's just a menu. Nitpicking it is also silly.

Same, reminds me of a streamlined version of 2008.. simple but effective. (I'm there to work, not look at eye candy.) Although if you have a need to have an IDE with a bunch of color I don't see why the color theme addon wouldn't be able to be easily ported to the new version.. change it to whatever does it for you.

Max Norris said,
Same, reminds me of a streamlined version of 2008.. simple but effective. (I'm there to work, not look at eye candy.) Although if you have a need to have an IDE with a bunch of color I don't see why the color theme addon wouldn't be able to be easily ported to the new version.. change it to whatever does it for you.

Maybe they'll still have the beta Grey theme in there as an option?

psreloaded said,
I kind of liked the gray look

The icons on the coming release will be a bit more colorful, this screenshot is old