Blend 5 and Visual Studio 11 feedback - The Future of Windows 8 Development

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Blend 5 and Visual Studio 11 feedback - The Future of Windows 8 Development

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Here is a little feedback on Visual Studio 11 & Blend 5...

1 - Visual Studio 11

Visual Studio 11 is provided in the Windows 8 Developer Version. It includes some "Metro Application Style" templates. One first things we can notice is that VS11 is very similar to VS10... Microsoft added useful features detailed below.

Fast file preview

File preview in Visual Studio 11

You may know that Visual Studio is multi-tab layered. But, when you "simple-click" on a file in the file treeview, a new tab stacked on the left will appear. It will provide you a quick preview of the file content.

Quick search in Solution

Visual Studio 11 research in project

Visual studio can embed a search field just above the file treeview. You can now look for a file, a class, a method or a field in few seconds. It will enhance our productivity incredibly.

Quick Search Command

Visual Studio 11 research commands

You can also search for a command through the search field in the Visual Studio Toolbar and quickly access all available commands.

Some "Metro Style Application" samples

Metro Style 1 Metro Style 2

Metro Style 3 Metro Style 4

Visual Studio provides a few templates and shows us how "Metro Style Applications" will look.

2 - Blend 5

Blend 5 is provided for testing JavaScript/Html5 solutions for Windows 8. I used to work with Blend 4 for Silverlight and lots of features that were available which allowed me to produce a fast/clean solutions are not available for the Html5/JavaScript solution... For example, binding states to an enum property... But in the JavaScript/Html5, there is no state or even storyboard. Blend is a JavaScript/Html5 WYSIWYG editor in this specific case ...

Where are my tools ?

Blend tools

These are the only tools you have in the JavaScript/Html5 version of Blend :(

Assets, generated parts & Javascript

Blend static and generated parts

Here is a sample of a rating "control" in Blend 5. As you can see, the rating control will create a div and "generate elements inside" (elements with a lightning bolt near the eye). You can access the div and do your stuff on the JavaScript side.

Long long long CSS train ...

CSS big world

Once unfolded, CSS properties are numerous...

Plateform testing

Blend platform testing

Your application can be tested under multiple formats. This is a good point in Blend 5. You can also activate an emulator for directly seeing the result. Here is the result in the emulator :

Blend emulator

Files created in a new Html5/Javascript

JavaScript project files

Here is the project content created for an Html5/JavaScript project.

Good features nevertheless ...

CSS identification

Some good features are added inside Blend 5... You can fly over a CSS Style and see where it is applied.


I am worried about a Silverlight/WPF/Xaml-Based future for many reasons.

  1. I have seen lots of Silverlight developers that don't know how to use Blend... (too many ...)
  2. Microsoft only talks about Html5 and JavaScript in their meetings...
But, we have a big advantage. True Silverlight developers can create more shiny application in a shorter time than with Html5/JavaScript ...  And C# will always be smarter than JavaScript :)

The original blog post is here :
Feel free to leave some comments :)

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