Blend 5 & Visual Studio 11 Feedback on Windows 8

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Blend 5 & Visual Studio 11 Feedback on Windows 8

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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 is provided with some "Metro Application Style" templates. One first thing we can notice is that VS11 is very similar to VS10... Microsoft added usefull features detailed below. I am quite disapointed about Microsoft political point of view about Xaml Language and Html5/JavaScript...

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 embed now 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 access quickly for all available commands.

Some "Metro Style Application" samples

Metro Style 1 Metro Style 2
Metro Style 3 Metro Style 4
Visual Studio provide us few templates and show us how "Metro Style Application" can be.

2 - Blend 5

Blend 5 is provided for testing JavaScript/Html5 solution for Windows 8. I used to work with Blend 4 for Silverlight and lots of features that was available and allow me to produce a fast/clean solution is not available for 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
This is 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 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 tester under multiple format. This is a good point of 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 worry about Silverlight/WPF/Xaml-Based future for many reasons.
  1. I have seen lots of Silverlight developers that doesn't know how to use Blend... (too many ...)
  2. Microsoft only talk 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 :)

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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