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Why Developers Love Visual Studio

DZone 's Guide to

Why Developers Love Visual Studio

Learn why developers continue to use Visual Studio as their preferred IDE.

· Web Dev Zone ·
Free Resource

About a month ago, I was asked by a fellow developer why developers love Visual Studio and not any of the other IDEs like Visual Studio Code, WebStorm, or Rider? He mentioned that Visual Studio Code should be enough for anybody and added that Visual Studio has become bloated over the years of development.

While I do have copies of Visual Studio Code, WebStorm, and Rider in my possession, I somehow keep coming back to Visual Studio (currently 2019). Today, I wanted to analyze why developers (myself included) keep coming back to Visual Studio and share why developers love it so much.

IntelliSense

This is probably the number one reason why I use Visual Studio.

Initially introduced in 1996 with Visual Basic, this feature alone provides coding assistance to any developer without the need to go to Stack Overflow (ok...maybe not entirely) and gives developers the confidence to write code while not knowing every single parameter of every method in every class.

While a number of IDEs try to copy this functionality, the partial searching of methods in a dropdown list has become the defacto standard for helping developers.

Speed

I was debating whether to include this on the list, but since Visual Studio 2019 came out, it's proven itself to load just as fast as Visual Studio Code.

This was one of the many complaints from developers when running Visual Studio 2017. The Visual Studio team went back and looked for ways to make the loading process faster.

Out-Of-The-Box Features

While I do like my IDEs (and each one is great at something), the one thing I don't like is all of the extensions you need to download to make them similar to a Visual Studio 2017/2019 experience.

Don't get me wrong, the lightweight extensions in other IDEs are absolutely fantastic (and there are a ton of them), but for the exact same functionality, I can run Visual Studio 2019 and get a number of these features already included without looking extensions.

Full-Blown Debugging Capabilities

Again, each IDE in my possession provides some type of debugging with breakpoints and evaluating variables at runtime, but one of my experiences with a certain IDE left me wanting my Visual Studio back.

While I won't say which IDE, I will say I was debugging and wanted to grab the breakpoint marker and move it up two lines and trace into a method. This IDE was missing that feature. I had to restart my debugging session.

Along with debugging, I can even see how much memory is being used during the execution of my web app. 

Live Unit Testing

The concept behind Live Unit Testing is the ability to see whether your unit tests pass or not while you are modifying your code.

It's a simple on/off switch, where you can still build unit tests just as you did before, but, as you modify implementation code, your unit tests run automatically to make you aware of whether you broke something or not.

More Structure/Structured Projects

Are Solution or Project files so bad?

I worked on a project where someone used Visual Studio Code for their IDE and built everything using the command-line dotnet.exe...without a solution file.

For the Microsoft devs out there: Yeah, I know. I can even hear you wincing! Files. Were. Everywhere. Some didn't have namespaces. Config files were in a separate folder outside all of the code. It wasn't pretty.

Solution and Project files give you a simple way to say, "Load this project based on this one file, and I'll place them in an organized fashion so you can understand the project." There are times when I usually don't feel like pointing to a folder and play, "guess where my code is at."

Windows/Mobile Designers

Say what you want about how big Visual Studio is, but it has some awesome designers for Windows applications and Xamarin (mobile) development.

Of course, some of the other IDEs are missing these features, but for good reason. Visual Studio was meant to provide an all-in-one package for development, regardless of the operating system.

Extension(s) as a Package

If you've used Visual Studio for a while, you have no doubt heard of Resharper from JetBrains. This one extension for Visual Studio has more functionality and productivity enhancements than I care to cover (but I have here and here).

In other IDEs, you need to install a number of various extensions just to come up to speed on something relatively close to a full-featured installation of Resharper on Visual Studio 2017 or 2019.

While Rider from JetBrains includes their own "Resharper" technology, it's probably the closest thing to working with Resharper in Visual Studio, but it still doesn't feel comfortable enough yet.

As I said before, maybe I'm just spoiled.

Conclusion

Using each of these IDEs, I keep coming back to Visual Studio because of the improvements made to it over the years.

Microsoft continues to improve Visual Studio by adding more and more developer requests and language support.

Did I miss a feature? Why do you keep coming back to Visual Studio? Are you using VS Code instead of Visual Studio 2019? Post your comments below and let's discuss.

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