Friday, November 04, 2005

First Impressions Of Visual Studio 2005 RTM

I installed Visual Studio 2005 RTM yesterday, and - as a first endurance test - tried to convert one of our larger Visual Studio 2003 projects to the new environment. The conversion finished successfully, but the compilation raised several errors:

  • One self-assignment ("a = a") caused an error (this was not even a warning under .NET 1.1), I guess this can be toggled by lowering the compiler warning level. Anyway it is a good thing the compiler pointed that out, as the developer's intention clearly was to write "this.a = a". Luckily the assignment to "this.a" happened already in the base class as well.

  • Typed Datasets generated by the IDE are not backward compatible, as the access modifiers for InitClass() have changed to "private". We had a subclass which tried to invoke base.InitClass(), hence broke the build.

  • The new compiler spit out several naming collision errors, when equally named third party components were not access through their fully qualified names (although in the code context, due to the type they were assigned to, it was clear which type to use) The .NET 1.1 compiler used to have no problem with that.

  • Visual Studio 2005 also crashed once during compilation. I had to compile one project individually in order to get ahead.

After fixing those issues, our application could be built. But I faced runtime problems as well, e.g. a third party library (for XML encryption) which suddenly produced invalid hash results (sidenote: XML encryption is now supported by .NET 2.0 - my colleagues and me were joking that this might be just another case of DOS Ain't Done 'Til Lotus Won't Run).

Don't get me wrong, Visual Studio 2005 is a cool product with lots of long-awaited features. When starting a project from scratch, I would be tempted to jump board on 2005. But with .NET 1.1 legacy projects lying around, there is just no way we can migrate to 2005 yet.

By the way, wiping an old Visual Studio 2005 Beta or CTP version is a nightmare (you are expected to manually uninstall up to 23 components in the correct order)! Luckily Dan Fernandez helped out with the Pre-RTM Visual Studio 2005 Automatic Uninstall Tool.