Visual Studio Express 2008 – First thoughts.

It’s been about a week since I downloaded Visual Studio Express Editions and I have done some fair (not too much) bit of coding using VC++ Express and not so much with Visual Web Developer. Didn’t touch any other editions as yet, so I am going to be very C++ centric with this one. Generally, the UI in new Visual Studio Express has become more responsive. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying 2005 was unresponsive but sometimes it took judicious amounts of time to open Dialog boxes. For example the Configuration dialog box took some time to come up initially, I mean the first time it was brought up, so did the search dialog. No such problems with this version, cool, that was a nag!

The compiler speed has increased, not by too much but it has. I must say I do use the /MP option a lot, but I still generally feel the speed of compilation is a little bit faster. Maybe on a faster machine the compiler could be a magnitude faster, but I still run a 3GHz 2 core machine that is 2 years old now. It’s always nice to have a faster compiler, especially if your project takes about 15 min to compile from scratch and is heavily templatized!

On the other side I have had crashes with the express editions, 4 times to be exact. Considering it’s been only a week, that’s just too many times I must say. Not much has changed since 2005, even then, I must say the express edition is pretty good. It does a lot of things not easily attainable in other IDEs and C++ compilers. People have complained about not having a resource editor; it’s not too much of a hindrance to a game developer like me who pretty much has no need for a resource editor. In any case there are a lot of free resource editors around that you could easily use to edit your resources, or just use wxWidgets!

On the whole the express edition of C++ is good. Hey and best of all, the express editions are free, should we even be complaining!

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