back to article Microsoft to rethink crash-prone Visual Studio extension model, shift towards cloud

Microsoft is creating a new extensibility model for Visual Studio, its Windows IDE for coding everything from desktop applications to cloud-hosted microservices. Extensions are a critical part of any IDE, both for third-party integrations and for specialist features that would add bloat if built into the core product. There …

  1. Robert Grant

    Agree with the VSCode suggestion

    This seems like a job that will be impossible not to botch by a caretaker team (of expert engineers, no doubt), with the real innovation and support for modern dev environments happening in VSCode.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Agree with the VSCode suggestion

      I've been using VSCode and am finding that to be a nasty bloaty mess. With a dark colour scheme.

      Things that I like about a good IDE include quick'n'easy build setup. Honestly, faffing about with cmake / autotools / makefiles / etc is simply ridiculous. One of the really good things about Visual Studio is that it brings almost everything needed to build in with it when installed, and makes it pretty easy to get other libraries and such through nuget.

      The way "fashionable" build systems (like cmake) are going is ridiculous. With those, one effectively still has to have an entire OS installation setup for one's build, carefully tailored to have every dependency in place, suffering from the myriad different ways in which dependencies and software can be packaged up, installed, built, etc. It's nuts. A development environment should not depend on what libraries and other files the underlying OS has got installed. I've seen developers spend more time getting vagrant files right than they spend writing the damned software.

      When a whole new area of professional expertise crops up, starts paying people and gets called dev-ops, you know that something somewhere has gone badly wrong in a big way.

      Rust seems to be doing some good things: build, dependency fetching and executable packaging being an inherent part of the language standard, not something added on as an afterthought. I think a lot could be learned from looking at what they've done and tearing the vast majority of the edifices that have been built up around other languages and starting again. Rust also seems to have wholeheartedly embraced the idea of a language server instead of a compiler; that's definitely a huge advance in the cause of having a sensible IDE.

      1. chololennon

        Re: Agree with the VSCode suggestion

        "I've been using VSCode and am finding that to be a nasty bloaty mess. With a dark colour scheme."

        It's a nasty bloat mess only if you start adding plugins without control, otherwise it's a simple editor.

        "The way "fashionable" build systems (like cmake) are going is ridiculous..."

        It seems that you don't have a clue about how to use CMake. I've spent several years writing multiplatform software in C/C++ for Windows/Linux/Solaris/macOS (with all their variants, 32/64 bits, Intel/Sparc, RHEL 3-8, etc). I have to say that CMake is the best tool we have now for that task. It is not perfect, the syntax is ugly, but no other tool provide the level of support for multiplaform/multicompiler programming that CMake does.

  2. Warm Braw

    Crash-prone bloat

    Unfortunately, the more recent versions of Visual Studio have become ever more bloated and crash-prone - or, more frustratingly, simply-not-working-prone, even before you start adding in extensions.

    And it's not even as if it's simply accumulated cruft - I recently had to install VS2017 in order to convert an old .NET Core project so I could open it with VS2019 - the conversion functionality existed only in VS2017 and had subsequently been removed, despite VS2019's multi-Gigabyte footprint.

    The whole MS development ecosystem needs a thoroughgoing overhaul.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Crash-prone bloat

      don't worry... Moving everything to the 'Cloud' will make it all wonderfull, sweet smelling, Trump was nevet elected in 2016, BREXIT will never happen and oh, the sky is blue even though it is pissing down with rain.

      Yes, I'm not impressed with this desire for everything to be in the cloud. My main dev sytstem is not connected to the internet. The copy of a real prod DB on it is highly confidential.

      The last thing my boss would want is for that to get hacked or even worse slurped.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Extensions are "difficult to write"

    Today's in-proc extensions have minimal restrictions over how they can influence the IDE and other extensions. Thus, they are free to corrupt Visual Studio if the extension experiences an error or crash.

    Uh-huh. Yep. And who let that happen? Hmmmmmmmm?

    Yup, let's move it to the Cloud. That'll fix everything. Don't forget to re-write it in Rust. Because Rust In Cloud Is Safety And It Don't Crash. Webscale!!

    1. ckm5

      Re: Extensions are "difficult to write"

      MS Office extensions are now written in Javascript, don't know what's worse...

      1. bazza Silver badge

        Re: Extensions are "difficult to write"

        Javascript? Aaaarrrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh! (reaches for notepad.exe, and the simplistic beauty of unadorned monospaced text).

    2. Jay Lenovo

      Re: Extensions are "difficult to write"

      A spoonful of cloud, a cup of bitcoin, and anything else that diverts from addressing the actual design issues.

    3. Doug 3

      Re: Extensions are "difficult to write"

      Aren't they the professional software development company which invented ActiveX controls?

      For a technology company they sure seem to suck at writing software but we already knew that since UNIX and even Linux were stable OS's back in the 1990s while Microsoft was still rewriting how the Ctl-Alt-Del buttons were used and picking the color of the crash screen. Now, we see them leveraging open source software to replace their failed attempts( Internet Explorer -> MS Edge built off of WebKit ).

      Relying on this company and their treadmill is one way to keep paying the bills if you are a software developer and like things breaking all the time. Or you work in IT support. Once I'd switched customers over to Linux I was feeling like the "Maytag Repairman".

  4. karlkarl Silver badge

    Honestly sometimes I think my colleagues need to stop faffing with plugins and actually do some work.

    1. Maelstorm Bronze badge

      Some of my colleges just need to stop flapping period and actually use their keyboards for once instead of that 'flute.'

  5. Chris Beach

    Code isn't VS, and MS should definitely not try to make Code into VS, whatever the winner of a popularity contest.

    As for extensions, not had any major issues tbh, but I don't use a massive amount or any that try to really change the core ide

  6. MatthewSt

    Necessary Extensions

    It's all well and good saying that VS Code has more extensions, but that's because a lot of the functionality that those extensions provide is already baked in to full Visual Studio

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Necessary Extensions

      And there's duplicates. Really, just how many C/C++ plugins does there need to be? Having to find out what the "best" plugin currently is is very annoying.

    2. parperback parper

      Re: Necessary Extensions

      Extensions and plug ins are a really great idea!

      Until you use two of them.

  7. airbrush


    Things improved with Vs when much of the code analysis moving out of process so I rarely get out of memory errors these days however a move to 64bit is long overdue. Been waiting for resharper to move out of process for years, to be honest take away one or two features that improve the unit test experience no end and they're dead in the water, it's a bit scandalous that vs has such obvious gaps while costing so much.

  8. razorfishsl

    MS can barely keep their own 365 shit under control in the cloud....

    now they want to force IDE based development into the cloud?

  9. Maelstorm Bronze badge

    That will escalate quickly...

    IDE plugin development in the cloud? Who the fuck thought that was a good idea? That a really good way to have your crown jewels stolen. Microsoft has already proven that they are incompetent with their Office 360 crap (And yes, it's crap.) And if the IDE goes into the cloud (we all know it eventually will), then when the cloud goes down, not only can you not get your email or work on documentation, but you won't be able to get any code work done either.

    The cloud...a bad idea that just keeps getting worse.

  10. rmullen0

    Who cares if VS Code is more popular? I want a tool that does the job, and that is Visual Studio. Code sucks as far as I'm concerned. Why they created that retarded competing IDE is beyond me. Also, probably the vast majority of the extensions could be eliminated and no one would miss them. Does this mean Microsoft could build VS as 64 bit finally???

  11. YetAnotherJoeBlow

    I have several IDE's. I use each IDE on only what they are good at. If I get a call that something has gone wrong with some new code, I always seem to fall back to Sublime Text. It starts in an instant and is ready to go. Most all of my builds use make files and ST is just a pleasure to use in that environment.

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