Blend 3.0 and VS 2010 :-(

Saturday, January 23, 2010 / Posted by Luke Puplett /

This post was written while I was discovering issues with Blend and VS 2010 Beta 2 and publiched in a rush (I’m on my way out but I want to get this out there). Look see, I haven’t even got the time to correct published.

I’ve hastily posted this from a draft I was working on in Windows Live Writer (loving this app aside from the BR tags google seems to add) because I publicly moaned on Twitter about the fact that Blend and now VS 2010 had gotten slow under the weight of WPF – I ordered a 512Mb DDR3 video card yesterday to try and help it - and a guy named Noah Richards purportedly from the IDE Editor Team in Redmond had his bionic Twitter ears on and heard my wimpering. So I thought I’d publish the raw notes I’d been making for him to read…


MS built VS2010 on super h/w so its slow for me. I must order a super card to run VS2010. Then I can make s/w my customers think is slow.


@lukepuplett My 1GB/single core VMs beg to differ – there are some people with beefy machines, but most are used for server08r2 + hyper-V.

Blend 3.0

Still no right click copy in code editor.

Isolating controls to work on them is improved.

I think about it all too much instead of getting on and using it.

Don’t trust it not to screw my XAML up. Everything I do, I do tentatively, holding my breath waiting for it to explode. And this is learnt behaviour, for it crashes with such regularity.

I found the sample data feature and read about it but within 20 clicks of using it I had broken it.

InvalidCastException: Unable to cast object of type ‘_SampleData.v7.GuideSearchResultsSampleDataItemCollection’ to type ‘System.Windows.Data.CollectionView’

Of course, the problem is that I don’t care for why this happened or to find out. I just want it to work and when it doesn’t, to tell me why or to prevent me making the action in the first place. And besides, I don’t know how to troubleshoot this because its not my code that’s throwing, its Blend’s magic sample data design-time wiring.

Isn’t Blend aimed at creative people or do modern designers have to learn type theory??

WPF is powerful because it leverages the .NET Framework. But Blend doesn’t work well enough to completely insulate the user from having to know and think in .NET.

Our creative brain is on the right but our logical brain is on the left. As an artist I learned that we work our best when one or the other is dominating the processing.

This page features a nice table of the left and right brain functions.

Blend doesn’t let my right brain dominate for long enough for me to flow.

Traditionally web development uses a lot of sliced imagery. This is because drawing applications are typically reliable and easy to use and allow the designer to roam freely around her creative mind, playing. Then they cut the image up and sew it onto an HTML chassis and let a programmer merge it with some stuff from a database.

Because its unenjoyable I wonder if it means designers may not refine apps as they find it too painful and think “That’ll do”. The World could end up with slightly worse software because the tools are painful. It’s like how the mobile internet only took off when Apple made the tool enjoyable (iPhone).

In fact, if I’d started this project with XAML and its toolset, I’d have thrown in the towel within weeks. Maybe I’m not cut from UI devigner’s cloth.

As for my problem with the sample data, I won’t use that ever again. I’ll go back to my way of doing it which was to design the component in another project and then cut and paste the XAML over.

Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2

Same problem as in VS 2010 with right-clicking highlighted text removes highlight while context menu is open.

And VS 2010 editing is now painfully slow. This doesn’t surprise me as a WPF programmer because Windows Presentation Foundation is big.

I’m sure I’m not alone in that my first thoughts with WPF were that such an enormously complicated object model must come at a price. Layers of objects with so many members and events flying both up and down a deep visual tree.

Toolbar customization is a backward step. I cannot assign icons or edit tool buttons in place.

Collapsible region highlighting distracts me and the +/- buttons aren’t perfectly lined up, making them take a nanosecond longer to use. Pasting collapsed methods, opens them.

Scrolling doesn’t feel as fast. Parts of the screen don’t draw properly, sometimes the whole VS real-estate flickers on and off and I see my desktop for a brief moment.

Switching between code editor/designer tabs takes ~1 second :(

Mostly its not terrible but the difference that I feel the most is in the text editor, and of course that’s where I spend most of my time. The IntelliSense is a bit slower and it just tips it over to the wrong side of satisfactory.

The hourglass fails to appear in many situations leaving me trying to click things and hovering over buttons to see if the window has frozen.

Some resources failed to resolve, leaving the designer to miss rendering parts of my view. An error in the Error List indicated that an xmlns reference could not be resolved. I removed the reference below:


And then I replaced the reference because I wanted to look further into the issue resolving that Expression reference but undoing my changes led to the issue being resolved. I reloaded the designer for my view and that too all worked, presumably because the resources had now built.

Incidentally, copying and pasting the text above from App.xaml to this blog entry resulted in the App.cs file unexpectedly opening – since uninstalling “Copy from Visual Studio for Windows Live Writer” this seems to have stopped happening.

Loading multiple-projects seems to be a bit faster and they’re sorted A-Z now. Builds seem a bit quicker, particularly if its dependencies were only just built.

And generally it is a nicer place to be that 2008. Visual Studio has been a wonderful piece of software since 2005 and wasn’t ever bad at all. I often wonder if I could ever get on using another major technology stack because I’d miss VS too much.

Remember I’ve posted this without checking it or removing google’s BRs. Here goes nothing.


Comment by Luke Puplett on Friday, January 29, 2010

I code on older kit as I beleive that non-gamers have average hardware and its easy with WPF to forget how cumbersome it is for customers down the food chain.

I use a 2.8Ghz HTT with a 128Mb NV 5200FX at 1680x1050.

Interestingly due to an unrelated hardware problem, I am temporarily running at 1024x768 and although unusuable at this res both products are responsive. This is as I expected. Sadly, UPS have delivered my new 3850 to the wrong address but I will come back and update this thread when it arrives.

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