Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 is now available. That means all of the cool things Microsoft have been tempted us with for the last few years are available to use: Linq, Linq to SQL, Lambda Expressions, (more stable) WPF Designer!

Something I didn't realise until now, is that the "WPF Application" option hasn't replaced the old "Windows Forms Application" option. You can still create .NET 3.5-targeted, good old Windows Forms. As it turns out, it's a good job, because the WPF designer just doesn't cut it. Here's some things I noticed within 5 minutes of trying to build a simple WPF App:

  • The property grid doesn't have an option to show Events
  • The property grid doesn't have an option to sort alphabetically
  • There's no drop-down above the property grid showing all the objects on your forms
  • There are massive rendering issues in the designer on my machine (Vista)

Being the final beta and with a Go-Live licence, I was hoping this was all going to be pretty stable, but it really isn't good enough. Sure, the property grid looks like a complete rewrite in WPF, and I admire them for that, but unless it's going to ship working at least as well as the old one, is it really worth it?

The final point, about rending issues is quite a bug. Sometimes controls just don't appear on the form until I click where they should be. If I run my application and then close it (so VS gets focus back), the form is completely blank. Waving the mouse around clicking reveals all of the controls.

All in all, I'm not impressed with the WPF Designer, and I won't be building my next application in WPF!

I don't know how Microsoft choose to categories their properties, so I always use A-Z view. When I've got controls obscuring other controls, I used to use that nice drop-down. Why must I know switch to XAML just to find my control? Why must I go via XAML to see my event handlers?

Let's hope this changes before VS2008 ships!!

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