DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion. I don't work for the Visual Studio Team. If you write an article about this and quote me as "The Principal Program Manager for Something Major" then you are a silly person.
The next version of Visual Studio is being worked on and the Beta is coming out soon that we'll all get to download. The Visual Studio design team put a post out today called "Introducing the New Developer Experience" and many of the comments are negative. Some folks are freaking out about the colors and the icons.
Because the first blog post from Visual Studio was on the new look and feel (and because everyone is Metro-styling everything) the public perception is that no work has been happening except the icons and colors have changed.
This is my blog, not hosted, run, organized or written by anyone but me. My post, my blog, my opinions. My initial reaction to the redesign was who moved my cheese? Why are we making everything gray? But I've been running this for a few weeks and I have some perspective even though I'm not on the Visual Studio team (I work on the web team).
There's basically three issues here as I see it.
- First, the new look of Visual Studio.
- Second, look side, what actual new features are in the new Visual Studio.
- Last, what this new look means to Windows applications and app design in general
The New Look
It's dramatic. It's initially gray. There is a light theme and a dark theme. Here's the VS11 next to VS10. It's still Visual Studio, so that's something, but the skin has changed.
The dark theme in Visual Studio 11 looks a lot like my current Text Editor of Choice (and the new hotness everyone is talking about) Sublime Text 2. Here are the two side by side. They are pretty similar. There's only so many ways you can make a minimal UI with a text editor, line numbers, a find dialog and a scrollbar. I actually blogged about simplifying your Visual Studio 2010 a while back. Just turn the toolbars off. You don't need them. In fact, the Web Team (the team I'm on) has a simplified Code View that we've had available since VS 2010.
See how Visual Studio looks very different below than it does above? It's customizable so you can get a number of weird looks. I also blogged about how to change your themes and make VS 2010 look like 2008 here. Also, did you know about http://studiostyl.es? It's a growing list of themes for Visual Studio. There's hundreds. I called some out in