back to article Hated Visual Studio 11 beta in HIGH-ENERGY colour blast

Microsoft is breaking out the paints and giving the next Visual Studio a dash of colour after its drab John Major-inspired beta was branded hideous, monstrous and depressing by thousands of coders. VS11: Radiating blue energy The company said it has "increased the 'energy' level of the Visual Studio 11 themes" in the Visual …

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I still dont think it looks as good as 2010....

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Trollface

It may grow on you

I never liked the looks of Windows Vista, but it eventually grew on me (albeit in Windows 7). I wanted to hate the ribbon UI, but after a few months I'd learned where everything was (and that you can collapse the ribbon).

VS 2010 does everything I want, so I don't see a compelling reason to upgrade yet. If C++ to have the same degree of freakishly good intellisense that C# enjoys I'd be interested, but I respect that's a very tall order.

<troll> Heh, I don't need C++ intellisense, I'm just that damn good at it. </troll>

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Coat

Re: It may grow on you

so does athlete's foot, but that doesn't mean I want it

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ALL CAPS MENUS

AAAAAAARGH!

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Thumb Up

Re: It may grow on you

C++ intellisense isn't that impossible. QTCreator does a fantastic job of it, and is a free IDE besides. It's sort of magical.

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So you think VS 2010 looks good?

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Joke

Darn, so I cannot use my Hercules graphics card after all

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Coat

"a lot of actionable feedback"

that's "actionable" as in "we've taken the comments on board, and will address them", not "actionable" as in "we could sue you for this"?

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But will they be the right colours

These days it seems the chances of a program correctly using the user's colour preferences from the system's settings is approximately zero :(

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Oddly enough...

This is interesting to me, because, as a Steinberg Nuendo & Cubase owner, I have noticed the exact same syndrome: those idiots are determined to remove every bit of color from the interface and make it a dull gray, and that would be a gray as uniform as possible. For some reason they think the app will be more usable if *nothing* stands out - including controls, buttons, and widgets.

Evidently there are stupid people at both Microsoft and Steinberg who think that the Steam Client is the ideal model for a productivity app, and that by dulling down the interface (new term there, notice!) the app will become so popular that they will end up as rich as Gabe Newell, (without, they certainly assume, having to be as grossly and life-threateningly obese).

Then again, isn't the new Win8 logo also a uniform dark gray?

Well, I don't use Visual Studio,and I am not going to migrate to Win8 from my current XP, but I am looking into ditching the Steinberg apps and migrating to StudioOne, and Digital Performer 8. Those do not seem to be intended for people who are either colorblind, or who wish that they were colorblind.

PS I notice that the folder tree in the VS screencap has no lines connecing the folders in the let-hand navigation pane - just like the new, inferior Windows Explorer! Looks just like Dolphin. What are they trying to prove, I wonder...

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Re: Oddly enough...

Add Apple in too. No idea why. iTunes has gone monochrome, the icons in Finder have suffered the same fate. Annoying.

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Go

Re: Oddly enough...

Nuendo & Cubase - I'm with you on that. I'm assuming Steinberg are sucking all the colour out of their software to make it look more like Pro Tools, which has been drab grey for as long as I can remember.

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Re: Oddly enough...

Don't forget iTunes. That's been getting duller with each release.

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Re: Oddly enough...

It's a side effect of the global economic crisis. Even software companies are having to cut back and yes that means user interfaces will tend to have less color too. When every pixel is a premium it just isn't viable to use bright colors. They walk the talk but can they talk the walk? the answer is invariably 'perhaps'

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@Turtle

Not using Nuendo / Cubase myself but I am a passionate sound designer; I can't help wonder if the decision by Steinberg is more driven by Ableton than that what drove Microsoft.

Because you see; sometimes having a dull flat gray screen actually works out quite well. Ableton Live (Suite 8) (link) is an DAW which existed for 10 years now and as you can notice by the logo and screenshots on that page: its interface is completely grey. And before anyone wonders about the "colorful blocks"; that isn't the program itself, those merely represent your audio data.

By default Ableton Live only uses grey for its interface combined with yellow to indicate selected options (system options, instrument options as well as channel on/off), red to indicate a record mode and blue to indicate an individual selected track and the main "individual" volume. And finally orange to indicate a "special" option; if a track has been set to "monitoring" (it continues to pick up audio input, no need to arm it) then the indicator will be orange. Orange is also used in the interface of some instruments (for example to be able and define a waveform in their Operator synthesizer) as well as volume and balance controls (dials).

But that's it! All audio channels have the same dull grey color, the only one which is shown to be light grey is the selected track. All instruments and effects sit in a grey box which apart from a yellow selection bar is completely grey; even the icons representing folders and different type of objects (presets, instrument/effect object, 'grouped' object).

The main issue here should be obvious: what works for some doesn't have to work for others.

Within the context of Live I actually enjoy such an interface because it helps me focus on what matters to me. If I'm recording audio then I don't care about good looks or such; all I care for is that as much CPU power as possible is used to process my recording as good as possible and in the mean time having some good indicators to see what is going on.

That is what Ableton gives me; the program itself is flat grey and my data is colored so I can always immediately see whats going on.

Needless to say but as much as I enjoy this design in Ableton (IMO its a key feature) I hate it in Visual Studio. In VS it just doesn't add up for me; different programs, different uses.

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Re: Oddly enough...

"'To paraphrase your post, 'I don't use the program we're talking about but I do feel like attacking two entirely unrelated programs and gratuitously mention that I'm still using an eleven-year old operating system because I like mouthing off on the internet'".

Let me make it a bit clearer for you because you really need it, not having been able to grasp the point, which was plainly stated in my original post: the roundly-condemned monochrome design "philosophy" currently espoused by the designers of the VS GUI is the same as that espoused by the stupid people who design the UI for the Steinberg apps. Most people would agree that this make the mention of the Steinberg apps in this context entirely appropriate, but, sadly, the surfeit of stupidity with which you are burdened makes it impossible for you to see this.

But we were glad to read your response, though. It made us remember life's less fortunate.

ktnxbai!

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@ShelLuser Re: @Turtle

ShelLuser:

I don't use Ableton and have never tried it. It does not seem to be suitable for what I do. But it is an odd coincidence that you bring it up, because, while I can't say anything about the color-scheme, the first time I saw Ableton screencaps I noticed its "flat look" i.e. no "faux-3D" widgets or graphic representation of hardware and so forth.

It seems to me that after Ableton's release, Steinberg began to shift their GUI philosophy to the same flat, 2D look. And I noticed this almost immediately after Steinberg's releases following Ableton's debut. Personally, I don't like it at all. In Cubase and Nuendo, having elements with a 3D look to them helps the eye to make sense out of what is necessarily a very busy environment. I don't know how "busy" the Ableton environment gets, but you seem to find it no problem. But it seems to me that Steinberg's "importation' of the 2D monochrome look into their apps is a big, big mistake.

Thanks for the comments, which give some new insight into the problem.

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ob HHGTTG quote

"When you press this black button on a black background a black sign lights up black to tell you that you pressed it"

Must have been built by a species whose eyes responded to different wavelengths - or they jsut didn't have any imagination.

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FAIL

Re: Oddly enough...

iTunes was never pretty, but I agree that somehow it went from bad to worse and a lot of things have been following.

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Re: Oddly enough...

Does this remind anybody of the black spaceship in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"?

Maybe there are some Douglas Adams fan there?

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So while they were performing their usual routine (Windows Start Bar, VS colouring, etc.):

1) Break something deliberately obvious and stupid for no reason

2) Wait for everyone to shout.

3) Change back to what it was already "based on customer feedback"

in order to make you think they are actually doing something, what have they actually stripped out of the program or incorporated that people were too blinkered by the "it's grey" setting to find?

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I must try that New Coke everyone's talking about.

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Unhappy

Oh no not again

They bring out new versions of VS faster than you can buy the bloody things.

I gave up buying the damn thing at 10 and now use the free web dev studio download, the free MVC download and the free C# download, so at least I'm not having to fork out all the time for something that has the lifespan of a mayfly.

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JDX
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Re: Oh no not again

Once every 1-2 years, what a break-neck development speed.

I'm still on 2008 because I don't feel compelled to buy every new version.

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xyz

Re: Oh no not again

The trouble with every new version is that there seems to be a super cool, groovy, "must have" new way of doing things (usually to do with data) which causes all developers to go off on a "must keep up" jerk-off-a-thon and by the time you've beaten the buggers back into submission, washed down the walls and got the projects back on track, a new version crawls out the woodwork.

And don't get me started on TFS, I've got 5 developers here having a continuous group wank for the past 4 months trying to get the thing automated up to its jacksi because it'll aid development (i.e look good on their CVs)....... They'll be needing those CVs very shortly..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh no not again

You should have probably just fired them for using TFS. It was your first clue.

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Windows

This year's fashion!

1. Grey is in

2. Grey on grey is HOT

3. ALL CAPS IS BACK!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: This year's fashion!

4. ???

5. PROFIT!

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Re: This year's fashion!

NO SOUP FOR YOU

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Improving but still some way to go

This version looks better but it's still not right and why is the menu shouting at me now?

Adding 4 blue pixels to a grey icon doesn't really make it coloured but it's better than nothing.

I still miss the gradients, etc that denoted different areas of the main window, VS11 seems to blur together into a faceless grey mass. I'd rather have them back than the extra line of code gained by removing them (the other two lines come from removing a toolbar).

I do like the idea of the coloured status bar.

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Re: Improving but still some way to go

Ah man why did a clip of the knights who say Ni talking about a shrubbery spring into my head as I read your comment?

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FAIL

Re: Improving but still some way to go

The problem is that Microsoft have produced a brain-dead ultra-depressing UI so now they are adding in a "little bit" of colour and the fanbois claim that this is a "great step forward".

I'm sorry but this is just a tiny bit of lipstick on a great fat pig.

And don't get me started on the CAPS....

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Coat

OS X

Wish Apple would put the colour back in OS X too, it's all very grey these days.

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Re: OS X

And the rainbow back in their logo. I liked that one better.

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WTF?

hmm

So from largely grey to largely white with over-the-top splashes of colour

And all caps for menus WTF?

And as one of the colourblind people in the audience, making some of your dark grey buttons dark blue doesn't exactly distinguish them ( I know they're those colours as I enlarged the picture and checked out the hex codes)

And the chrome icons??? please replacing easily distinguishable-at-a-glance icons with a small grey rectangle with a tiny icon next to it?

AND THE CAPS FOR MENUS

If this is metrofication, metro is going to be hideously difficult to use

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Hmm, back when I developed for Windows

The operating system came with all the GUI stuff coded in. Which made GUIs more or less consistent, particularly when it came to things like colour.

Windows is hardware independent, you can never be sure if the hardware the user has can even display "red" or "green". If it's CGA it most likely cannot. So people just made buttons and other controls, leaving the OS to deal with colours.

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Devil

As fickle is fashion

Graphical design these days has less to do with the user and more to do with the trends and bullsh*t associated with the fashion industry, much like when you hear the words 'neon pink is the new black'. in the end it all comes back to the beginning which is why my money is on green text on black backgrounds.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As fickle is fashion

And a lot more work would probably get done if the deskbound lusers were still on Amstrad PCWs.

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Windows

Use skins

Don't like how it looks? then stop bitching and change it. Too lazy? then download a popular design done by someone else. There is no need to force upon the users how it should look.

http://www.csszengarden.com/

http://www.winamp.com/skins

http://www.eqinterface.com/

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Headmaster

Re: Use skins

Have they said that it'll be skinable?

The themes pack for 2010 doesn't let you skin it...just kinda make it greener :-S

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Re: Use skins

Skins either honour the end-user's preferences or they are an insult to them. In the former case, they are superfluous. In the latter case, they are Evil.

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Alert

Re: Use skins

Well from the scotopic sensitivity front, I don't find that skins really help. What I want is the ability to:

a) honor my system settings wherever it makes sense (e.g. basic window settings, bars, buttons, backgrounds, etc.)

2) allow me to override all these individually to present information in the manner it makes the most sense to me (not to some wet-behind-the-ears marketing wank fresh out of the Joe's Garage School of Design, Inc.)

Microsoft needs to realize that the tool is supposed to serve the user, not the other way around.

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Stop

Oh for god's sake.

They made some changes to the interface, people didn't like them, so they responded and addressed some of the criticisms.

Would you rather they just told everyone to fuck off and not bothered to address any critisims at all?

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...well it "works" for Adobe

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FAIL

The general criticism was too bland and icons indistinguishable without study. They've responded by changing the colour of the bland and putting spots of (not high contrast) colour about the place randomly, so pretty much they have told everyone to fuck off, this time in white

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If you tolerate this, your Sharepoint will be next

The decisions they are making fly in the face of good UI design and they can't justify it.

It's not like I can't drag my eyes to the code window from the toolbars in VS2010 because they're so damn-fucking-distractingly beautiful.

And they are taking the piss with their whack-a-mole ALL_CAPS stunts.

Sadly, if they did the same with Sharepoint Designer I think you would just accept it.

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good but

does it still completely fuck VS 2010 and VS 2008 if installed on the same machine?

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Better... But

Thank god they have brought back colour to the UI - it's already looking orders of magnitude better than before, just with a few coloured icons.

BUT WHY IS THE MENU BAR SHOUTING AT ME???

UI Design 101 - Lower case letters are easier to read, and colour makes interfaces easier to navigate. Obviously the Microsoft designers missed the first day of UI class...

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Re: Better... But

They flip-flopped in both directions with the ALL CAPS thing in several areas of the Beta/RC. Nicely inconsistent :rolleyes:

But the ALL CAPS menu really is a shocker. Just so bloody wrong!

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