Eclipse, Visual Studio, and Ward Cunningham

As Rich Main blogged in mid-October, Ward Cunningham recently left Microsoft for a job at the Eclipse Foundation. I found this especially fascinating considering that, after over 4 years of developing with Java, a job change recently required me to begin using C# for automated testing. The pain of doing so has surprised me.

For some odd reason, I assumed that a product like Visual Studio made by a giant like Microsoft (and with a whopping $350+ price tag) would be at least comparable to, if not superior to, Eclipse (which, of course, is free). I was woefully incorrect. Some of the best features of Eclipse, such as auto-refactoring, are just not available. Other features have been implemented, but in a castrated form. It’s almost as if Visual Studio tries too hard to make things easy to do, and in the process destroys a great deal of the flexibility which made Eclipse so pleasant to use.

After using Visual Studio for a week or so, I gave up on it and have switched back to Eclipse and an open-source C# plugin which I found. The plugin offers syntax highlighting and not much else, so I’m essentially writing C# in a souped-up version of Notepad, but it’s still better than trying to make my way around VS. Maybe I just haven’t inculcated the Microsoft way of doing things yet, but I’ll take Eclipse and Java back any day. I’m sure Visual Studio is useful in many cases, but for writing automated tests against APIs it just stinks.

Ward must feel the same way.