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TOPIC: Breaking changes in VS

Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2441

  ic2's Avatar Topic Author ic2 Offline Posts: 497
Just read the message

"Unfortunately there are some breaking changes in this build that may result in Visual Studio locking up when you build a XSharp project. That is not good. We have heard about other project systems with similar effects. The problems seem to be related to changes in MsBuild."

This is typically Microsoft.

Oh, wait, I just read you strongly disagree with that because the first builds where smoothly with Visual Studio.

Pure beginners luck.

I even know people who can't remember having problems with Microsoft software. It's just a few people, but they actually exist. Or they have severe memory problems, which is more likely. This year I spent already nearly 2 full work weeks on software installation and following problem solving and 90% is trying to find out how I get some Microsoft product working. My laptop, which doesn't actually doesn't show many problems except that I have to reset it 50% of the times to get a network connection was impossible to update to Windows Creators version. I tried everything I could find and on answers.microsoft.com I asked for the meaning of 2 specific error codes which were logged. These were undocumented on docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/deploym...ws-10-upgrade-errors so I hope someone could tell me the meaning so I could probably find the cause. Microsoft moderators gave some unusable reply but nothing about the error codes. I finally decided to do a clean install. After I have solved all the problems and installed all the software I have one advantage of the Creators Update: I can postpone the next update for a full year. Every new Microsoft version gives more problems and is slower or takes more steps to do something than the previous. Every other update I run works smoothly: X#, Firefox, Filezilla, you name it, it works or problems are extremely rare.

Even after I decided to update Office 2016, completely the default way, (no idea why I did it, there was nothing I needed) this was happened after the next startup:



In Program and features you can start for a quick repair. This worked, but the next time, same problem. Tried twice. Tried the not quick repair. That was actually a complete reinstall (including entering my product key) and re-entering changed settings. And then it worked again. But I will never update this piece of shit ever again. How difficult can it be, delivering a working update?

Same goes for Visual Studio 2017. Most of the installation could not be finished. My Windows Universal Apps didn't work anymore in VS 2015. Using one of my 10 multiple 100 $ incidents, and the help of a very good support lady (there are some good people working for Microsoft) , who deleted all kind of directories manually and had to take ownership of others, I had a more or less working VS 2017 but 2015 remained crippled. After deinstalling VS 2017 everything worked again in VS 2015 and that's how I keep it. I don't even dare to install the Professional Version from Action Pack - no doubt it breaks something.

So I wish you all luck with solving the problem and I understand that you can not say, dear user, please use VS 2015 and stay away from everything newer. But it would be a wise advice!
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2442

  wriedmann's Avatar wriedmann Away Posts: 1573
Hi Dick,

please don't see it so bad!

The Windows systems have become so complex, and also Visual Studio is a very complex and large software package, so errors are absolutely normal.

I'm working also much with Linux (at least on the server side), and I can assure that I had several very discutable design decisions also in the Debian group, the Samba team and other large projects - changes that broke the compatibility to older installations and gave me severe problems.

Unfortunately, we programmers are humans and not only make errors in programming, but sometime take also bad decisions.

Wolfgang

P.S. I'm using Office 2010 on my machine - not because I don't like the newer versions, but because Access 2010 is the last version that can deal with the MDB files I need in a project. And yes, I have not installed VS 2017 because I don't need it.
Wolfgang Riedmann
Meran, South Tyrol, Italy
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.riedmann.it - docs.xsharp.it
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2443

  robert's Avatar robert Offline Posts: 1001
Dick,

It must be nice to live in a world where everything is white or black. Like an old western movie where you could immediately spot the good guys on the color of their hats.
Unfortunately reality is different.
The good news is that we were able to work around the problem: we were (ab)using something in Visual Studio for something that was not originally planned.

Let me give an explanation in XBase terms:
Assume you want to put a text control on a form. This control must be used to enter dates. To verify that the user enters a correct date you send the contents of the control to the CtoD() function. If the result is not an empty date then you assume the date is correct. After all: the specs of the CtoD function tell you it returns "The date value that corresponds to the numbers specified in <cDate>. If <cDate> is not a valid date, CToD() returns a NULL_DATE."

Now a new developer comes and changes something in the CtoD function. He is very clever and reasons that when someone sends in a date string where the month > 12 and the day <= 12 then they most likely swapped the day and month (i.o.w. were using an incorrect date format). So he decides that in cases like that he should swap the day and month values and returns a valid date where the original function would return an empty date.

And of course this new "enhanced" function breaks your validation code.

Now the question is: who made the mistake here? Who is to blame?

Robert
XSharp Development Team
The Netherlands
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Last edit: by robert.
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2444

  ic2's Avatar Topic Author ic2 Offline Posts: 497
Hello Wolfgang, Robert,

The Windows system is complex indeed, but my main problem here is that nobody can answer on even the meaning of the error codes. So installation problems remain unsolvable.

And almost every Microsoft product fails. What about the Office problem? It's a 100% standard installation. I've installed Office 2016 only because Office 2003 sometimes fails reading docx files. I prefer Office 2003 because it's way faster, take less steps (1 instead of 3 on saving a file for example) and only Excel 2003 can save as a .dbf file. But even a simple update of Office 2016 finally required a complete reinstall.

Microsoft has large resources. Instead of using these to make their products rock solid they use it to turn W10 in spyware and complicate almost every action. So yes Robert, unfortunately the software world is pretty black and white as every Microsoft product fails somehow (apart from Windows, Windows Server, Office I can already write a chapter about Azure too)and most of the other software programs I use have major problems. I don't know anything about Linux except that I know a few ex Windows users who went to Linux and tell me that it's far more stable.

Anyhow, Robert, good that you found the cause of the X#/VS 2017 problem and that maybe Microsoft is not to blame for it.
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2445

  NickFriend's Avatar NickFriend Online Posts: 193
Oh dear Dick!

I'm sure you have all these problems and they're not just the result of bad dreams ;-)but just for the sake of balance,and for anyone maybe beginning the move to .Net and wondering about Visual Studio after seeing your horror stories....

Like many others I've used VO since pre-release days, and continue to use it on a nearly daily basis for maintenance of old apps. But about 5 or 6 years ago I started the transition to .Net with C# and VS. Nowadays I hate the time I have to spend in VO, because of the limited functionality of the VO environment, and because of the limitations of the language compared to C# (and now X#).

Visual Studio is simply superb... productive, easy to use and utterly reliable. Now, I started with VS2010 (I think), then 2012, 2013. I didn't like 2015, it seemed very slow, so only ever handled one project with that. Now that 2017 has come out I find it comparable in speed again to 2013, so I've moved across to 2017.

Windows, no problems. I have automatic updates switched on and just let it do it's thing... no problems.

Azure, great. There's so much functionality that it can be confusing, but I keep it simple with a series of virtual servers running the server ends of our WCF-based applications, and it just works 100% of the time, good access speed, etc.

So I'm not saying you don't have all sorts of problems, but I think you're the exception, not the rule! One point, if you switch off updates and don't update Windows or other components for a couple of years, and then try to update all at once, then frankly of course you're going to have problems. With the best will in the world (and as someone else pointed out these products are now immensely complex) it's very difficult to reliably update software from any point in the past to a new fixed point. I hate it when our users don't update for several months because it makes the updating process so much more complex - we force them to do it multi-step going through each pending upgrade to make sure everything is correctly updated - whereas those users who simply accept the automatic update are always synchronized with us.

Anyway, I hope you solve all your myriad problems.

Nick
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2446

  wriedmann's Avatar wriedmann Away Posts: 1573
Hi Dick,

The Windows system is complex indeed, but my main problem here is that nobody can answer on even the meaning of the error codes. So installation problems remain unsolvable.


I had a discussion about support yesterday with my wife (she is also my partner in business, and where I'm responsible for desktop development, she is responsible for the web development in our small company).

The main problem about support is that you would need the best people in the support team because only very smart people can give a good support. But good people is not able to remain in the support team as the work is very frustrating, and most of the questions are very stupid and repeated over and over.

It is enough to see the questions that are posted in the various VO NGs: some of them are very stupid, and only a genius with some clairvoyant capabilities could answer them.

And returning to Microsoft: I have my doubts they have anyone that understands the entire system.... I have seen a few numbers of the Windows source code (now entirely in GIT as the Linux kernel): more than 300 GB of code with 3,5 millions of code files. The team has about 4.000 people, and every day about 2.500 pull requests.

Your Office installtion issue probably was somewhat related with your Windows installation, so it may be nearly impossible to identify the causes.

Regarding Linux: yes, it is rock solid - I have servers with years of uptime, but sometimes they make also mistakes or break the compatibility. The latest was that the Debian team has replaced MySQL by MariaDB, breaking my databases at the upgrade.

Wolfgang
Wolfgang Riedmann
Meran, South Tyrol, Italy
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.riedmann.it - docs.xsharp.it
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2447

  NickFriend's Avatar NickFriend Online Posts: 193

Wolfgang Riedmann wrote: The main problem about support is that you would need the best people in the support team because only very smart people can give a good support. But good people is not able to remain in the support team as the work is very frustrating, and most of the questions are very stupid and repeated over and over.

Sigh... this is so true!
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2448

  FFF's Avatar FFF Away Posts: 577
Wolfgang,
Your answer misses Dick's point: there should be a complete list of error codes available on the net. There have to be procedures in place which prevent the definition of a "new" code without solid explanation of meaning and entry in this (one) database.

BTW, 3.5GB of source for an OS? I shudder seeing that a simple OS install procuces over 100k files. Time for a big step back, and a new start... And no, i don't mean "*nix" - which is even morre of a dinosaur...
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2449

  wriedmann's Avatar wriedmann Away Posts: 1573
Hi Karl,

Your answer misses Dick's point: there should be a complete list of error codes available on the net. There have to be procedures in place which prevent the definition of a "new" code without solid explanation of meaning and entry in this (one) database.


This could be difficult with such an enormous project....

BTW, 3.5GB of source for an OS? I shudder seeing that a simple OS install procuces over 100k files. Time for a big step back, and a new start... And no, i don't mean "*nix" - which is even morre of a dinosaur...


the sources are 300 GB, the number of files is 3.5 millions.

I don't think someone on this world can afford it to rewrite a complete operating system like Windows or Linux. Even Apple took the BSD kernel for their iOS, and Google Linux for Android.
I don't think that all our code would be run on a completely rewritten operating system.

The sources of the actual Windows OS started with Windows NT 3 by Dave Cutler in the year 1988, and were largely inspired by DEC VMS, also developed by Dave Cutler. This OS became stable only with NT 4.0 in 1996. The GUI was mostly taken over from Windows 95.... and there was people saying that the TCP-IP network stack was copied over from FreeBSD.

For some time, the best experts of Windows networking were not working for Microsoft, but in the Samba team - they reverse engineered the protocol and knew it better than the MS people that had the sources, but no knowledge anymore.

Wolfgang
Wolfgang Riedmann
Meran, South Tyrol, Italy
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.riedmann.it - docs.xsharp.it
Last edit: by wriedmann.
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2457

  ic2's Avatar Topic Author ic2 Offline Posts: 497

Nick Friend wrote:
Nowadays I hate the time I have to spend in VO, because of the limited functionality of the VO environment, and because of the limitations of the language compared to C# (and now X#).

Visual Studio is simply superb... productive, easy to use and utterly reliable. Now, I started with VS2010 (I think), then 2012, 2013. I didn't like 2015, it seemed very slow, so only ever handled one project with that. Now that 2017 has come out I find it comparable in speed again to 2013, so I've moved across to 2017.

Nick


About the language I fully agree with you of course. That's why we follow or use X#. However, the VO environment IMO is vastly superior to VS in almost every respect. Simple samples: the ability to sort on last changed entities, to edit any number of entities and the order you want instead of the whole .cs/.prg at once, a very easy way (icons) to split a screen horizontal/vertical or both and unsplit it again which is impossible in VS and for the only working split I need to help file every time so I don't even use it anymore. Commenting and uncommenting in VO is Ctrl B and in VS you comment with something like Ctrl K Ctrl U Alt P and uncomment with Shift G Ctrl Q Alt D - I can give many more samples where objectively VS is light years behind VO. I do not doubt you found advantages, I certainly have found some too (Immediate Window can do more than VO's Ctrl X and it's possible to see the value of all elements of e.g. a list while VO stops at 256 elements, and the Peek Definition) but everything together I hate every second I work with VS.

What I found very interesting to read is that you consider VS 2015 slower than earlier versions. In my idea nothing much changed in speed and VS 2015 introduced the Peek Definition so I found it slightly better than earlier versions. I really expected much of VS 2017 but found it considerably slower than 2015, despite Microsoft's promise that it would be so much faster. There are many reports from people complaining about the same problem but maybe they have solved that problem somehow.

Nick Friend wrote:
So I'm not saying you don't have all sorts of problems, but I think you're the exception, not the rule! One point, if you switch off updates and don't update Windows or other components for a couple of years, and then try to update all at once, then frankly of course you're going to have problems.

With the best will in the world (and as someone else pointed out these products are now immensely complex) it's very difficult to reliably update software from any point in the past to a new fixed point.

Nick


Then the internet is full of exceptions apparently. You can quickly check that : I posted my VS 2017 problems in developercommunity.visualstudio.com/cont...ike-a-serious-s.html

It immediately got 130 people following. If I looked up on the keywords Visual Studio 2017 slow (or installation problems etc) I could find multiple similar postings daily, each with 100-300 followers, for weeks. So my estimate is that 1000's of VS 2017 users were having problems including those who did not react in these website. Which is a fairly high number. I think you can find 10.000's of exceptions with W10 problems which can easily multiplied by 100 at least meaning millions of people having one or more serious W10 problems.

And I do not postpone updating for years. I update my Windows security patches every 6-12 weeks which should be more than covered by the integrated KB updates containing all single previous ones - including the repairs of failing single updates in that period. And for Office - I don't see why such a program with a couple of pages of slightly adapted features should be updated in 8 pieces instead of 1 (my last update was from November 2016) unless its design is even worse than I already thought. I don't have these problems with our software either and further: in my opinion you have spend so much time (also compared to what we did) in writing perfectly "by the rule" designed software that I could hardly imagine that your software would fail when being updated delayed.
Last edit: by ic2.
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2458

  ic2's Avatar Topic Author ic2 Offline Posts: 497

Wolfgang Riedmann wrote: Hi Dick,

And returning to Microsoft: I have my doubts they have anyone that understands the entire system.... I have seen a few numbers of the Windows source code (now entirely in GIT as the Linux kernel): more than 300 GB of code with 3,5 millions of code files. The team has about 4.000 people, and every day about 2.500 pull requests.

Wolfgang


That's true of course. But again: why are these 4000 people working on so many unrequested features and changes, instead of trying to make Windows more rock solid and better serviceable when something fails. This is a quote of one of them, at least, it was one of them, and I fully agree with him.

I worked at M$ from 2014-2015.
MS has some very talented programmers. They're not very common, but they exist. The problem is that the entire company is completely and totally focused on developing an absurd number of new features and products, giving them completely unrealistic deadlines, and then shipping software on those deadlines no matter how half-assed or buggy it is.


news.ycombinator.com/item?id=109375266

Your Office installation issue probably was somewhat related with your Windows installation, so it may be nearly impossible to identify the causes.


This was on my other Pc. Certainly not problem free concerning Windows (I uninstalled the Creators Update a.o. because it broke Microsoft's own Desktop App Converter) but at least it updated. While for Office I had to do a full reinstall in the end.
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2459

  NickFriend's Avatar NickFriend Online Posts: 193
Hi Dick,

I think the most important thing in this is the "IMO".

I wasn't aiming to get involved in a debate about the pros and cons of MS products, just simply leave on the record the opinion of one user who is very content with having switched from VO to work in Visual Studio, as a counterpoint to your litany of problems.

Re. things like commenting and uncommenting code and other simple functions like that, just personalise the VS toolbar and that's that sorted.

All the best

Nick
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2465

  ic2's Avatar Topic Author ic2 Offline Posts: 497
Hello Nick,

Nick Friend wrote: Hi Dick,
I wasn't aiming to get involved in a debate about the pros and cons of MS products
Nick


I know, but it's fun from time to time, isn't it?

Apart from that I admire the ability of people to get used and actually like products which are objectively demonstrable (like more keystrokes, slower operation) more cumbersome to operate ;)

Re. things like commenting and uncommenting code and other simple functions like that, just personalise the VS toolbar and that's that sorted.


I know that too. But it's not possible to assign the same key combination to the 2 different functions so they are used as a toggle like in VO. Simple and elegant solutions like the Ctrl B VO (un)comment toggle certainly do not come from Microsoft. Ever. IMO.

Dick
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2466

  Chris's Avatar Chris Offline Posts: 1179
Hi Dick,

Well, as always I think it all has to do again with personal preferences, what people like and dislike most, how tolerant they are on certain things, how good they are at automatically avoiding "dangerous" situations etc.

As you know, I have very similar feelings with you about most things that MS (and not only MS) creates, actually I have stronger opinions than you on this matter and about even more related things! (although I suspect nobody here will believe me that there's indeed a person with stronger opinions than you on this matter! :-))

But since I have also met and talked with so many people that are having no problem at all dealing with all sorts of MS related things that personally drive me unimaginably nuts, I realized that for others the issues I am personally seeing are practically non existent for them and I respect that.

I agree it's fun talking about such matters, but IMO only with people that share the same thoughts! For everybody else, it's not much fun I think... So we should soon meet again and share our recent experiences with MS stuff together..and I have plenty myself that want to share with somebody that completely understands me on this subject :-)

Chris
XSharp Development Team
chris(at)xsharp.eu
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2467

  wriedmann's Avatar wriedmann Away Posts: 1573
Hi Dick,

only a last comment: you have the choice to use the products you like - not everybody has this possibility.
I don't like VS as you don't like it (and as Chris, and I know several persons that think the same), and therefore I use XIDE whenever possible (it is not always possible).

What I don't understand: on the one side you are complaining on Microsoft, and on the other side you are embracing their newest technologies.

Wolfgang

P.S. with this I stop also on this thread
Wolfgang Riedmann
Meran, South Tyrol, Italy
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
www.riedmann.it - docs.xsharp.it
Last edit: by robert.
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2468

  ic2's Avatar Topic Author ic2 Offline Posts: 497

P.S. with this I stop also on this thread


Hello Wolfgang, Chris,

I will stop it too, but after this remark as you have a direct question.

only a last comment: you have the choice to use the products you like - not everybody has this possibility.
I don't like VS as you don't like it (and as Chris, and I know several persons that think the same), and therefore I use XIDE whenever possible (it is not always possible).

What I don't understand: on the one side you are complaining on Microsoft, and on the other side you are embracing their newest technologies.


I think I would basically like Microsoft to use their potential. In general I see their products get more cumbersome to work with, more steps, more clicks etc. with doubtful additions (like collecting data or trying to force the use of their products). Wether or not someone got used to e.g. Visual Studio and like the much larger set of options, one has to admit that objectively VO has a couple of unbeatable advantages in speed and usability. I wish Microsoft would offer the same. The point is: I like the people I met or spoke to at Microsoft. You can simply call them or chat/mail with them. Ever tried that with companies like Google, SAP, Facebook? After conferences like Devshare and listening to presentations of people like Nick or Phil, I decided (a.o.) to use WPF which I think allows me to do more with designing windows (including using sample xaml code) than I could do with VO/Winforms. Similar considerations made me choose for other new technologies. The WPF choice unfortunately ties me to VS as Chris excellent Xide does not support WPF for understandable reasons.

So my daily computer use is a mix of really old software beating the new in many respects (Office 2003, Visual Objects) and the latest technology where I think I benefit. By working that way I keep being reminded how good that latest technology could have been if the makers would have kept/used more efficient things found in older software.
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2469

  Chris's Avatar Chris Offline Posts: 1179
Hi Dick,

Just for the record, personally I absolutely agree again with what you said...
And yes, I like having the last word :-)

Chris
XSharp Development Team
chris(at)xsharp.eu
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2470

  NickFriend's Avatar NickFriend Online Posts: 193
In a (probably vain) attempt to have the last word ;-)

Just one final comment, directed at the complaints about VS, and in particular about your apparent obsession with how many clicks or steps are needed to accomplish any given task. This might be relevant in a word processor, but programming... seriously!?

I would estimate that perhaps 10% of my programming time is spent actually writing code, the rest is thinking about how to do it best, researching options, choosing which music to play, making another coffee, answering annoying posts by Dick ;-), walking the dog.... actually I probably do my best work while walking the dog, and I'm being serious.

So 1 click or 3, it makes no serious difference because so little time is really spent typing code. Good programming is in the design, not the mechanics of writing the final code.

Nick
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 10 months ago #2471

  Chris's Avatar Chris Offline Posts: 1179
Hi Nick,

Argh, so I missed having the last word just by a few seconds?

:-)

Chris
XSharp Development Team
chris(at)xsharp.eu
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Breaking changes in VS 1 year 9 months ago #2472

  NickFriend's Avatar NickFriend Online Posts: 193
Yep...
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