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How to convince management to buy Microsoft Visual Studio 2008

Visual Studio 2008 has some great features, but getting management to part with money isn't always easy. Read seven reasons for why it's worth the investment so you know how to convince your boss.

Back in the day, when I was still working as a corporate systems engineer and technical marketing guy for Novell, it was widely accepted that the further a branch office was from HQ, the smarter, better prepared and more knowledgeable the local staff would be. I found evidence that this phenomenon continues in a terrific blog from some Visual Studio blog posters in New Zealand.

In a recent post about automating Visual Studio 2008, NZ blogger Sky Sigal talks puts forth a cogent and condensed a set of reasons for why developers should buy Visual Studio 2008. As I summarize his key points, they should strike a serious chord with those of you still trying to convince management or executives that Visual Studio is worth investing in and using.

Sigal explains his rationale in terms of the useful and productivity enhancing features that VS 2008 delivers:

  • Collapsible code blocks and bookmarks make it easy to get around in and manage large files and projects. Ditto for Solution Explorer and solutions that encompass multiple projects.
  • Syntax coloring boosts code intelligibility and quality, and it makes programmers more productive. Likewise, color-based syntax warnings (green wavy underlines) and errors (red wavy underlines) show up on the fly as VS2008 compiles new code in the background. Immediate feedback and fix.
  • IntelliSense offers the best, most powerful form of automatic code completion around for C++, C# and VB.NET, plus F# and PHP in Visual Studio 2010. Ditto for XML, CSS, XAML and other languages for which VS extensions have been written.
  • Visual programming tools include graphical designers for UI forms, plus controls for WinForm, WPF, Web-based and Silverlight applications, all of which support drag-and-drop placement for controls, logical separation of design layout and logic, and event wiring between design layout and logic thanks to support for event driven programming.
  • It may sound trivial to many, but support for XML-based code commenting turns out to be a huge advantage for revisers and maintainers of large code bases.
  • Excellent refactoring tools right in the IDE, available via Code Editor context menus, or a main Refactor menu.
  • Outstanding automation via a design-time environment (DTE) object model that can manage window objects, document objects, code-manipulation objects, tool-window objects and more. Automation is available via Extensions for Visual Studio or via ad-hoc macros. The exposure of a DTE also opens Visual Studio to a large and powerful library of extension objects. In particular, Sigal recommends commercial extensions Resharper (R#) v4.1 and CodeRush, as well as GhostDoc.

All in all, this not only exposes some very interesting and useful Visual Studio 2008 functionality, it also proffers some killer ammunition to help programmers or technical staff convince holdouts that Visual Studio is worth acquiring and using.

Ed Tittel is a full-time writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security topics. E-mail Ed at with comments, questions or suggested topics or tools to review.

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