I discussed a little while back that we’ve made a few hotfixes available to address some performance issues people have seen with VB. There’s now a program that makes these hotfixes available as a regular download, rather than forcing you to call support. I’d recommend anyone running into performance problems give them a try…
Despite the fact that we made what I still feel is a solid release, we’ve been clearly seeing some customers having problems with the performance of the VB 2005 compiler when used on large VB projects. In response to a number of problems that we’ve isolated, we’ve released a QFE that addresses many of the major problems people are having. To quote the announcement in the forums:
We’ve received feedback, both directly from developers and in the forums, regarding slow performance of the Visual Basic 2005 IDE in certain situations (larger projects, projects with many errors, etc.).
I’m sorry that these issues made it to production and degraded the performance of the IDE. The Visual Basic Performance team is working hard to address these issues via hotfixes and the upcoming Visual Basic 2005 SP1 while we work on engineering changes to make sure that issues such as these never make it into a shipping product in the future.
Based on this feedback and forum posts, we’ve been working with customers to address these performance issues. We recently released a performance hotfix to address the following areas of Visual Basic 2005 performance:
- Improves the performance of single-stepping (F10) debugging.
- Improves the performance of Task/Error List Refresh.
- Improves the performance of Intellisense.
You can learn more about this hotfix in the KB 920805 article (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/920805/en-us). In order to get this hotfix, you need to contact support and reference KB 920805. Details on contacting support can be found at http://support.microsoft.com/contactus/?ws=support.
Note that this hotfix rolls up all performance hotfixes to date, so installing this hotfix will give you the best IDE performance.
Again, we appreciate your feedback and we thank you for your patience while we address these issues. Please contact email@example.com if you continue to see issues after applying this hotfix.
Visual Basic Performance Program Manager
As Chris says, these hotfixes (which you currently have to go through support to get, so we can track the QFEs we’re handing out) will be rolled into SP1. I encourage people to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are having performance problems that aren’t addressed by the QFE so we can work on isolating the problems you’re seeing and get them fixed.
In addition to my interview with the ITPro website, I’ve also got a personal webpage on MSDN Japan. It has links to things like an interview I did with Takashi Tsujigo, an evangelist from MSDN Japan, and an interview with @IT. I believe there are also going to be some webcasts up before long. Unfortunately, I don’t believe there are any English translations available for any of the content, although I don’t think I said anything secret that I haven’t said elsewhere… <g>
OK, well, now that I’ve had a chance to recover a bit from the jet-lag from flying back and forth from Tokyo in just three days, I thought I’d give a short update on how the launch went there.
Executive summary: Great!
This was my first experience presenting outside of the US, and it was very interesting. My main presentation on VB 2005 was simultaneously translated, but everything else was done sequentially. So I spent a lot of time saying one or two sentences, pausing, saying one or two more sentences, pausing, saying one or two more sentences, listening to the reply in Japanese, waiting, then hearing it in English. Rinse, repeat. The translators that I worked with were great, so it wasn’t difficult or anything, just a little… different. I did my PDC presentation for a small group of people and it took about twice as long as the original did. I’m also not sure how much of what I was saying got across — all the technical stuff did, for sure, but I think so much of the inflection and all gets, you know, lost in translation.
The special keynote that I did for VB 2005 seemed to go over well, although the fact that the audience was much more reticent that I was used to was a bit disconcerting at times. At first when I wasn’t getting any applause when demoing some of the cool VB 2005 stuff, I started to panic that I was doing something wrong, but then it smoothed itself out. Everyone seemed very excited and had lots of questions about the new version, VB6 migration, the future, etc. Overall, a wonderful experience!
My main regret was that I had to leave right after the conference was over… it would have been great to have been able to spend some time in Japan getting to see something more than the hotel I was staying in. Alas, the confluence of the conference and the impending Thanksgiving holiday made that impractical. Thankfully, I did get a chance to hang out a bit with Cameron Beccario, which was a treat. I tried to convince him to come back and help us out with LINQ, but he’s still pretty settled in Tokyo, unfortunately…
If you read Japanese, feel free to check out my special MSDN website that they put up for me. I’d also highly recommend the VS User Group (VSUG) website — I got a chance to talk with their founding members, and it looks like a great organization! (They said that usually user groups start in the US and then create a Japanese chapter — this time they’re starting the group in Japan, but are open to having a US chapter join. <g>) All in all, a great trip!
We’ve now got the final version of the Visual Basic 8.0 Language Specification now up and available on MSDN! And, as it seems with everything these days, I’ve already gotten several bug reports for the samples.
Updated 11/26/05: Corrected link to language specification. (Thanks Roger!)
The VP for the division that VB is a part of, S. Somasegar, recently sat down with Ken Levy for Channel9 and had a chat about VB, the future and other stuff. Ken asks him a lot of the frequently asked questions about VB, like:
- How much does Microsoft use VB internally?
- How much does Bill Gates care about VB?
- Why wasn’t there an unmanaged VB upgrade from VB6?
- What are the plans for the future?
- And more…
I’d encourage people to check it out…
(Funny side note: To deal with the persistent annoyance of comment spam, I instituted some extra filters in the blog database that would reject any posting that contained certain words in the title such as that drug that people use for ED. Because I included the full range of pharmaceutical drugs that seem to be all the rage in spam these days, my original post, which was entitled “Soma
Just as an FYI for those of you in Japan who read my blog, I’m going to be in Tokyo next week for the Microsoft Conference 2005, where we’ll be doing the Japanese launch of VB 2005! I’m going to give the VB 2005 launch keynote, which is very exiciting, as well as doing a number of community events. My only regret is that since the conference is the week before Thanksgiving here, I’ll only be in Tokyo (a place I’ve never been before) for only a few days… Maybe next time!
In the comments to my notice that we shipped, karl asks:
I haven’t played with VB.Net 2005, but are all of the bugs also causing problems? Most seem CLR related, but with a hint of IDE link, and I know C# and VB.Net don’t share all the IDE code.
The list of reported issues has put a halt, possibly permenantly, on my push to upgrade the entire team to 2005.
So, is VB 2005 a buggy piece of crap? In a word, no. Although I have not been intimately involved with bug triage for quite some time, I do know that we’ve spent a very long time working very hard to ensure that VB 2005 (and VS 2005) is a solid, quality release. My own personal experience with it is that it’s very stable and so far I don’t see a groundswell of complaints that would indicate serious problems.
When, then, to make of the brouhaha? Well, first we should be clear: VS 2005 shipped with bugs. This happened for two reasons. One, as has been discussed elsewhere, the only way to “converge” on a release is to steadily raise the bar for the severity of bugs that you’re going to accept fixes for in the product. This is because every bug fix, no matter how benign, has the possibility to uncover or cause more bugs. Ergo, the only way to reach a steady state is to stop fixing most bugs. Some bugs, I should be clear, are always going to be fixed if found before shipping — if we product incorrect code, for example. But others can be postponed. And this is how it’s worked for pretty much every product you’ve ever bought from Microsoft (or any other vendor, for that matter, I would guess).
The other reason VB 2005 shipped with bugs is that I know that there are bugs we didn’t find. Again, Whidbey was a pretty long release cycle, so we had plenty of opportunities to flush out problems. But no matter how hard we look, there are always bugs that slip through. We could spend years in beta and still would find serious problems after we ship. It’s a fact of life given the myraid of different ways that our products can be used.
OK, so what about the reports of bugs bouncing around the blogsphere? Like I said, it’s inevitable we shipped with bugs so I’m not surprised that, given the high level of sophistication of the most prolific bloggers, a few things are going to show up right away. Murphy’s Law in action. However, as I also said, I’m not seeing the volume that would indicate significant problems. Instead, it’s a handful of reports that have then been bouncing madly around the echo chamber of the web. This doesn’t mean that the bugs that have been verified aren’t real or aren’t serious — any bug that impacts a customer is a serious problem and one that will need to be addressed — just that the preponderance of the evidence so far is that we’ve got a solid release. Time, of course, will tell. I encourage anyone who’s worried about the stability of the release to: a) give it a bit of time and see what the consensus is after people have had a few months to live with the release, and b) try it out yourself and see what you think, either by using the trial version or the Express version (see here for links to those).
All this is deja vu for me, I might add. The very first product I shipped at Microsoft was Access 1.0. It was a great product and a solid piece of engineering. However, we had a slight mishap — during the launch event at Comdex, Bill Gates was up on stage with someone (forget who) doing a demo of the great features of Access 1.0. Everything was going great and then suddenly WHAM! Access crashed. (Thankfully, I was in the second wave of team members to go down to Comdex, so I only heard about it. Half the team had to sit in the audience and just watch the whole thing unfold.) This wasn’t great, but in theory it wasn’t the end of the world — after all, it was just one crash. However, Phillipe Kahn, whose product Paradox for Windows we had just beaten to market by (I think) a good six months, saw an opening and started going on about how people shouldn’t buy Access because it was “too buggy.” Was this true? No. Did it matter? Not really. The perception stuck and was part of the reason that we shipped a 1.1 version, so people would think that we fixed all those nasty bugs that weren’t really there. (Of course, in the long run, Access did just fine.)
I doubt that’s going to happen here, thankfully…