Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 29th Nov 2009 23:39 UTC
General Development Even though I'm not a programmer, I still know that while some programmers like the idea of graphical programming, whereas others shun the concept completely, opting for a more hands-on approach. While Microsoft is quite active in the field of graphical programming, the company's own high-level coders aren't very keen on the idea.
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RE: Graphical Coding?
by kamil_chatrnuch on Mon 30th Nov 2009 14:02 UTC in reply to "Graphical Coding?"
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just to quote a post on this topic from slashdot:

The real reason why they don't use Visual Studio is far more prosaic -- the build environment of most of Microsoft products does not support the Visual Studio project files. Their products are built using a system called CoreXT -- basically a set of binary tools and scripts cobbled together by build engineers and developers over the past decade or so. CoreXT uses a lot of different crap, make, perl, compilers, etc, etc., and all tools and SDKs are checked in and versioned. The upside is that you can roll back your Source Depot (Microsoft's own flavor of Perforce) enlistment to an earlier date and be sure things will build exactly the same way, and once you enlist, you get repeatable, isolated build environment where you can guarantee the correctness of versions for all tools, compilers and libraries (Java developer's wet dream, even though they don't know it). The downside is that you have to maintain the makefiles by hand, and you can't use Visual Studio, because there are no project files checked in, and even if there are, most people don't use them and they are not updated, so you can count on them being broken.

I did a lot of my coding in either Notepad2, or in a separate project in Visual Studio against a test harness emulating the rest of the project (what Enterprise Java types call a "mock"). Some folks used Ultra Edit or vi, or EMACS. For some just a bare Notepad did the trick. Some stuck with Visual Studio, which in their case was just a glorified Notepad with autoindent since it doesn't support build or Intellisense if you don't have a project file.

Yes, it's an enormous waste of time, and yes, it was painful. But CoreXT is so integrated into the rest of the dev pipeline that replacing it with something else in a large product is a major, destabilizing endeavor that is bound to undo at least some of the work around gated check-in infrastructure, test infrastructure, automated deployment infrastructure and god knows what else, so few teams ever attempt it. Now naturally, DevDiv eats their own dogfood, so they were one of the first teams to switch completely to MSBuild. It took something like a year in their case, they did it gradually, from the leaves down the tree. I'm sure if they had a choice, they would be using CoreXT to this day though, and fighting with incremental build issues. :-)

Recently, a few more teams have adopted MSBuild. They can actually open their entire projects in Visual Studio and rebuild them. If they have test infrastructure deployed on the side, some of them can even test the product without waiting for it to deploy. So I predict that as more and more teams adopt MSBuild (this in itself could take another decade easily), these "senior" folks will come around to appreciate its benefits. It's awfully handy when you can set a conditional breakpoint on your local box and step through things.


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