I Hate MS Flat Style in Visual Studio 2012

I really hate the new flat style that Microsoft is pushing. They’ve gone so far as to using icons with fewer colors. Colors help differentiate things on the screen, so reducing the colors makes it harder to find what you are looking for, especially if you know what it’s looked like in the past. Things may be worse on my laptop because it seems to have lower contrast in its screen colors, but I never had significant problems with VS2010.

I already got rid of the default all uppercase menus in Visual Studio 2012, following instructions found at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/zainnab/archive/2012/06/14/turn-off-the-uppercase-menu-in-visual-studio-2012.aspx. I’m amazed that this feature is not modifiable in the interface, but requires manually modifying the registry.

The new visual studio allow you to pick whether it’s dark or light, which interestingly seems to change the fonts used as well, because a different number of lines of code are visible on the screen.

Below I’ve included three screen shots from my laptop with the same basic project loaded, First in VS2010, then in VS2012 with the color set to Light, and then in VS2012 with the color set to Dark.

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6 thoughts on “I Hate MS Flat Style in Visual Studio 2012

  1. I’ve realized another reason I dislike the flat style. It has no indication if a window has been selected. This is especially important when you are debugging an app and have the debugger fullscreen on one monitor and the app on a second monitor. There is no obvious way to tell that the debugger has been selected and your keystrokes will be sent there vs to the application window.

  2. The flat look makes it appear like the app has crashed the GDI in some way. I like the black background and colored foreground text (that would have been an interesting feature to add to the old GUI) and I do think the toolbars look better in the new interface. Before the small buttons with intricate color designs were really hard to distinguish (what does the icon for “compile” look like? not easy to convey). All that said I am pretty much over interface changes done just for the sake of changing something,

  3. Ok, I just looked at one of the screens for Google Drive. It has the same annoying flat interface you are describing… same with GMail. I have always hated how GMail looks, I only tolerate it because GMail is so useful. So I guess this is one bad decision that we can’t pin directly on Microsoft, they just copied Google.

  4. Actually, no you can’t pin it on Google either. Apparently there has been a big marketing study that has stated that flat interfaces with boxes, ala Windows 8, is the next big thing in marketing. Our corporate web sites were redisigned based on this study. I do not know who did the study or where it came from. This is what we were told by our Marketing people when we complained about the horrible appearence of the new website designs.

  5. Having just migrated a solution from Visual Studio 2010 to Visual Studio 2012 I was surprised to find the part that didn’t migrate was the deployment project.

    It gave me instructions to use either ClickOnce or InstallShield.

    After about ten minutes of trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting the clickonce menus to show up I figured out that it’s because my project is C++ and you have to jump through some hoops to have a chance of using ClickOnce with C++.

    I then installed InstallShield Lite into Visual Studio and can only think of how many steps backwards MS has taken by forcing this move. Installshield may be a wonderful product, but the lite version is filled with more pages trying to upsell the product than pages providing useful information. It can’t even figure out the correct dependencies for a simple project.

    I’ve been using Visual Studio through enough versions that I remember being frustrated when Microsoft dropped the inclusion of installshield in favor of their own MSI generation tool. The learning process of the microsoft tool was frustrating, but the end result being properly integrated to visual studio user interface and its build process was worth it.

    The new visual studio seems like it’s one step forward and two steps back. I like the new C++ language features in the underlying compiler, but the loss of the deployment projects and my issues with the flat user interface are negatives.

    https://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/3041773-bring-back-the-basic-setup-and-deployment-project- has some related comments.

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