I installed it yesterday. It was a huge download which I had to run overnight on my creaking internet. Other than that installation was smooth, it automatically converted my project and everything worked straight away. It does break linking in VS2010 with no warning (nice one, Microsoft) unless you uninstall and reinstall some components and generally mess about. But I’m not going back so that doesn’t affect me.

There is an elephant in the room in the form of the UI. I know they like to change it in every release but what were they thinking? It’s been described as ‘fifty shades of grey’, but that’s a bit charitable as you basically have a choice of completely white or completely black. They seem to have dropped the old icons in favour of programmer art.

Why are we still using floppy disk icons in 2012?

I was able to download a theme that at least lets you see where the windows are.

Enough of that, how about new features? Well, they seem to want you to use test driven development because the first item in the right-click menu is ‘Run Tests’. Regardless of whether any tests actually exist or whether you have any intention of writing any. The next item is ‘Insert Snippet’. Look how useful snippets are; you can make an ‘if’ statement in no less than 20 mouse clicks. The actually useful item ‘Go to definition’ is buried somewhere in the middle. Guess I’d better get used to the keyboard shortcut.

C++11 is mostly there, enough to make the upgrade worthwhile. I don’t know why they are still lagging, but Microsoft has always had its own interpretation of the C++ standard.

Code Analysis is a nice feature, but seems to focus purely on potential crash bugs rather than any other errors. In my project it only complained about a buffer overrun (impossible due to the logic), a null pointer dereference (also impossible) and something about WinMain (hey, you wrote that!). Maybe I’m just that good, but I expected more.

That’s about it. The best feature is that I don’t have to pay for it, because the Express edition is enough for my needs.