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Top (Some Number) Reasons Visual Web Developer Sucks

At work I have to use ASP.NET. As if that weren't bad enough, I have decided to use Visual Web Developer to help me because I don't want to pollute my limited PHP parts of my brain with .NET. VWD sucks. Here are my favorite reasons why it sucks. (I've only been using it for a few weeks - more may come)

  1. If you want to show the data from a table on a screen you can just drag/drop the table to the page, edit some things in some wizards and it works. Great! Now, the formatting of the columns is all stupid, but I'm sure the developers said "Well, how should we know how to format the columns". How about using the data type from the datasource? VWD is aware of that because it throws in things like Type="Int32" to some of the items that it magically inserts for me. So when it sees a "money" datatype, why not format that puppy as a freaking currency string.
  2. If you want to format a BoundField you use a DataFormatString to set it. That's fine and well documented. Only problem is, that it doesn't work. Seems that within the first few months of public release, many other people have stumbled upon this problem. So, not only do I have to set the format string I want to use, but I have to set HTMLEncoding to false. It's like walking into a Chipotle, ordering a veggie burrito with black beans, and being asked if you want a hot dog. Dumb.
  3. Some people actually pay for this thing. I got the free "express edition" which is aimed at students so it shows you how to spend millions of hours building a gallery friend site application when you could just be like me and use Drupal and spend more time making it cool and less time making the base.
  4. It is slow as cuss. It takes a few minutes to open on my work laptop (Dell D600 - fairly high end) and then it takes a few more minutes to start it's internal server for the "test in browser" feature. Is this reasonable? Hell no. I've used a variety of these systems over the years and this thing is the slowest even though it only provides marginal (if any) additional functionality over previous versions.
  5. In the various controls you can click off "Enable paging" and "Enable sorting" and "Enable Editing" and it will magically create forms to do these things. But only some of the time. Exactly when and why - it took me a few days and some searching to figure out. You see, they have this system called "smart tags" and when you click on them they will allow you to do relevant operations on the control. This is generally a nice idea, but it's a volatile interface: sometimes the "enable" options are there and sometimes they aren't there. Why? What causes that to happen? After several days of making controls in a variety of different methods I figured out that you have to have a SelectCommand and a DeleteCommand and an InsertCommand and a ... in order for those items to be enabled. And you have to have a unique ID in your select and the query has to be simple to enable paging. Ok, you may say that's a reasonable requirement for programming, but here's where it's not: this thing is supposed to be easy point and click working. A volatile interface doesn't make it easy for me to discover why those items are disabled. Instead, the checkbox should be greyed out and disabled and it should give me a tooltip when I hover on it: "Create a DeleteCommand statement to activate the 'Enable Delete' function". Doyoyoy.
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I quit the job where I had to use this software. Now I use emacs to edit my php/css/html files. And I'm happy. I'm testing out Zend and Komodo for doing more advanced PHP stuff. I know I could get "more advanced use" out of emacs if I knew it more, but I don't want to know how to ctrl+x ctrl+y ctrl+z Meta+forgotwhatthehellisgoingon in order to do a copy/paste.

I hate VWD !

I agree - Visual Web Developer is ok for someone who wants to make a limited number of applications in a hurry (who are these people ?) What really sucks is the limited help and the non-intuitiveness of the controls. For example, I wanted to be able to click a button, store a few values and go to another page - so I looked up help and it threw so much junk at me and effectively nothing showed up except for arcane code strings - what I needed to do was to set the postbackurl but nothing would show up in the search like that.

The Help completely inundates you with absolutely useless information - that's what you get when you try and build the help system of 6 or 7 products in one interface. God I hate this !

point by point?

Can you break down my items point by point? Maybe in the 2.5 years since I wrote this Microsoft fixed some of these bugs. Otherwise I've got to assume that you're besties with someone who wrote it or who just doesn't know what they're talking about because they've never tried another IDE/Web Framework.

Nope. Nothing has changed.

Nope. Nothing has changed. It's 2009 now and VWD is still a worthless piece of garbage. Hell, the version I use was free and I -STILL- want a refund. This thing makes me realize how much I really miss know...the ancient HTML editor Microsoft quit developing that actually worked and worked well? You'd think they might make a decent web editor. I can deal with slow, but I can't deal with outright broken. Ever try to make a layout in the WYSIWYG HTML editor portion? It's impossible. Nothing works right. It even forgets to make a form field if you put in controls like a submit button or checkbox. I have to manually edit in that code in the raw HTML editor side.


I tried using it but its soo damn buggy that I decided never to use it anymore.
Its for free...well that's cool. But thats the only thing which is positive.
Buggy lame and just for dummies...


I don't know if VWD is better or worse than other applications but I can tell you I'm having alot of trouble with it. The master pages right now take forever to load (VWD is 'not responding'), when I have alot of folders open the same thing happens. My images just disappeared from my master pages - all of them (except for one?); there's no error message - no intelli-sense suggesting somethings wrong - they just disappeared. They disappeared from master pages I hadn't touched in weeks!

I had problems with speed before I put the storage pack pack in - the thing seemed like it was literally falling apart - the storage pack seemed to solve them - it was buzzing away nicely and now it seems like its full of gremlins again.

I think it'd be a great tool for my purposes if it consistently worked.


I think most of you are not pure code developers, and miss the 'point and click' interface of frontpage.
The only issue i have with VWD is the lack of php intellisence.

MS have released Expressions web for the frontpage fans and it's quite good. version 2 has php intellisence as well.

Not so sucky after all

I have resolved my issues with VWD loading and crashing (it was retaining every page I opened - it had open a hundred folders every time I opened it). It working superlatively now. I think of VWD (and as very powerful and complex machines. I'm amazed at how much you can do in with the program and yet stunned, as a laymen, at the complexity. Check out Imar Spaanjaars comparison of VWD and Dreamweaver; he's written books on both of them - his review will probably open some eyes (

Inbetween PHP and

I'm someone who has a strong background in PHP development and I've been taking courses in college on the .net language in the past 6 months. I've only been using Visual Web Developer the past few months developing small app's in, but so far it is one of the best coding applications I have ever used versus what I have in PHP!
For one, PHP is nearly impossible to install on a Windows PC for debugging. I've followed dozens of tutorials and even set up the IIS for PHP on my Vista machine to act as a server and I cannot get PHP to work on my computer. I end up always having to use my web server for debugging pages, which is time confusing and it takes up bandwidth. With and Visual Web Developer, I get an all in one free package that allows me to installed on my machine as well as having a great, auto code completing program to compliment it. No BS, just install and code.

Not everything about is better than PHP. For one, there are alot of frustrating setbacks with the features in development that make it sucky and unusable. When I code in PHP, I never get any strange types of errors and I pretty much have the freedom to code a program how I want. With, it seems like there are alot of stupid rules to the language with non-helpful error messages whenever there is any type of error, whether it's a syntax or logic error.

Back to the main topic on hand, I use Rapid PHP Editor for my PHP development. Although a great program and probably the best I've ever used for general PHP and HTML/CSS (with some javascript) coding, I don't think it comes close to what Visual Web Developer let's me do. Both scripting languages have their plus sides and drawbacks. In response to the main point of this post, simply has a better Editor, Visual Web Developer, that's an official Microsoft program and beats out anything that's ever been created so far for other scripting languages including PHP from what I've seen. Thus, Visual Web Developer does not suck.


I have spent a lot of time trying to find an IDE for rapidly developing web applications. The conclusion I made was that there are no shortcuts. To develop robust web applications I use Aptana Studio, XAMPP and Codeigniter on Vista, XP. This very powerful AJAX, PHP and JavaScript combination has rapidly reduced the time spent, effort and headaches of developing web applications. Aptana Studio supersedes the capabilities of Visual Web Developer and ASP.NET.

I hate Visual Web Developer.

I hate Visual Web Developer. No, I'm not a 'pure code developer' and it may be good for coding but for website DESIGN purposes, it sucks. Awful program. I hope I never have to use it again. As for how long it takes to load, don't even get me started. Uugghh!

If you don't know how to use

If you don't know how to use something, and don't have the ability or initiative to learn it, then yes, in your eyes, it would probably suck. Personally, I don't think I've ever used VWD. I've been using Visual Studio Pro since 2005 version. Before that, I was a PHP programmer and while it is a powerful language, so it ASP.Net. I made the switch to ASP.Net and haven't had any regrets. For the people that like to complain about something that is free... well, I'll leave it at that.

"complain" vs. feedback

Heh - nice criticism, anonymous!

I used the tool for months and really learned to use it. And I didn't complain about it, I'm giving feedback - i.e. where possible my post provides solutions and workarounds for the problems I found. But you don't have to pay for something for it to be good. Look at all the FOSS IDEs out there which are so much better than VWD - e.g. Eclipse & Netbeans.

We develop ASP, but dont use VWD

It is buggy. It will delete changes made to style sheets sometimes when you hit F5. You have to hit refresh constantly after hitting F5 to get it to reflect updates to the CSS. Sometimes for no reason in particular (without any changes to the stylesheet) it just quits displaying the way it was.

I could go on all day...

We use other HTML editors to get the page the way we want it, then bring it into visual studio for the code behind. We have found this to save us a ton of time and headaches. I guess people will turn this into a "yay microsoft! Everything microsoft makes is so great!" thing, but our company and many others don't care for the web developer.

What You See Is Not What You Get

To say it short about the designer : What You See Is Not What You Get - unless you mess around with CSS :-(

I stick with dummy forms in Visual Basic Express, but I miss Turbo Pascal :-)