I received the following message in my inbox the other day:
‘[Uservoice declined - Bring back the basic setup and deployment project type Visual Studio Installer.’
Some readers may recall my post on the frustrating removal of the simple deployment project from Visual Studio. Unfortunately, with this message, they have closed the Uservoice request to bring back the basic setup projects (the request is at http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio/suggestions/3041773-bring-back-the-basic-setup-and-deployment-project-).
It’s rare for me to blog or comment on products like visual studio, to complain or evangelise about features and so on, but in this case as the previous post had received some interest I thought I’d write an update.
It’s extremely frustrating for developers to have features like this removed from our toolkit. Is it fair to call it our toolkit? Perhaps not, but this is an extremely expensive product, we pay a lot of money for it and it’s a product that evolves in a sense based on what we do. As we start developing more and more web based applications, the product evolves in that area. As we develop less in other areas, features are no longer invested in. This is all fair enough.
However, it is difficult to keep your customers happy when a simple and extremely useful feature is removed, and replaced with essentially a cross sell link to another product. In fact, let’s look at this and really state what the problem is.
We’ve paid a hell of a lot of money for a feature rich toolkit, that can cope with diverse development requirements. An element we’ve used for years has been removed without explanation and replaced with an advert for an expensive alternative.
I doubt very much the deployment project was a difficult or expensive one to maintain. In fact, its simplicity is one of the reasons it was popular. So most of us are thinking that a working, heavily used feature has been deliberately removed. Why? To sell another product. This sort of mercenary behaviour is not appealing to us as customers.
I would end this post by saying that us computer nerds are fickle and highly strung about things like this. If we feel we’re getting screwed over, we’re likely to move to alternative products.
This indifference to customer opinion is rather worrying. (This was the second highest voted item in Visual Studio Uservoice). It also seems to not be isolated. Many customers seem deeply disenchanted with decisions taken in Windows 8, these concerns have been raised and roundly ignored.
I’m not going to go on any more about this, the comments and posts have been made, the requests ignored.
But I will say that if you have a online system to collect user feedback and requests for features for a product as expensive as Visual Studio, a request in the top three is for you to bring back something you’ve removed to get a kickback from Flexera, and you ignore the request, then don’t bother asking for feedback, because it feels like a middle finger to your customers.