Microsoft has just released a hotfix for a number of issues that have been plaguing me for some time in Visual Studio 2008. The issues involved have to do with the visual designer and the HTML code editor and a number of different input focus and slow input situations.

You can get the hotfix from here:

Blog Hotfix

You can read the official fix list at the link above, but here are a few issues that it has addressed for me specifically:

Visual Designer Focus issues

In the the Visual Web Forms designer I would often be unable to select controls inside of container controls or DOM elements. Instead of selecting a contained control the control's container would select and only repeated clicking and selecting de-selecting would eventually get the control focused. The fix now gets selection right in most cases. Also multiple selection is no longer so sketchy. I also had a number of issues with cutting and pasting of controls almost consistently crashing VS - which also seems to be gone now.

Visual Designer and Property Sheet Synching

I had major problems with the property sheet not synching with the selected control. In many situations the sync would simply not work at all or require repeated clicks on the Properties context menu. Now controls select much more quickly and the property sheet synchs properly although there's still a second or so delay, which is annoying but acceptable.

Slow Master Page Loading

I had major issues with master pages loading taking forever when the page loaded for the first time. It would often take 20-30 seconds for the first form to come up. Subsequent forms were much faster, but the first load was horrendous. Now in the same project I was blown away to see that the load was maybe 5-10 seconds with subsequent pages loading nearly instantly.

Performance for loading into the Visual Editor in general is much improved.

Keyboard Input lagging in the HTML Source Editor

On occasion I would have situations where the editor would be up and running and there'd be a cursor, but I'd type into the editor and nothing would happen. I'd have to click off and back into the editor to properly get focus and then it would work. In some cases the keyboard buffer was even locked where any additional keys would bring a white overlay on the editor. Now with the hotfix that problem seems to have disappeared. Also the editor seems a lot more snappy in general.

Mysterious View Code Availability

The patch also fixes the View Code context menu option which prior to the patch was extremely hit or miss. Sometimes the menu option would show up - other times it wouldn't. Apparently a lot of the problems fixed by this patch have to do with idle state detection and some hardware configuration apparently never entered the necessary wait states to update certain VS UI features. Other things that can be affected by this are things like Syntax highlighting taking a while to show up or the member list to populate. All of that too is now working as it should.

What's odd is that I *really* didn't notice these problems as acutely until a few weeks ago around the same time Microsoft had put out a pre-release patch. I tried the patch about a week ago and all the above issues disappeared. Some of these fixed issues appear to be side effects of this patch since they're not explicitly mentioned on the fix list, but hey I'm not arguing. This patch has brought some sanity back into my development environment.

The patch has a few additional fixes that you can find on the download page. The fixes will eventually end up in Visual Studio 2008 SP1, but I suspect most people will want to install this hotfix since these issues affect a wide range of the product.