VS.NET 2005: dialogs will not be resizable :(

I filed a suggestion last week about the fact that a lot of the VS.NET 2005 dialogs are fixed size and often (read: always) too small to show all the content they contain and that these dialogs should be made resizable.

Here's the response I got:
Thanks for the suggestion. This is a know limitation of our current architecture, and one of the first things I want to tackle in the next version.

I'm not sure, but VS.NET 2005 is a year away from release, and I can't be the first who has reported the burden of the size of a lot of dialogs (and the lack of a resizing feature). I know that making resizing code working in VC++ is a bit of a pain sometimes, but it now seems that it is the user's problem that the dialogs are too small and the user has to click and scroll and click and scroll etc... Why is it so hard for a company with 56,000 employees to create some resizing logic in the VS.NET 2005 architecture?

There are a couple of dialogs which are resizable, but often dialogs are not. I find it disturbing that a company which has strong guidelines about how to design an application, how user interfaces should be constructed, creates a next version of its major development tool where a lot of the dialogs are simply not resizable. Please, walk through the formatting settings for C# in the options dialog (or other settings in the options dialog). Isn't it nice, that you have scrollbars all over the place so you can scroll the content in that tiny window on your 1600x1200 screen?

I filed another suggestion for dialog resizing: the SqlExpress dialogs are often so incredibly tiny, show half the content of a fixed set of properties and force the user to scroll up and down in that tiny dialog which is of course not resizable also. It's still under review, but I have a feeling the architecture limitation will also be the cause of those dialogs not being resizable.

Sorry, but for me this is a serious issue. In VS.NET 2003 I already found the dialogs horrible and the lack of a resizing feature disturbing, but what can you do?. For VS.NET 2005 I expected this to be fixed, after all, it's a product for 2005. Apparently that was too good to be true...

I've made some screenshots of the options dialog I'm talking about, which show the limitations of the current design. Keep in mind that the VC# team did made their dialogs resizable, it's the other dialogs which are not resizable.



  • I can understand your frustration, but on the other hand: How often do you change your options? It is not one of the use cases that happens every day very often, right? So I can sort of understand that they would push that back for UI features that are used on a more daily basis. If you are thinking about dialogs that are used more regularily, my arguments obviously doesn't stand.

  • Yes, I understand that :) the problem is that setting it all up is already a pain, because of these tiny dialogs. The same is true for the dialogs for SqlExpress, which are used frequently.

  • I would have to agree with you. It makes you wonder if it even conforms to their own UI guidelines. This can't be that difficult to change.

  • Not allowing dialogs to resize is also a serious Accessibility no-no. This should have been fixed a long time ago.

  • I agree. Dialogs should be resizeable.

  • How about the "Add New Item" dialog? How many times a day do you use that one? The open existing dialog (a customization of the built-in windows open file dialog) is resizable. They tried really, really hard to make the "new" dialog look the same, except for resizing in 2003.

    I haven't had a chance to get the 2005 beta installed on a test box to see if at least that one changed. So, for all I know, it could've been fixed.

  • Oh, my. I've filled such requests years ago (vs.net 2003).

    And got the same answer - I guess they have automatic answering machine for such requests :-)

  • I agree it stinks that they're not resizable, but like David mentioned, how many times do you change settings? Especially now that you can import/export the settings. You should really only have to do it once and maybe a few more times as you get used to things.

    MartinJ's concern makes a little more sense because the add new item dialog is used A LOT by people, BUT...

    When it comes down to it, would you rather they focus on making the dialogs resizable, which would probably take longer than you think with planning the necessary changes, making them happen and testing, or fix more important bugs. They have to prioritize everything just like we do.

    Also, you don't need to exagerate to get your point across. How much time does this waste for you in a day? 5 seconds? It would take a long time to add that up to really THAT much in significant time compared to say a bug or some other UI problem. Heck, even in the case of the add new item dialog, I'd imagine a higher percentage of people pick different items they have to scroll around to not very often and probably pick the same items over and over. You can also get a details view so the icons are smaller and less scrolling. Also, it's not like all 56,000 are working on visual studio. In fact, I believe there's only about 1,000 employees in the department anyway.

    I agree it should be changed, but I'd rather see them rush to fix bugs at this point.

  • Erik: it annoys me already since I first started with VS years ago. Then, it wasn't common to make dialogs resizable. However today it is, it's also very easy, a lot of the dialogs in VS.NET ARE resizable, (all C# dialogs f.e.). So you have a set of dialogs which are and a set of dialogs which aren't.

    I'm not changing my settings every day, but to get the formatting settings right it takes a while and when you have to click in tiny windows it's hard to get it right.

    What annoys me the most is that it is (also by me) reported a LONG TIME ago, so they had already years to fix this, however they didn't. Now they have still a year (!) left and its not 'fixable' apparently. This has nothing to do with the lack of time or resources, this has to do with the lack of priority set on issues like this. "Oh, just say we'll fix it in the next release"...

    I DO find this a bug, a big bug, so following your reasoning, yes I want them to fix bugs, like these. The add-new dialog is the same thing, why isn't that thing resizable? Because it is hard to develop? No it is not. Yes it takes some ATL code and win32 messaging under the hood but they already solved that in numerous places: a lot of windows in vs.net are resizable (docked windows f.e.) and not written in .NET.

    EVERY useless action should be eliminated. MS has to understand that after years of waiting for this fix, it is time to get it fixed. Opening tiny little windows on a big desktop without having them made resizable is asking the developer to do some useless actions which will take ages to complete because the bigger picture is hard to get.

    I then wonder: whoever wrote this: did he/she ever used his/her own code? I think not. The second you use dialogs like the ones mentioned you know these are not well written.

  • I agree, too. Dialogs should ALWAYS be resizeable and the defaultsize should be at least near 640x480 pixels (so it will even display correctly on a small screen).

    IMHO it is also necessary to save all the values for the resized and repositioned windows. It´s really annoying to resize the same window over and over again.

    I am using a 1920x1200 screen resolution, maybe you can image how "useless" this is...

    MS should really solve this problem. Please!

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