Allow humans to differentiate between files and folders in VS2012
The icons in the Solution Explorer has a very important purpose and function. And I'm (along with half of the world, it seems) not very pleased to see that this UX functionality was abandoned during this recent redesign.
The ability to differentiate files from folders.
This is the most important information that those icons has to provide the user with. By far. And there are three facts that prevents the "Hey, I'm a folder"-information from getting to the user:
1) The icon shape does not look like a classic folder (although an esoteric, modern one)
2) The icon is black (folders tend to have a yellow tan - especially after sunny days)
3) The icon for an opened folder is not resembling anything a human is used to interacting with
I've given the RTM a fair chance, and I like it a lot. But when working with large solutions, there is no chance in [insert hot place here] that my brain can scan and identify the file I'm looking for.
I'm sure that improvements could be made to several icons, but the file/folder issue is the most important one. So please have another shot at the icons and see what you can come up with for SP1.
Yes, good icons are important.
But here is food for thought. If you are getting rid of the icons for files and folders, then you should get rid of the concept of files and folders for coding all together. I find that too much of my time is spent doing file/folder management instead of development. Too often I'm upset that someone decided to create a file or folder in a strange location.
Shouldn't a folder really be a feature? That way you know everything inside that folder can be deployed or rolled back? The way everyone currently developers is a sloppy mess that requires source control that often doesn't even all you to ever go roll back to a historical version that would actually ever work. Will the database work if you rolled your code back? Probably not.
Simeon Albertson commented
@SandRock: Your suggested differentiation method depends on the file types. In an ASP.NET application while browsing through .ascx/.aspx files, the files have expander arrows as well as the folders. See this example: http://imgur.com/IHMlW
Don't you see there is an expander arrow left to the folder icon? And there's none left to the other icons?