Wouldn't it be nice if Visual Studio could work like PortableApps from a thumbdrive?
I wanted to update the status to make sure you know that we hear you. This isn’t straightforward to deliver for obvious reasons: Visual Studio installs a disparate variety of tools, runtimes and SDKs, many of which come from third parties or other parts of Microsoft. We recognize that developers would love to see something lighter and while we have nothing new to announce at this stage, we are spending a lot of time thinking about how we can improve Visual Studio installation.
Thanks for the feedback!
Tim Sneath | Visual Studio Team
Embarrassing that the last person from MSFT who provided feedback here is no longer at MSFT or no?
Can we get VS to download all required components to a directory tree, then quit installation? Later, the user could install VS and the required compnents as needed.
The current mix of some on the local drive, some dynamically downloaded is not a long term solution since VS 2017 install will break with a missing component URL or bad file ~5 years after VS 2017 is released.
We have VS 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2017 solutions in our large corporation. The VS 2010 and 2012 solutions are either slated for retirement or large redevelopment in the next 2 years.
We do not upgrade all of our solutions to the latest Visual Studio version every time. Doing so would be a full time job for 20+ developers.
Microsoft's customers are the businesses; which have a portfolio of business software solutions to use and support. It's the first point to be noted. Cool tools for individual developers is not the focus of a business.
Wesley Hatler commented
I just want to be able to install the complete package of Visual Studio to a secondary drive. I select my D drive and only 6GBs gets installed on it while 20GB+ gets installed to my SSD
Ahmed Alyousify commented
More than 20GB to install, come on, what do you guys think we have as hard drives!!! we have one laptop for everything so expect us to have alot of space.
I am really in despreate need to use visual studio but i do not have enough space in my c drive, i choose the D drive, it is only saving 4GB on D drive and 16 GB on C? Please. if there is another solution i would be thankful.
Pavan Gayakwad commented
VS 2017 setup is nearly 20+GB now, on top it, it always requires internet connection during installation and download few GBs every time.(offline downloading and installing from repository just doesn't work, don't tell me that please). Not every developer has the luxury of connecting to blazing speed and unlimited internet. Its high-time to think on portable approach. Its the need of the hour.
MSFT cannot make VS portable because all their dev is based on bloated COM so installer registers 700'000+ (!!!) entries to Windows Registry when makes full VS installation. I'm really envy when looking at others IDEs that are zip-installable and keep my system perfectly clean and untouched.
There is something really wrong with MS's approach to software deployment when you realize that installation process is almost as complex as software that installs and that this is the most fragile and erroneous element of VS. You fighting hard with problems you provided yourself, problems that don't exist in rest of non-msft approach. There will be really great if VS + SDK + Installer + zillion other MS' teams take lesson from VS Code team.
Like the VB6 programming IDE can.
Yes, please. We have complete Embedded Eclipse/CDT based C/C++ tool chains, including target debugging and many libraries. Installation is just unzipping an archive to a folder, uninstall is just deleting the folder. We do one reference installation, and then just archive it to a ZIP to install it on other machines. Android Studio can do the same, including SDKs. Easy to automate, easy to do manually. As simple as it can get.
Having VS portable would allow us to do the same.
The new VS installer brought us some advantages in granularity of what's installed, but is still splatters VS files and registry entries all over the place.
Paul M commented
How about letting VS use SDKs that are hosted in containers? That would probably be a nice solution.
If you cannot put the whole Visual Studio 2017 IDE as a portable app can you at least make a portable version of the command line Microsoft Visual Studio Build Tools (C and C++) that can be run without an installer?
The command line compiler and linker can't be that hard to make portable can it?
The icing on the cake would be a decent portable command line text editor and portable windows text editor as well from Microsoft.
How come there is no command line text editor for Microsoft Windows or Visual Studio? Does no one use the command line to edit text files? I do it in Linux and MS-DOS/FreeDOS all the time.
This is the very great idea. Many time I want to give my VS to other dev I just need to install it. It should be like give VS by copy paste and install things like C++ 14 manually (VS automatically does that) it will be great because it will save a lot of time for installing it (by downloading it first)
Domenico Gentner commented
I want to add to this. It would be really nice if Visual Studio wouldn't spread itself so much over the System. And I would also like more freedom to not install what I do not need. I use Visual Studio only for C++.
Christos Karras commented
This is extremely important, I just wasted 1 day troubleshooting a broken Visual Studio installation (including uninstalling and reinstalling everything) and have finally resorted to rebuilding a new machine, because no matter what I try, the reinstallation is still broken. Precisely because it is currently not straightforward to deliver, there's some work to do until it becomes straightforward.
Big advantage of that solution would be possibility to use IDE on temporary machine, even if this lead to special IDE version with stripped functionality it would be good tool in places where Visual Studio Code does not suffice. Assuming less dependency on system components, people could avoid problems with installation, or using IDE after something gets corrupted in the system.
James Yeoman commented
Currently, Visual Studio is only available to install on the user's C:\ drive. This makes it harder for working on projects on various computers. It means that Visual Studio is needed to be installed various times AND the external libraries such as SFML or GLEW for OpenGL. Being able to install onto an external HDD without needing to install anything on the computers using the HDD would make things so much easier. It would mean that precious HDD space on the computers wouldn't be filled with various versions of the .Net framework. It would also mean that students can use their configuration on the computers in colleges and universities without having to install the libraries for an hour and setting up the configurations. They can just get on with their project.
jeff bates commented
I agree with David Goodenough, what utter BS on the part of MS. If you can't make VS portable it is either;
a) you are incompetent
b) you don't want to
c) your OS and/or VS systems suck
d) all of the above
All you hear from MS is always excuses, excuses.
Things never get better with MS products they get worse.
Now you can't have VS 2015 running without having an internet connection, what kind of BS is that.
David Goodenough commented
@Tim Sheath While making the installer leave a smaller, more carefully selected, footprint would be a *MASSIVE* improvement, I suspect that's not really the root cause of the problem.
I'm long enough in the tooth to remember the transition from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, which is where the registry got introduced to that family of operating systems. I'm not certain when it was added to the NT family, I know that NT 4 had a registry, but since I never used NT 3.5.1, I can't speak for that OS.
That said, the registry was introduced in W95 to solve the "Ini file ****" problem, but as can clearly be seen in hindsight, the cure is far worse than the disease.
Linux and Mac OS handle portable apps very tidily, because they do not have a registry to write to, all persistent state information the app needs are written to files in the apps install directory, or in the user's home directory.
This leads to the state when simple deletion of the app directory and all its contents is sufficient for a clean uninstall of the application.
Step 1. Stop having apps write data to the registry, and instead "shim" the various registry access calls against HKLM and HKCU to dump the information in the apps install folder. Maybe create a small registry hive file in there at install time.
Step 2. Platform SDKs have gone the way of the dodo - they are a thing of the past. VS now iterates fast enough that we don't need a separate SDK install. So keep them all in the same place the way very early versions of VS used to. Think back to when it was still Developer Studio, or even back to the character mode days of CodeView. The point being that everything lived in a single folder. IDE, compiler toolchain, standard C runtime headers and libraries, SDK headers and libraries. If you can get back to there, you've done it. But putting different parts in different folders is simply a bad idea, because they're all part of a single application, installed by a single installer: MSBuild has no need to be in a separate folder, because it's only useful as part of a Vistual Studio installation. Ditto all the Windows Kits and .NET SDKs etc. etc. etc.
UM, im no computer GENIUS but i do know that changing a directory path is very easy. Like, super easy. You change the directory of all the dependency **** to the users choice, the, boom, it works (I think)
Jeffrey Palermo commented
Thanks, Tim, for the update!
I bought a Surface Pro 4 with smaller internal drive knowing there was a MircoSD slot. Planned on using the MicroSD as 2nd drive for app storage. Can't for this app :(
As far as I'm concerned, it's a permanent 2nd drive.