Visual Studio 2013 – Missing Features

Microsoft released Visual Studio 2013 with several enhancements over not so old Visual Studio 2012. While most of the enhancements are going to make developers happy, Microsoft silently removed some features from Visual Studio that were available in earlier versions.

CSS Designing Features

There used to be a nice Build Style dialog box for external stylesheet designing in previous versions of Visual Studio.

Build Style
Build Style

This dialog box can be invoked by right clicking in an external stylesheet file.

Visual Studio 2012
Visual Studio 2012

This CSS dialog was not only a nice way to quickly generate CSS styles but also provided a preview of the style, which was very helpful.

In Visual Studio 2013, Build Style menu option is not available at all.

Visual Studio 2013
Visual Studio 2013

This feature was very handy and going to make many developers very unhappy. This is certainly going to slow down their productivity as everything needs to be hand coded.

There is another concern, especially with ASP.NET MVC application. In an MVC application you cannot preview Razor views. And now you can’t even preview the CSS styles as well. This means you need to run an MVC application every time just to preview design changes.

This feature is not completely removed and you can still access it in design view of HTML/ASPX pages. Just select any HTML element and go to properties window. Clicking inside Style property will display an ellipses button. Clicking on this button will open Build Style dialog box.

Many developers have logged several issues pertaining to this missing feature on Microsoft Connect website and those issues are opened as bugs. So hopefully Microsoft is going to restore this missing feature in near future.

Website Configuration Tool

Visual Studio 2012 and below versions had a great Web based configuration tool that you could use to configure features like database connections, authentication and authorization, email, debugging and tracing etc. This configuration was accessible by selecting Website -> ASP.NET Configuration menu option.

Visual Studio 2012
Visual Studio 2012

But in Visual Studio 2013 this menu option has been removed.

Visual Studio 2013
Visual Studio 2013

There is still a hack to get this tool working. But there is no direct and easy way to activate it.

As of now, there is no word from Microsoft why these features were removed and are they supposed to make a comeback through a patch or next Visual Studio update. Although Microsoft had recently released Visual Studio 2013 Update 1, but it didn’t include any update for these missing features.

Let’s wait and watch.

Comments (2) -

  • webguy

    8/13/2014 10:39:27 AM |

    I am sick about the loss of Style Builder, it is a feature I used every day for nearly 6 years.  Now I need to have 2 versions of VS running and need to copy/paste my code back to VS 2012 to edit my styles.  Horribly inefficient, shame on you Microsoft...

  • Gary

    8/21/2015 12:16:41 PM |

    Everytime MS developed a "new" version of something they mess things up, How stupid is it to remove the style option, Now I have to go back to Expression web