In Praise of the Happy Face Button

I love a lot of things in the Productivity Power Tools for Visual Studio. Read about them here: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/d0d33361-18e2-46c0-8ff2-4adea1e34fef/ install through Extension Manager.

Hint: I’m guessing you’re looking at some key features in VNext of Visual Studio in the Productivity Power Pack – smoothed out and tested.

I’ll blog about a bunch of other cool things in this extension, but I really like the happy face button. The happy face button opens Outlook to send an email direct to the team. Yep, someone is looking at these as I’ve gotten feedback. These happy faces are several places in the Productivity Power Tools. This is really nice because I don’t have to tell them exactly where I was (the subject line changes). I’ve taken the liberty to use them to report features that were nearby as well. I want to make this quick direct feedback effective, so here are some hints:

- Be nice, or at least not rude

- One issue per email !!!

- Be clear – I did this, I thought this should happen, this is what actually happened

- Very specific and as short as possible but not too short

- If you can’t figure out how to do something, tell them, discoverability is a feature

- If you don’t want the team to have your email, use a special Live or Gmail account

- Be patient, if you want feedback and an issue tracked, use Connect

I’d like to see this evolve. There’s a dead web page that shows up and I’m not sure what that’s for. I’d like to access notes from the team on the specific feature. If they already know from 29 other reports, or they have already fixed it for the next drop, I’d like to know avoid re-reporting it.

I’m also willing, although it has to be an opt in, to install things on my machine to help Microsoft debug wacko problems if I have them (anyone else see failures in Ctl-Shift-V?). But historically these have been a pain to use. I’d like to see this simplified through a combination of extensions and a feedback system that runs inside VS (opt-in, disable easily, uninstall guarantee, all the caveats you can think of).

I guess what I’m most excited about is what this represents. It’s a way for them to get feedback on the little annoyances that affect the way we do our jobs every day. Sometimes it feels like the flashy new features eclipse work on just making our tools more solid. This feedback system is a way to concentrate on little details that you can report quickly and go on with your work.

My guess is that you’ll also be making the next version of Visual Studio better, without even running a beta.

Most features of the Productivity Power Tools can be turned off in Tools/Options. It’s granular so you can just turn off the features that you dislike while still being able to collapse all projects in Solution Navigator or some other small but dynamite feature.

So, if the Productivity Power Tools annoy you, send some feedback! And if you love them, well, it’s a happy face, so you can send that as well!

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