Finally, after three attempts, Microsoft have gotten a decent XAML editor into Visual Studio. Well done!
I’ve been doing some Windows Phone development recently, and using VS2012 professional for it. I also have Blend installed – I’ve blogged in the past about the positive impact it can have on a developer’s productivity. That still applies today, but the built-in designer / editor in VS2012 is much, much closer to Blend.
For a start, it actually performs quite well, with a markup editor that is reasonably responsive, so you don’t have to resort to editing in plain XML. You also get the ability to modify templates directly in the designer rather than having to go to Blend or do them by hand, and you also get decent property editing like colours, brushes and styles directly in VS – very similar to the Blend property pages, actually.
In fact, I like it so much that for a few days now I’ve done without Blend and been happily doing MVVM-style development without really missing it that much. Not that I’ve been doing anything fancy at all – just some views with bindings, templates and styles really – but that’s what most of us probably do anyway most of the time.
So, if you’ve been put off XAML in the past because of the VS experience, give it another go – it’s definitely workable now.