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Mehul Harry is the DevExpress Web Program Manager. Follow him on twitter: @Mehulharry

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Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Beta and Performance

<UPDATE: May 16, 2008> Scott Guthrie and his team picked up on this post. They have since verified and logged the issue mentioned below.</UPDATE>

Last Friday, Microsoft released a beta of the upcoming Visual Studio Service Pack 1. Check out Scott Guthrie's post for a list of improvements and features included in the service pack. You can also find links to download the service pack in his post. Here is a short overview of what's included in the VS2008 SP1 beta:

"Visual Studio 2008 SP1 delivers various improvements to Visual Studio 2008 such as support SQL Server 2008 and new ADO.NET features such as the Entity Framework, numerous improvements to the WPF designers, WCF Templates for Silverlight projects, debugger support for the .NET Framework public symbols and source release, control improvements and additions (such as the DataRepeater for Windows Forms and Office 2007 Ribbons for C++), and a number of general debugging and Intellisense updates. This Service Pack also includes fixes to improve the stability, performance and security of many areas of the product."

The last sentence, which I highlighted in bold, is probably what's most interesting about the SP1 beta. Many of you have been waiting for such a release to address the issues in Visual Studio 2008. And while it does offer improvements, you should be aware that this is a beta release. For example, after installing the beta, you may need to run the ToolBoxCreator.exe to re-register our controls within VS2008. You can run this utility from the Start Menu under the Developer Express/Tools folder.

For a small test I recreated the ASPxGridView's Detail Tabs demo page. The SP1 beta performed very well on my Sony Vaio laptop. The initial load times still may not be as impressive as running VS2008 on a quad-core cpu desktop machine with fast hard drives but there are noticeable improvements. However, there were some glitches. When switching the ASPX page to the designer view, VS2008 generates several extra entity spaces (nbsp) within the templates section. The extra items then make the project fail to compile. This can fixed by going back to the source view and removing the extra html.

This service pack has some improvements, but it's definitely a beta release. Don't use it to compile any mission critical code. If are looking to increase performance for Visual Studio then consider a faster hard drive. Scott Guthrie outlines why hard drive speed matters for visual studio performance. He also lists some other performance recommendations which could improve your experience within Visual Studio 2008.

If you do try the VS2008 SP1 beta then I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment and let me know how it works for you if you try it. I love to hear about life on the cutting edge!

Published May 16 2008, 08:19 AM by
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Jafar Khayatpour

Its good to know about the extra html tags being inserted. This has been driving me mad recently. I have had to go back to VS2005 to edit some ascx pages.

I don't suppose this is going to be fixed now if this SP is in beta.

May 14, 2008 9:54 AM

Mehul Harry (DevExpress)


Not sure if they will fix it but I recommend reporting it to the feedback team for the SP1 beta:

Please submit bugs and suggestions on the Beta via We also encourage you to use the Forums to get help, provide support, and discuss the overall experience of Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1.

May 14, 2008 6:51 PM

Chris W Walsh

i've noticed some changes that dont get reflected from design to source mode when editing aspx files, but nothing a reboot doesnt fix, have not been able to reproduce them yet.

May 14, 2008 6:53 PM

Jafar Khayatpour


I also find that if I add a column to an aspxgridview or a menu item to the aspxmenu in VS2008 then when I reload, the changes have gone. I have had to start using VS2005 again.

May 15, 2008 4:35 AM

James Foye

When VS2008 first came out, it was dog slow. I started just working in markup mode, never going to the designer. My markup is cleaner and leaner now. The last thing I want is VS putting extra tags in my markup.

May 15, 2008 2:46 PM

Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

After looking closer at the issue, I believe I found a fix. It seems that the HTML Table is not formatted as the SP1 beta's would like. Microsoft will probably fix this issue as they've contacted me and logged the issue.

To fix the issue, I used the source view of the ASPX. I moved the HTML table, which is embedded within the TabPage of the ASPxPageControl, to outside of the control. Then selected the table and applied "Format Selection" to it. Finally, I moved the table back within the control. This seemed to remove the weird nbsp error. YMMV.

May 16, 2008 3:30 PM

Mehul Harry (DevExpress)


About your issue, there is a similar item which you can track in the support center:

May 16, 2008 6:46 PM

Robert Beaubien

Serious problems in the ASPX visual designer with DevEx controls.   Constantly generating   (hundreds of them) in between the beginning and ending tags.  Problem goes away when I uninstall SP1.  Only happens to DevEx controls (textedit, labelcontrol, and checkedit controls).

June 4, 2008 2:13 PM

Mehul Harry (DevExpress)


This issue is a problem with the SP1 beta and Microsoft is looking into it. If your having these issues then I recommend not using the beta until it's final release.

June 4, 2008 3:24 PM

Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

One of our cool customers, Glenn, found a workaround that he wanted me to share about the &nbsp bug. It may get fixed by the time SP1 is out of beta but here is his suggestion:

I figured out a work-around for this issue. It actually corrects the design time issue and the control is restored back to visible and you can use the property editor again, etc.

When you experience the   problem (100's of them inserted into your property definitions within your aspx page) your first step is to do a search and replace - replace   with nothing to eliminate them from the page. Then refresh the design view and you will still see an error regarding the display of the control but this time the error will be displayed as a single  . To eliminate this final problem just move to the property that contained the offending  's that you replaced and make sure the closing property bracket looks something like this:

<propertiesdateedit displayformatstring="ddd MM/dd/yy hh:mm tt"></propertiesdateedit>

once you do that you can refresh the display view and the control will magically re-appear.

For some reason when you delete the  's if reforms your tag as the following:

                                           <propertiesdateedit displayformatstring="ddd MM/dd/yy hh:mm tt">


Which looks ok...but it isn't. You need to delete the non-visible characters and bring the closing property bracket up to your previous line.

Hopefully this helps others out - this has been a big pain to deal with.

August 6, 2008 6:56 PM

The ASPx Blog

Service Pack 1 for Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 is out now. We had a chance to work Microsoft

August 11, 2008 6:02 PM


SP1 is released.

Make sure you download and run the following first:

Here is the link for the release of SP1

August 11, 2008 7:08 PM

About Mehul Harry (DevExpress)

Mehul Harry is an ASP.NET technical evangelist at Developer Express. You can reach him directly at You can also follow him on Twitter:

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