Why the Microsoft C# compiler lacks many useful warnings

As my C# Bloopers series of articles shows, the Microsoft C# compiler fails to issue many useful warnings which one would reasonably expect from a decent compiler of any language, and which are in fact readily and lavishly issued by Java compilers.

After all these years that the Microsoft C# compiler has been maturing, one cannot help but postulate that there are alterior motives behind this continued state of misery with respect to warnings. For lo and behold, it just so happens that the "Ultimate" (most feature-packed and most outrageously expensive) edition of Microsoft Visual Studio contains a "Code Analysis" feature, which is capable of issuing hundreds of different types of warnings, ranging from the pedantic to the arcane, and including most, if not all, of the missing warnings that I am discussing here.

Now, besides the fact that the Code Analysis feature comes at a considerable additional cost, it is also very cumbersome to use on a frequent basis, since it has been built as a separate product feature, instead of having been integrated into the compiler. For one thing, it is very slow. Another thing is that it is very spammy: we are talking about multiple warnings for every single line of code here, most of which are useless, and the first thing you need to do about them is to turn them off. And there are several dozen warnings to turn off. 

This cumbersomeness makes the Code Analysis feature unsuitable for use in the instant builds which developers tend to perform every few minutes or so, and more suitable to use as a separate code-quality-assurance step to be performed once or twice during the entire development process of a product, or at best on nightly builds. Unfortunately, it is precisely on instant builds that the warnings I am talking about in these articles are most useful. Better yet, most of these warnings are useful in real-time, while typing the code, in the form of yellow curly underlines. For example, as a developer, I want to know that a parameter to a method I have just written goes unused before I even proceed to start coding the next method, because it most probably means that I forgot something or I did something wrong. This information is useful not tomorrow, not in a couple of months, but right now.

So, what has probably happened here is that the Microsoft C# compiler team was told by Microsoft's marketing department to intentionally cripple the C# compiler and make it less useful to all of us, by moving some of the functionality which rightfully belongs to it into some other module, so that their premium "Ultimate" product can have a raison d'ĂȘtre.

I bet you that Balmer is behind this.

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