Web Workbench 2.0 – Faster, Minification and Pro

We’ve been blown away by the interest in the Mindscape Web Workbench. It seems .NET web developers were hungry for Sass, Less and CoffeeScript inside Visual Studio as we’ve now passed 14,000 installs! We’ve had a boat load of feedback and we’ve been incorporating the smaller bug fixes into our nightly builds while in the background working on a grunty new version for you all!

Going Pro

We originally released this tool to scratch an itch. We wanted to play with some of the cool new tech that was being used in the open source camps and so the idea of the Web Workbench was born. With the massive uptake in interest of the product though we’re thinking it would be fantastic to spend even more time investing in making it the best Visual Studio Extension possible. To be able to achieve that we need to fund the development while still keeping this as inexpensive as possible and also keeping what is currently there free.

Here’s what we have done:

  • There will always be a free version and everything in version 1 continues to be free.
  • None of the existing features will require you to have a Pro version and in fact they will just continue to run better than v1!
  • Some new features will be for Pro users only by way of thanks for supporting the new developments.
  • The price of the Pro edition should be low enough that it’s a no brainer to support future development.

That last point is the key one I want to make. We’ve been swamped with great ideas, feature requests and things we could improve. By purchasing a Pro license you’re helping support the future development of the tool and as a sign of appreciation we want those that help to get some nice extra bits and pieces.

So what is new in Version 2?

V8 Engine Enabled – Free FeatureGoogle V8 JavaScript Engine Logo
Feedback on the initial version was great… until folks had BIG files. Like 1000+ line CoffeeScript files. Unfortunately the JavaScript engine we used, while very cool, wasn’t quite fast enough to keep up with such large files. We have spent the last few weeks baking in Google’s V8 JavaScript engine that ships with Google Chrome to super charge the speed when working with larger files. Early feedback on a test release was very promising:

“I am using win7 x64 – I just applied the update and I am seeing a great improvement! Woohoo!” – Dan

“10 words: “Awesome job”!” – Bagosm (aka Binary Man)

This improvement is included for everyone, including the free users.

LESS compilation – Pro Feature
Initially we did not compile LESS files into .css files as we assumed folks used the JavaScript parser. Feedback was that it would be really cool if the Web Workbench would just create the CSS files on save in the same way that we do with Sass. So this is now included.

CSS & JavaScript Minification – Pro Feature
Editing the files is great, but having another step to do minification was proving to be a hassle to users. In the pro edition we now include the option to minify both the CSS output and the JavaScript output, saving you even more time!

Thanks again for all your feedback to date and we hope this release makes the Web Workbench even more compelling for you. Thanks to everyone who helps support the ongoing development effort by upgrading to the Pro edition — we have some really great ideas for the future and you’re helping it become a reality.

You can obtain version 2.0 by doing an update from the Extension Manager in VS 2010, or by clicking here to download it free. If you wish to support further development the purchase options are available within the Web Workbench itself. And if you don’t, well, all the features you love are still there and we hope you enjoy the free V2 enhancements as well!

Used Mindscape Web Workbench... Now the most ninja coder in the company

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