Charles Petzold, author of Programming Windows (the Bible of Windows programming when I was coming up) has written an article called Does Visual Studio Rot the Mind?. In this very well written (and very LONG) article, Charles goes through the history of Windows programming as he sees it and explains how he feels Visual Studio removes a lot of the “real programming” out of Windows development these days.
I too have fond memories of the “old days”. I remember being the only one in my department that could recite all eleven CreateWindow parameters and being the “Windows API” manual for the department. Nowadays, as Charles points out, Intellisense and code generation have given programmers the ability to “opt out” of actually learning the environment that they work in, as the full API is only a keystroke away. The IDE does way too much for people these days.
Damn all this technology. Give me my BRIEF editor or EMACS any day.