If you developed Windows applications in C/C++ during the 90s, you probably used Visual Studio at some point. Rico Mariani has written his own “History of Visual Studio” in four blog posts.
When we ported Lotus Improv to Windows 3.1 we used Borland C++. Debugging was done using a Hercules Graphics Card with a separate monitor. When you stopped at a breakpoint, everything froze. It was horrible. In contrast, as Rico mentions, Visual C++ 1.5 supported “soft mode debugging” which allowed other apps to keep running. A neat trick in a “cooperative multitasking” operating system. I’d always wondered how they did that.
Note: by the time VC++ 1.5 came out, we had already moved Improv from 16-bit to 32-bit Windows, getting it ready for what eventually became Windows 95. Unfortunately, the next release, Improv 3.0, was canceled in 1994.