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Monday, October 26, 2009

Visual Studio 2010 – Getting Around a Little Easier

There have been a number of improvements to Visual Studio that aren’t all as visible as some of the styling or new tools have been.  The newly announced Visual Studio Blog has member blogger Josh talking about the Toolbox Search feature.  We're not given Josh’s last name, but judging from previous forum posts related to the toolbox on MSDN forums, I’m going to assume it’s Josh Stevens (even then, not a lot of posts from him since VS2005 on the subject…).

Josh introduced the Toolbox Search which allows you to use the keyboard to quickly navigate to controls in the toolbox.  After a keystroke or two you can find the control you’re looking for and use the tab key to move to the next item. This is a nice touch, but would be even more handy if it did partial matches.  This would allow me to start typing in view and then press tab to move from DocumentViewer to ListView to Scrollviewer and on to Viewbox.

Another great idea for this one: share the idea with the folks who work on the Class Explorer!


Project Pinning

Also very cool on the list of features is the ability to ‘pin’ your usual suspects to the start page in Visual Studio.  This is a feature that I will make use of extensively.  My normal workflow gets me into at least three or four IDEs at a time – and I do a lot of my work in spike solutions – so my recent items list is not very useful most of the time. 



Very welcome in Visual Studio 2010 is the addition of IntelliTrace.  This feature adds incredible access to key debugging areas and information to an already incredible debug story in Visual Studio.

I can’t wait to really put this feature through the paces.  One of the biggest complaints I’ve had about the debugging experience in Visual Studio had to do with threads and async operations that end up exceptioning out.  IntelliTrace looks as though it may help me out with finding all the broken parts of my app. 

Without taking anything away from the existing debugger, IntelliTrace gives me the ability to walk through events that have been fired since application start up, making it way easier to find and fix those non-repros in your bug list.

You also have the ability to save IntelliTrace data off of test machines, giving you the ability to stuff the log files into a work item to be shared with anyone on your team…there is a host of ability buried in the product and once you have Team Foundation Server set up (I don’t have the lastest build installed yet) things are going to get very interesting!

Fast Split View Re-Orientation

This is actually something that was around in the WPF designer in Visual Studio 2008, and it’s back again in Visual Studio 2010.  This feature is activated while imageworking on WPF projects and allows you to either stack your split view horizontally or vertically on the screen.

I have a big enough monitor that I can work comfortably side-by-side with most of my code, but it’s still super handy to be able to throw the designer up top (or below) when working with longer or more intensely with the XAML.

Unfortunately, this feature was not extended to the Asp.Net designer for Aspx pages as I had hoped it would be.  Oh well, I guess there’s always Visual Studio 2012 to look forward to!

I’m Just Sayin’…

More and more features are revealing themselves and processes are better streamlined everywhere I look (even dialogues for things like adding a project to an existing solution).  If you’re a geek like me, this is gearing up to be a pretty exciting tool.  While I don’t get to hit PDC this year, I hope they post the session after the fact for Paul Harrington’s talk on ‘porting’ Visual Studio 2008 to WPF and hear of the challenges and wins that they got to experience ahead of the rest of us.

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