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Friday, October 23, 2009

Visual Studio 2010 Intellisense Wish List

The folks on the IDE team for Visual Studio 2010 have made some great improvements to the editor’s intellisense experience for developers.  Most notably, the following features have been implemented:

  • Keyword-based searching on type members
  • Type based searching
  • Pascal Case inference (instead of ActionLink you can find the member with AL)

For the complete story see Scott Guthrie’s take on the features.

One thing that I would have really liked to have seen would be a feature that filters based on local scope and type.  For instance, if I am looking for a string in Visual Studio 2010, here is my experience:


Now, it doesn’t really make sense to say bar = float (or any enumeration, or any type without static fields, etc).  Arguably, one might suggest that there are cases where you would want this, most likely in cases where you’re working with reflection or code generation, so they need to find a way to work out both stories, rather than anyone’s “best” story…which we all know won’t be the best for everyone.

What about taking a cue from the Office folks and the story they’ve written around paste?  I think it would be great if when intellisense was invoked, you could tap on CTRL and intellisense would immediately filter the list to in-scope strings.

Strings are only a simple example here.  There’s nothing quite like declaring an instance of a custom type then trying to assign it’s value to finally.  What? :oP

Take this to the next level as well: if I’m assigning a value to a string, and I’m looking for a property on a class instance, when I invoke intellisense, I could tap CTRL and filter the list of type members down to just strings (much like they’re already doing with keywords).

I suppose no matter how smart the people are that you put in a room, no matter the engineering feat accomplished to put off something so complex and render it simple to the end-user, there will always be some twit like me with a blog saying, “Yeah, but…”

So, I will state this: We are in a weird loop when toolsets and SDKs are competing with the IDE for completedness and maturity, so Visual Studio 2010 promises to be a real refreshing release.  There are a just a ton of things right with the direction of the IDE and this last build (Beta 2) is a performant, welcome foreshadow of the next generation of Visual Studio.


  1. I agree with you completely, sometimes the intellisense auto mucks with the local vars because keywords get top priority when it comes to sorting... Grrr...

    In any case just came across your blog today, and it's going on my blogroll. Fantastic stuff - keep it up!

  2. Thanks Jonathan! I'm really just trying to figure this stuff out...nice to have someone pluggin' along with me. Cheers!