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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visual Studio Wish List - IntelliThings

As I continue my daily use of Visual Studio 2010 I find more and more treasures in the IDE.  For instance, did you know that CDN-hosted JavaScript files with corresponding VSDOC files give you IntelliSense?

But I’ve been thinking about some things I’d like to see, as well as a few things I’d like fixed.

Intellisense Doesn’t Work Inside Script Blocks

To be clear on this one, if you are editing inside a script block and try to escape to a server-side tag you will not get CLR object IntelliSense.

For example, I don’t get IntelliSense here:


or here:


This one is likely a challenge, though, because now the IDE has to sort out if you are wanting JavaScript IntelliSense or if you want it for the CLR types.  Still, would be nice to have.

Let’s just get IntelliFix in there already, mmmkay?

When there are simple or even semi-complex errors that are common enough that a robot should be able to fix them…let the robot fix them.

Consider a missing semi-colon:


I would like to have an actionable interface here.  When I hover over the error, double-clicking should (and does) take me to the line.  Double-clicking again should fix it.  Voila, IntelliFix!

How about other scenarios?  A method that doesn’t return the expected type?  IntelliFix inserts a NotImplementedException for you (bypassing the compiler error).  Member has the wrong level of access for use?  Widen the scope to internal (or public, whatever satisfies the error).  Missing a using statement?  IntelliFix it.

How about IntelliTagTips?

Okay, I totally ‘shopped this one wrong (pay no mind to the types of brackets or the misspelled function) but the idea is what I’m after.


Here’s the concept.  If I pause, cursor (and eyes) blinking, at some point in a bunch of brackets, a little tool tip should fade in to show me where I’m at.

I don’t think it should do this for just one (you could use IntelliFix for that!), but two or more would be handy.  It would be a lot easier than trying to go back and count braces and brackets.

Normally I’m pretty good about keeping track as I write and nest code, so this might be a little annoying if it pops up too aggressively.  It would come in most handy when I’m: a) interrupted, b) tired, and c) fixing someone else’s code.

Yeah, the Names Suck…

…but I think these ideas stand up fairly well and Microsoft has teams of folks in marketing.  Therefore, I have added them to my wish list for Visual Studio versions of the future and hope to see IntelliThings there down the road.

Now, don’t mind me, I have to go geek out over IntelliTrace for a while…

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