Everything you want to know about Visual Studio ALM and Farming
Brian Harry is a Microsoft Technical Fellow working as the Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server. Learn more about Brian.
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We’ve just released an update the the very popular Visual Studio Productivity Power Tools. We’ve incorporated bug fixes, some key user feedback and some cool new features.
The first key user feedback worth mentioning is the ability to independently turn off extensions that might conflict with something you already have. You can get to this through Tools –> Options.
One of the cool new features is a new window that can act as a replacement for “Solution Explorer” called “Solution Navigator”. It looks a lot like Solution Explorer and includes all that capability and more. You can see the simple filtering buttons under the solution “All”, “Open”, “Unsaved” and “Edited” (files edited at some point since the solution was last opened).
In addition to filtering, you can use Solution Navigator to easily search for files in your solution.
You can also drill down through files into a class browser like experience.
Note that the tool window doesn’t (yet) support everything that Solution Explorer supports, such as multiselect and drag-and-drop.
Solution Navigator also provides interactive tooltips in C# and VB code (replacing the default “quick info” tooltips) that give you the same kind of data, but right at your fingertips. In addition to getting the tooltips on hover, you can:
Another cool new feature is “Quick Access”.
Quick Access is a new tool window that allows users to search for and execute common tasks within the Visual Studio IDE. Not sure where a particular menu command is located? Want a quick way to create a new Silverlight project? By using Quick Access, you can efficiently find and execute common VS operations without taking your hands off the keyboard. Quick Access allows users to:
To use, press Ctrl+3 to launch Quick Access, type in your search term (e.g., “debug”), and press Enter on the desired result. If your search term returns too many results, continue pressing Ctrl+3 to cycle through each category of results.
Some nifty typing improvements are also included:
Automatic Brace Completion improves the productivity of writing code by automatically inserting the closing code construct when the opening construct is typed for VB & C#. More specifically, this extension:
And there have been a bunch of improvements and bug fixes to pre-existing features:
Searchable Add Reference
Fixed: Trying to fix an unresolved reference reported that it is already present in the project. Now it updates the reference with the correct path.
Colorized Parameter Help
Ctrl Click Go To Definition
Document Tab Well settings
We received feedback that the pin button was taking too much space or was too easy to click accidentally. You can now configure whether the pin button appears in unpinned tabs or not. In the options dialog page, just uncheck “Show pin button in unpinned tabs”, in the “Tab UI” section.
Showing pin button in unpinned tabs
Hidden pin button in unpinned tabs
We received feedback about the currently selected tab not being easily distinguishable when using custom colors. We now use a gradient for the selected tab that fades from the custom color to the default VS selected tab color:
Selected tab when using custom colors in previous version:
Selected tab when using custom colors in current version:
We received feedback about text being unreadable in some of the darker colors we use when coloring by project. We no allow you to configure the text color for selected and unselected tabs, for all custom colors:
Many of our users have asked for this command. It will close all unpinned document well tabs.
Installation on Windows XP
Please let us know what you think!