If you use Visual Studio 2010 at all, stop what you are doing and install the Productivity Power Tools. It is extraordinarily easy to do so ( go to Tools->Extension Manager…, and search for “Productivity Power Tools” ):

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There are a number of fantastic features in the Power Tool deliverable, but the one I want to point out is the new Solution Navigator. ( There have been a number of posts about these capabilities today, but I simply couldn’t help myself on this. I had to write about it! :) )

Solution Navigator: A Solution Explorer Replace

After you install the power tool and open your favorite solution, notice the new Solution Navigator tool window. The Solution Navigator gives a number of new features that you will quickly find invaluable. There are a number of little capabilities that you will find valuable, such as the ability to collapse all nodes in the navigator with one click of a button:

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But this is just the start. You can also filter the Navigator by typing in a search string in the search toolbox as seen below:

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In the example above, you’ll notice that I typed in “Main” in the search box, which highlights the “Main” method found in the Program class located in the Program.cs file in the OrderProcessor project. This exemplifies yet another fantastic addition, which is the ability to drill down into individual files to see the types found in those files. Nice!

You can do the same thing with Assembly references as well, which allows you to drill down into the assembly, getting at contained namespaces and types:

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Another great touch is the ability to root the navigator to any arbitrary node. You do this by clicking the icon to the right of the node you want to root, or select the node and hit Ctrl-Right Arrow:

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And here’s a shot of the Project node I selected above rooted in the navigator.

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The great thing about this of course, is that it removes some of the noise in the UI when you are working in one particular area of your source base.

You’ll also notice the “All, Open, Unsaved, Edited” words below the solution. Below I’m showing you what happens to the navigator when I’ve got a three documents opened in the document well and want to filter the navigator so that I can quickly see what projects those files belong to:

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I just can’t say enough how great this new capability is.

It has simply made my day! :)

Cameron