Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
Here’s a few hidden tricks in Visual Studio for those who love <CTRL><C>.
I once heard someone say “the only original line of code every written was the first line of code, the rest was copy and paste.” While that many not entirely be true, all of us who do any serious amount of coding get pretty good at <CTRL><C> and <CTRL><V>. So I thought I would share a couple of tricks I have discovered over the years for efficient copy, cut, and paste.
Here are the tricks I will share in this post (find more tips and tricks here):
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If you want to copy a single line of code, did you know you can just put the cursor anywhere on the line of code and then use <CTRL><C> to copy the line to your clipboard. When no text is selected, the default is to select the entire line.
Have you ever copied something to the clipboard , gone to a blank line to insert it and then accidentally hit <CTRL><C> instead of <CTRL><V>. When you do, it’s really annoying because when you hit <CTRL><C> on the blank line the blank line is pasted to the clipboard and overwrites the code you were planning to paste. So when you do finally hit <CTRL><V> you just insert another blank line.
Obviously someone on the Visual Studio team has made the same mistake because there is actually an option to tell Visual Studio not to copy blank lines.
From the menu, select Tools | Options | Text Editor | All Languages
Then deselect the checkbox beside Apply Cut or Copy Commands to blank lines when there is no selection
Have you ever copied a big block of code, and then just before you were going to insert the code, been distracted by another code change where you did a copy and paste. Of course, after that, when you go to paste that big block of code, it’s been overwritten by something else.
Each item you copy to the clipboard is kept in the clipboard ring, you can actually cycle through the clipboard ring by using the keyboard shortcut <CTRL><SHIFT><V>.
You use the toolbox all the time when you are dragging controls to your forms, did you know you can use the toolbox when you are coding? If you select code and drag it to the toolbox it is saved and at any time you can drag the code from the toolbox back to your code to paste it. The best part is the code you drag to the toolbox will be kept there from project to project, even when you close and re-open Visual Studio. It’s a great place to put favorite comment blocks, error handling, or any other code you want to be able to re-use.
Because you may end up storing a number of snippets here, you may want to rename the snippet. To rename a snippet just right click on the snippet in the toolbox and choose rename from the context menu. Renamed snippets display their names in the toolbox, If you do not rename a snippet, you will see the beginning of the first line of code in the snippet displayed in the toolbox.
The image below shows the toolbox after I dragged over four code snippets to the toolbox. The first three snippets have been renamed.
If you have any favorite tricks, please share them with the rest of us!
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Download Visual Studio Ultimate (DreamSpark Premium) or Visual Studio Professional (DreamSpark Standard), the same tool used in the workplace for your coding. With add-ons like VS Web Essentials you’ll love it, even if you are just building HTML web pages! Add built in Unit tests to make it faster to edit and retest your code. One development environment for building websites, mobile, or cloud apps.
You can get the Windows 8 and Windows Phone SDK at DreamSpark too!
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You have a great business idea, app idea, project idea. You need to convince others of its potential, how do you deliver a great pitch?
Jennifer is 21 and graduating from university in April. She has a great business idea and is trying to explain it to a potential investor.
Fatima is a masters student at U of T who is entering the Imagine Cup technology competition, she has to deliver a 10 minute presentation on her project to convince the judges her team’s project should win.
Mike is a 19 year old college student and he is trying to convince his classmates that his idea is the best one for their term project.
Today I will give you a formula for delivering a great pitch so that you can convince others of the potential of your ideas.
This structure comes from a man by the name of Michael Buschmohle. Michael trains people around the world on how to deliver great presentations. Michael coached teams at the Imagine Cup world finals to help them prepare for their presentations to the judges. He suggests a very effective and simple 4 part structure for delivering a successful, persuasive pitch.
When you draw a picture of the problem for somebody you want to make the vision of your problem come to life for your audience. One of the best ways to do that is to tell the story of a person affected by the problem you will address, or a person who has the need you are going to meet.
Start with a person, bring that person to life in the mind of your audience, give them a name, an age, a position.
Now put that person in a situation where they have the problem or need that your idea will address
Do you have the picture in your mind now? Aren’t you starting to be curious as to what I am going to do for that person? Compare that to a more common opening such as “Hi my name is Susan, I’m a technical evangelist at Microsoft and today I’m going to talk to you about an app I built that can help others keep track of their training information.’” Opening with the problem and making it personal has more impact and is more engaging.
Now that you have them hooked and wondering how you will address the problem, it’s a good time to take a minute and introduce yourself. Especially when you have a very short time to deliver a pitch, you may not want to open with the introduction, they are more interested in what you are going to do than your name.
Now that you have provided a picture of the problem or need, you need to promise them that listening to you for the next minute or ten minutes or hour will be a good investment of their time. What will they learn? What will they be able to do after this presentation that they could not do before?
You can use a simple format such as Today I will … so that you will ….
Today I will introduce you to the Mentor network so that you will be able to understand how your company would benefit by having employees become mentors within the network.
Today I will give you a tour of Familygram, a video version of instagram for families, so that you can evaluate the potential return of an investment in the application.
Today I will explain how the PersonalTrainer app helps athletes succeed, so that you can help members of your running club achieve their training goals.
Try to avoid the generic phrase Today I will talk about… of course you are going to talk about your idea or solution, try to be more specific. Today I will demonstrate/walk through/draw you a picture of/…
Okay now deliver on that promise! Explain how your solution addresses the problem or need! You’ve got my attention, now convince me! As you present your solution you might want to anticipate the questions I will have and address them. How much time will it take to bring your solution to life? How much will it cost to create initially? How much would it cost to expand if it is really successful? How much effort will be involved? Are there any risks involved in what you are trying? Has this been done before? If so what’s different about your idea?
Where possible back up your statements with statistics, facts, results from pilot projects or experiments, testimonials from experts.
So why exactly did you want to deliver this pitch in the first place? Are you trying to get me to fund you on kickstarter? Are you trying to get me to download the beta of your app? Are you trying to get me to tell others about what you have done? If you don’t tell me what you want me to do, how can I do it?
Provide a specific action for your audience to do: Download the free trial, come here and grab a sample, sign up for the pilot, Like us on Facebook.
Are you a student with a great idea?
Register for the Imagine Cup (www.imaginecup.com) your idea could take you to Seattle Washington for the 2014 World Imagine Cup Finals!
Do you have a great idea for an app?
Download the getting started guide for Windows 8 or Windows Phone and take the first step towards bringing your idea to life.
Are you trying to start a business?
Sign up for bizspark at www.bizspark.com and free benefits, including software licenses and cloud resources to help you launch your business
By the way, in case you didn’t notice, this blog post follows the pitch structure described above,I never said subtlety was my strong point.
This series features interviews with student Windows Phone app developers who share what they learned building their phone apps.
This week’s interview features Harold Mintah, a student at Carleton University. Harold is a member of Team GreenSource who built a game called Grumpy Tree.
Could you briefly describe your application/game?
Grumpy Tree is a platforming game about animals taking initiative to make change in the world. The animals are faced with environmental issues presented by the grumpy Character, Mother Nature.
Experience a different style of platforming by tilting and tapping your device through obstacles, and solving puzzles.
Did you use XAML, DirectX, monogame, Unity and why?
We used cocos2d-x, writing the game in C++. We decided to use it because of our familiarity with C++ and because the engine provides professional libraries without any licensing headaches.
What was your banging your head against a wall moment?
We found it pretty frustrating trying to design levels only with code with no level editor. Since this game was being coded for a competition, we thought it was best to finish something and submit, rather than spend all the time developing a level editor
Did you ever solve that issue?
Partially, I wrote a C# application that used images to specify the positioning of objects, give objects parameters, then export a text file containing "Copy-Paste C++" code.
If you had to build this same app again from scratch, what would you do differently?
Certainly invested a bit more time into developing a good level editor.
Any nice surprises?
We had a great time developing for windows phone 8, mainly because of the powerful hardware, so it was great to be able to design high resolution textures without being concerned about lag. You won't notice any lag in our game :)
Did you leverage the mobile platform?
We tapped into the mobile platform by using the accelerometer of the device to control the character.
Did you leverage the touch screen?
The player is able to tap on the screen to make the character jump, and an intuitive swipe interface for level selection.
Did you have a favourite feature?
We really, really liked the tile-feature, because we were able to make our application stand out with our unique pattern.
What is one thing you think you did really well in this application?
We built a game that ran very smooth in a very short amount of time. As students, we had assignments, midterms and tests, and were still able to come up with a nice, smooth-running application.
Are you publishing your application/game?
Yes! It's already published, just search "Grumpy Tree" , http://www.windowsphone.com/en-ca/store/app/grumpy-tree/67823904-2ac5-408a-8681-cbb80183675a
Where can I learn more about your app/game?
If you would like to learn more about the game, and our other games visit www.facebook.com/mintahgames
Who developed this application?
We had Paul Raubic who was the lead programmer, Melanie Bujold the researcher, Jullie Sisson the beta tester, and myself Harold Mintah the lead game and graphic designer. We also had Peter Raubic, our mentor to critique our game and give us advice. Our game was developed for the Microsoft Imagine cup competition, we came first in the game's category in Canada! Paul and I are still developing games, and we hope to someday lead the indie game development industry.
From left to right: Paul Raubic, Julie Sisson, Harold Mintah, Peter Raubic, Melanie Bujold
The Canadian Microsoft Student team is recruiting Microsoft Student Partners for the coming school year, could you be an MSP?
The Microsoft Student Partner program allows our team to work with students on campus to share the latest Microsoft technology with students at your school. Canada’s really big and there are student doing cool stuff in every province and territory, so we work with students at campuses across the country to help us with events and sharing news
There are lots of ways MSPs can help us, exactly what you do will probably depend a bit on your interests, skills and passions. Here’s a few ways you might help us out this year.
We have an early bird special!! We send out a welcome kit to all our MSPs to help them prepare for the year, we have a few extra goodies for the MSPs who are on board before August 9, 2013 (that means apply by August 1st so we can interview you and make sure you will be a good candidate for the program in time for the earlybird bonus)
If you miss the August 1st deadline, you can apply at any time during the year, we generally interview potential candidates in August, December, and May. That makes it easier for us to co-ordinate training and getting new MSPs up-to-speed.
Two simple steps