Just a quick post to remind everyone that Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 has now been released.  It has too many features to cover in detail here.  However, in addition to a number of fixes, it also allows you to get rid of the ALL CAPS menus.

 

This:

becomes this:

 

New goodies include better Web tooling (MVC, WebAPI, JSON, CSS) and vastly-increased debugging capabilities.  This is a free update, and it is well worth the download time. 

 

The REAL reason for this post, however, is to make sure that people know about these add-ins:

I have been doing more development lately, and these tools are really useful. 

 

Productivity Power Tools provides about 25 useful features to general development.  My favorites are:

  • Peek Help (Alt + F1) - invoke context-sensitive help from MSDN and display it in the "Peek Definition" window.
  • Solution Explorer Errors - Solution Explorer now places "squiggles" beneath files, folders, projects, and solutions that contain errors.  Now it is obvious where my errors lie.  Hovering the mouse pointer over a squiggle causes the error messages to pop up in a little window.
  • Structure Visualizer - Vertical lines connect the begin and end of block constructs, such as if statements.  This is really nice when there are a lot of nested structures or one structure is large than one screen height.
  • Document Well - Customize many of the color and behaviors of the tabs in the source editor window.

All of the features are configurable, and can be enabled or disabled as you see fit.  The full feature list is available on the Visual Studio Gallery page.

 

Web Essentials adds enhanced support for Web page development, including CSS (more Intellisense), JavaScript (Minification, Auto-complete braces), and more.  It also enhances BrowserLink so that it is even more useful than before. Check out the web site for a full list of features.