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Ten Essential Visual Studio 2005 Tools

There is very usefull article in december 2005 issue of MSDN magazine. It's called Ten Essention Visual studio tools. In the time of it's writing visual studio 2005 was not yet available, but whole arcticle was written with this new version in mind. And which tools are essential for James Avery?

#1 - TestDriven.NET

TestDriven.NET is an essential add-in if you work with unit tests or practice test-driven development. TestDriven.NET was written by Jamie Cansdale and can be downloaded from www.testdriven.net.

#2 - GhostDoc

The only problem with XML documentation is the time it takes to write it you often end up writing similar statements over and over again. The goal of GhostDoc is to automate the tedious parts of writing XML comments by looking at the name of your class or method, as well as any parameters, and making an educated guess as to how the documentation should appear based on recommended naming conventions. GhostDoc was written by Roland Weigelt and can be downloaded from www.roland-weigelt.de/ghostdoc.

#3 - Smart Paster

The Smart Paster add-in provides a number of commands on the right-click menu that let you paste a string from the clipboard into Visual Studio using a certain format. It was written by Alex Papadimoulis and is available from weblogs.asp.net/alex_papadimoulis/category/5341.aspx.

#4 - CodeKeep

Throughout the process of software development, it is common to reuse small snippets of code. Perhaps you reuse an example of how to get an enum value from a string or a starting point on how to implement a certain pattern in your language of choice. CodeKeep was written by Arcware's Dave Donaldson and is available from www.codekeep.net.

#5 - PInvoke.NET

P/Invoke is the process used to access native Win32 API calls within the .NET Framework. The PInvoke.NET wiki and Visual Studio add-in take away a lot of the pain and research time sometimes involved when working with the Win32 API from managed code. The wiki can be accessed at http://www.pinvoke.net/, and the add-in can be downloaded from the Helpful Tools link found in the bottom-left corner of the site.

#6 - VSWindowManager PowerToy

Visual Studio includes the concept of window layouts. You may have noticed that when you start debugging, the windows will automatically go back to the layout they were in the last time you were debugging. This is because Visual Studio includes a normal and a debugging window layout. Wouldn't it be nice if there were additional layouts you could use for when you are coding versus designing? Well, that is exactly what VSWindowManager PowerToy does. VSWindowManager is available from workspaces.gotdotnet.com/vswindowmanager.

#7 - WSContractFirst

If you are developing Web services using Visual Studio you should definitely look into WSContractFirst and contract-first development. WSContractFirst was written by Thinktecture's Christian Weyer and can be downloaded from www.thinktecture.com/Resources/Software/WSContractFirst/default.html.

#8 - VSMouseBindings

Your mouse probably has five buttons, so why are you only using three of them? The VSMouseBindings power toy provides an easy to use interface that lets you assign each of your mouse buttons to a Visual Studio command. VSMouseBindings is available from www.gotdotnet.com/team/ide/#original.

#9 - CopySourceAsHTML

Chances are you may have your own blog by now, or at least have spent some time reading them. Normally, when you try to post a cool code snippet to your blog it ends up being plain old text, which isn't the easiest thing to read. This is where the CopySourceAsHTML add-in comes in to play. This add-in allows you to copy code as HTML, meaning you can easily post it to your blog or Web site and retain the coloring applied through Visual Studio. CopySourceAsHTML was written by Colin Coller and can be downloaded from www.jtleigh.com/CopySourceAsHtml.

#10 - Cache Visualizer

Visual Studio 2005 includes a new debugging feature called visualizers, which can be used to create a human-readable view of data for use during the debugging process. There is no easy way while debugging to get an idea of what is in the cache, how long it will be there, or what it is watching. Brett Johnson saw that gap and wrote Cache Visualizer to examine the ASP.NET cache. You can get Cache Visualizer from Brett's blog at blog.bretts.net.

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