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"Quiet please! I'd like you all to welcome Bob to our software development team," said the department manager. "I know we have our big demo tomorrow, but try to get Bob up to speed on all of our projects as quickly as possible."
Bob smiled and nodded to the group, ready to get down to business with his new teammates. Unfortunately, straight faces and hushed groans were all he got in return. He could hear the whispers going around the table: "Who's got time to train this guy?", "I don't have time to baby sit a new developer," "I'm already behind on schedule." It was going to be a tough first day for Bob.
Later that morning, the lead developer, Frank, came over to Bob's desk. He said to Bob, "I'd love to sit and walk through the code with you, but our schedule is crazy right now with the demo tomorrow. There's not really any documentation I can give you, so you'll just have to look through the source code on your own until we can sit down together."
"No problem," Bob said. "Actually, I generated documentation myself with SlickEdit Tools. They have a feature that examines the source code and generates fully linked MSDN®-like documentation from it. I've been reading through that and have a pretty good feel for the class layout."
"Wow, nice…" replied Frank. "You know, the rest of us on the team could really use that kind of documentation. But it looks like you have to view it directly in Visual Studio."
"Well," said Bob, "if you use it in Visual Studio, the documentation has links () directly to the source code, which is really helpful. But you can also export it to HTML to view in a browser. I'll put it on the network drive and send an e-mail to everyone with a link to it. By the way, there's a trial of the full version of Tools available at SlickEdit's Web site."
"I'll check that out," said Frank, "when I get time. Right now, I've got to look into some serious performance problems we're having in our data layer when we try to pull certain customer's accounts."
Later that morning, Bob walked over to Frank's desk, where he found the rest of the development team huddled around looking at his screen.
"Hey Frank, I took a look into that data layer problem and I think I figured it out."
"That's great Bob," said Frank, "but we've got a bigger problem here… we forgot to check our icons and graphics into source control and the drive that stored them crashed. We have no other copy anywhere and we need them for our demo to keep the same look and feel as the other apps." Frank just sighed and closed his eyes, ready to give up on the whole thing.
"Oh, that's an easy one," said Bob. "Do you have that trial of SlickEdit Tools installed?"
"Yeah," said Frank, "but I didn't get a chance to use it."
"That's fine," replied Bob. "Go to the SlickEdit menu and select the Icon Extractor. It can pull out all of the images from either managed or unmanaged binaries."
"But we lost bitmaps along with the icons," said Frank sadly.
"No problem, it pulls out any image type. Just find the binary and the Icon Extractor loads the images and icons into its tool window. Now you can browse them and save them back to disk. Even better, the Icon Extractor lets you drag and drop icons and images right onto the controls in your active form designer in Visual Studio. No more file browsing for them."
"Bob, this is wonderful!" said Frank.
"Oh," said Bob, "about that performance problem. I used the Visual Studio profiler and found the problem was generally in the EmployeeData class. I then used the SlickEdit Tools Quick Profiler to really isolate the problem. It lets me associate data values with the captured performance timing. It turns out that there was a set of customer names that were causing problems. It turns out they are international customers and there were lots of exceptions being thrown when parsing their phone number formats. I fixed up the code, reran the test and got much better results... problem solved."
"Amazing, Bob!" said Frank. "Alright everybody, team lunch is on me today!"
Over lunch, the team asked Bob how he was able to fix the phone number problem so quickly. "That code uses some really complex regex matching," they said. "Regex can be so frustrating because it feels like trial and error until you get it right. It took us forever to write that, and even then it didn't work."
"Regex is easy with SlickEdit Tools," Bob said with a smile. "It has a feature called the Regex Evaluator which it incorporates into Visual Studio. It helps you interactively build regex queries, and then lets you test them on the fly. You can even test your regex against the text in an editor window. That lets you to set up thorough tests for your regex quickly. Once you've written your regex, you can even save it to a personal library. That tool helped me fix the problem and test it at the same time."
"Incredible!" they all said.
After lunch, everyone had installed the SlickEdit Tools trial. Soon, the team was using directory aliases to quickly navigate their source directories. Their C++ source code could be navigated like never before with the new code navigation capabilities. Features like Word Completions and Acronyms let them code faster than they ever had before. With the demo on the horizon, the team's outlook turned from despair to confidence.
From across the room someone yelled out, "Look at this… my comments are wrapping! It's just like using a word processor!"
"That's right," said Bob. "With SlickEdit Tools, you can configure the editor to format comments as you type. Wrapping works with any type of comment—line comments, block comments, XMLdoc and Javadoc comments. Existing comments can even be reflowed, or reformatted. You'll never have to format your comment blocks by hand again."
But then, from behind the far cubicle wall, a saddened voice said, "Well I've got a problem that SlickEdit Tools can't help with." A hush fell across the office. "I was working on the performance problem, too... until you came along and fixed it so quickly. Now I've got a lot of broken code here that needs to be backed out. But if I undo my checkout in source control, I'll lose the five bug fixes I've done since I checked it out three days ago. There's nothing that can fix this problem... we're doomed."
All eyes turned to Bob.
"Do you know about what time it was working last?" he asked.
"Around 10 this morning, after our team meeting."
"No problem," said Bob. "Just open the SlickEdit Tools Backup History window. It manages a list of every saved version of the files you edit in Visual Studio. Find the entry around 10AM and you can revert to it. It's like having source control between check-ins."
"What if I'm not sure which version is the right one? How can I see the differences?"
"That's easy," replied Bob. "Select an entry in Backup History and the tool will allow you to diff the selected version with your current version, using DIFFzilla®, SlickEdit's differencing engine. Once you compare the versions, you can either open the revision in its own editor or you can revert the file back to that selected version."
The changes were reverted and the solution built successfully. "It did it! This is a life saver, thank you Bob!" Cheers and applause were heard around the office.
Frank raised his hand and announced, "Because of Bob and SlickEdit Tools, we can all go home on time tonight, and successfully deliver our demo in the morning. Great work, Bob! The only thing I want to know is… what are you going to do on your second day here?"
Bob smiled and raised an eyebrow, knowing exactly what he had in mind.
Short movies are available on the SlickEdit Web site that show most of the features in SlickEdit Tools, so that you can see them in action.
At SlickEdit, we are confident that you will be as excited about the latest release of SlickEdit® Tools for Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005 as we are. Download the trial version and try it out for yourself.
This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)
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