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Code Better Faster with SlickEdit Tools for Visual Studio

Introducing a set of tools designed to speed up development and dramatically increase productivity

Editorial Note

This article is in the Product Showcase section for our sponsors at CodeProject. These reviews are intended to provide you with information on products and services that we consider useful and of value to developers.

Introduction

SlickEdit Tools is a powerful collection of utilities optimized for use within the Microsoft Visual Studio environment. SlickEdit Tools is organized into two products: the Editing Toolbox and the Versioning Toolbox. The Editing Toolbox provides features that add convenience to common tasks involved in developing software. The Versioning Toolbox provides features that let you easily understand and navigate the history of your source code.

A trial version of the product may be downloaded by clicking this link.

Editing Toolbox Key Features

Comment Wrapping

Code editors are designed to excel at formatting code, not plain text files. For normal coding purposes, this is what a developer would expect. However, when a developer needs to write verbose comments, this becomes a real problem. Every developer has experienced the problem of trying to update multi-line comments and having to realign all of the commented text so that the lines have a relatively uniform size.

SlickEdit’s Comment Wrapping solves this problem by enhancing the code editor to wrap comments automatically. Wrapping works with any type of multi-line comment: line comments, block comments, XMLdoc and Javadoc comments. Now, when you need to remove two words from the first sentence of a 10-line comment block, all of the realignment of your block comment will be done for you, just like word wrap in a word processor.

The following screenshot shows an XMLdoc comment with comment wrapping turned on.

comment_wrapping_before.jpg

The next screenshot shows the comment after editing just the first sentence. The rest of the paragraph is naturally wrapped to fit in the defined margins.

comment_wrapping_after.jpg

Code Annotations

The Code Annotations feature allows you to store notes, or annotations, about your source code. All annotations are stored in separate files, without modifying your source code files, allowing them to be private or shared with a group. Advanced search and filter capabilities are also available when the annotation list becomes large. Personal notes, "To Do" lists and code review comments have never been easier to record.

There are a handful of predefined annotation types, such as Bug, Comment and Task, but you can create as many types as you like using the annotation designer. Annotations can be exported and sent to other developers, and you can produce annotation reports that can be printed or saved as HTML.

annotations_small.JPG

Auto Code Doc Viewer

Developers have the ability to add XMLdoc to their code elements, similar to Javadoc. Microsoft Visual Studio allows the developer to output their XMLdoc comments to an XML file during the build step, which is then used for Intellisense®. Unfortunately, Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 don't not provide any way to turn those comments into documentation for the code base.

The Auto Code Doc Viewer tool provides an easy way to turn your header comments into MSDN-like documentation. The tool extracts all header comments -- whether they are XMLdoc, line comments or block comments -- and will create fully linked HTML help that can be browsed inside Visual Studio as a tool window. All help pages provide a link to jump directly to the source code, so it's easy to get from a help page to the actual source code. The generated HTML help pages may also be exported to a folder for viewing in an external Web browser and sharing with others.

autodoc2.jpg

[Click for larger image]

Versioning Toolbox Key Features

Most features in the Versioning Toolbox (except Backup History) connect to your source control provider to produce their results. Team Foundation Server, Visual Source Safe, CVS and SVN are currently supported.

Backup History

Many projects have standards for checking in code. Often, you might want to view or restore an earlier version that is not ready for check-in. Backup History creates files containing just the differences between each saved version of a file. This saves disk space and provides a convenient way to access previous versions of a file, even if it has not been checked into source control. Previous versions may then be reloaded or diffed using DIFFzilla®. Backup History does not replace source control; it bridges the gap between check-ins, providing a greater safety net for your coding.

backup_history.jpg

Version Visualizations

Version Visualizations allow you to see the version details for every line of code in a file. This is similar to CVS's Annotate, or SVN's Blame features; however, version visualizations show you the results directly in the editor. Visualizations are also designed to highlight and colorize versions meeting your specific criteria, making it easy to scan any source code file for version-related areas of interest. Visualizations quickly answer the questions, "When was this written?" and "Who wrote this?"

visualization_small.JPG

Find Version

find_version1.jpgFind Version allows you to search source control for check-ins matching specific criteria, similar to Find in Files. Find Version allows you to search across versions of a single file, selected files, or all files in the current project or in the entire solution. The Results window lets you diff any version with its previous version to see what changes it introduced. You can also produce a version report that can be printed or saved as HTML.

This tool is extremely useful for conducting code reviews for a single developer, determining what and how many changes have occurred in the last few days, or to correlate changes given key phrases in check-in comments or label names.

find_version2.jpg

CVS and SVN Integration

This feature allows you to access CVS and SVN repositories without leaving Visual Studio. It allows you to do common tasks directly in the Solution Explorer, such as getting the latest version, checking in changes and viewing version history.

cvssvn.jpg

Version Graphs

A file's version history is typically viewed as a flat list of check-in dates and comments. Version Graphs allow you to view the same information graphically in ways that are designed to highlight trends and patterns not normally seen in the data alone.

version_graph2.jpg

[Click for larger image]

Take It for a Spin

At SlickEdit, we are confident that you will be as excited about the latest release of SlickEdit® Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio as we are. Download the trial version and try it out for yourself.

Download the trial of SlickEdit® Tools.

License

This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)

About the Author

SlickEdit Inc.
Web Developer
United States United States
SlickEdit Inc. provides software developers with multi-language development tools and the most advanced code editors available. Power programmers, from Fortune 500 companies to individuals, have chosen SlickEdit as their development tool of choice for over 19 years. Proven on Windows, Linux, UNIX, and Mac OS X platforms, SlickEdit products enable even the most accomplished developers to write more code faster, and more accurately. For more information about SlickEdit and free trial downloads, please visit http://www.slickedit.com.
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