Visual Studio Tools and Tricks

I decided it was time to share some of my favorite tools and tricks that I use to make my time in Visual Studio more productive.

Naming Standards

If you do not already know the name and website IDesign.net, then I suggest you explore them and get to know them well.  This is the architecture and design site started by Juval Lowy and now has such .NET architects as Michele Leroux Bustamante, Brian Noyes, Mark Michaelis, Dino Esposito, Miguel A. Castro.  I had the luxury of seeing some of their presentations last week at DevConnections, but I digress. 

The reason I bring them up is that if you do not have any DOCUMENTED (and yes I said documented) naming conventions and standards, then why create them yourself.  IDesign.net has a published list of naming conventions located here.  You can also import all of these naming standards as well as other Visual Studio settings from IDesign.net here as well.

This will get your environment up and running in a common and standard format.

Code Style Enforcer

Now that you have some published rules, how about helping to enforce those rules?  You can use several tools built on DXCore from DevExpress.  The first that I was looking at was StyleCop on CodePlex, but the issue was that it was last worked on back in version 9.3 and has not been maintained.  While it did some things, it needed a lot of work to get current. 

The second one that I looked at was Code Style Enforcer written by Joel F.  This tool will highlight (similar to Word) your code as you write it so that all naming patterns that you violate will be highlighted.   A must have to keep all your developers honest on the project.  It has options to set your own naming conventions but again, refer to the above guideline before proceeding down this route.  You can also set global rules so that all your projects will be in sync or just at the project level so that each one can follow their own standards.

XML Comments

In need to create great XML documentation for your project?  Getting tired of hitting the “back whack” key several times a day?  How about using a shortcut to get all your method parameters and some basic documentation ready for you?

I use a tool called Ghost Doc located here.  By hitting a quick key combination it will start your XML comments for you and make some best guesses and a quick summary of your method name.  Saves a few keystrokes a day/month/year.

Summary

These are my must have tools when getting setup in Visual Studio.  If you have a large team, or a small one man shop, I suggest utilizing some of these tools to make you more efficient and consistent with your work.

Thanks

Print | posted on Monday, November 7, 2011 8:43 PM

Feedback

# re: Visual Studio Tools and Tricks

left by massage bathtub at 11/21/2011 4:19 AM Gravatar
The article not gather together!

# re: Visual Studio Tools and Tricks

left by Online Funding at 6/18/2012 5:19 AM Gravatar
Its not an easy to work with visual studio without tools thanks for the updates

# re: Visual Studio Tools and Tricks

left by M.Stramm at 3/18/2013 7:17 AM Gravatar
Hi, just to give an update in the tooling scene: For XML-Documentation there's also the free SandCastle. It hasn't been too well maintained, but it's what drives MSDN docs and it's feature-complete.
StyleCop does get updated every now and then, it's rules are sensible and with ReSharper (which is a musthave), violations are shown immediately, plus there's quick fixes for most issues.
And then there's FxCop, which checks for design rules which probably nobody except for Microsoft cares about nowadays.

# re: Visual Studio Tools and Tricks

left by M.Stramm at 3/18/2013 7:18 AM Gravatar
And if you ever need to work with a native win32 api from .Net, you will come to see http://pinvoke.net/ as a blessing.
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