Scott Hanselman

VS Refactoring Essentials (formerly) NR6Pack - Free analyzers and refactoring for Visual Studio 2015

July 8, '15 Comments [24] Posted in Open Source | VS2015
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There are some amazing free and open source C# and VB.NET analyzers and refactorings that you can download and use now in Visual Studio 2015. Formerly called "NR6Pack" they have now be renamed VS Refactoring Essentials, a nice nod to VSWebEssentials I must say.

The best part, of course, is that since the Visual Studio Community Edition is not only FREE but also now supports extensions, that any open source or indie developer can get pack some serious power into their Visual Studio installations.

There's some interesting history here as the project and its core technology has been around for a while. It's moved from SharpDevelop into NRefactory, then NRPack, and now with the major Roslyn refactor by Mike Krüger, you've got a nice Roslyn code-base and a free extension for all called VS Refactoring Essentials.

There's lots of great refactorings, too many to include screenshots for all of them, but here's a few favorites.

Sometimes you'll dig deep into a dictionary without being defensive. VS Refactoring Essentials will notice and check the dictionary key first. Note that you'll always get a preview of what it's going to change first!

CheckDictionaryKeyValueCodeRefactoring

Conditionals can sometimes get away from you. VS Refactoring Essentials will simplify common conditionals and make them easier to read.

SimplifyConditionalTernaryExpressionAnalyzer

When setting boolean flags you'll sometimes set it, check something, and update that same flag. This refactoring will notice that and do it all on one line for you.

ConvertIfToOrExpressionAnalyzer

I never get ?: and ?? correct. VS Refactoring Essentials will help you move between ternary operators and null coalescing.

ConvertConditionalTernaryToNullCoalescingAnalyzer

FYI - This is a purely open source project that is not affiliated with Microsoft. It's part of the SharpDevelop OSS project and is MIT-licensed. Big thanks to the SharpDevelop team!

NOTE: Visual Studio 2015 will launch on July 20th. Be sure to download Visual Studio 2015 Community on that date. Until then, the V2015RC of Community is here.

Be sure to follow @VSRefactoring on twitter and thanks for them for their hard work and community focus! Go download Refactoring Essentials here for VS2015. Report issues on their GitHub.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Historical Debugging, Profiling, New Diagnostic Tools in Visual Studio 2015

June 17, '15 Comments [16] Posted in VS2015
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The full range of .NET 2.0 through 4.6 in Visual Studio 2015I've been working with Visual Studio 2015 lately, even for older projects. You can create and edit all kids of .NET app from .NET 2.0 all the way up through .NET 4.6, as well as ASP.NET 5 apps on the Core CLR.

In my case I've been doing some pair programming with Mark Downie on DasBlog, the blog system that runs this blog right here. DasBlog is very old, and used to be very actively developed. The question "is DasBlog dead" is asked a lot, but the answer is really "DasBlog is done." For years it has been very feature-full and feature-complete. However, this blog has been running on .NET 2.0 for years. Mark and I thought it would be nice to upgrade DasBlog to .NET 4.6, so we did. We've also moved DasBlog over to GitHub. You'll find it at http://github.com/shanselman/dasblog.

Now, to be clear, DasBlog was amazing in 2004 and 2008 but it's aging now. Mark and I think that's the fun of it, though. Mark's added Twitter Card and Facebook Open Graph support, and together we've fixed a few oddities and bugs that have popped up in the leap from 2.0 to 4.6. However DasBlog remains idiomatic .NET 2.0 which means it's C# 2.0, and doesn't even make good use of Linq or generics. We're thinking about a few updates, moving the Templating system to RazorEngine, updating to Linq queries, smarter threading for collections, better caching, as well of Mark's ideas around social.

You might think it's weird to use Visual Studio 2015 to work with a .NET 2.0 app, but it's useful to remember that you get to use new Visual Studio features even with older frameworks. One of the most useful new features is the Diagnostic Tools toolbox. It's a boring name for an amazing new part of VS. I'm not sure what they could call it other than Diagnostic Tools, but it's insanely convenient.

Diagnostics Tools in Visual Studio 2015

Often we think of Debugging and Profiling as two separate activities, and honestly, I talk to developers all the time that have never Profiled an app. They know that Profiling exists as a tool and a concept, but for whatever reason they forget about it, don't get around to it, or haven't adopted it as a fundamental part of their daily workflow.

The Diagnostic Tools in Visual Studio 2015 bring in data from a number of sources, Breakpoints, the Debugger, Tracing and Debug out, as well as Intellitrace Events and Historical Debugging (on supported SKUs).

Notice in the screenshot above, I can even see a little tip showing how many milliseconds has elapsed between two breakpoints. It's little features like this that take data that has long been available but not in front of your face. Why dig for it?

You can see how many milliseconds between calls

I can even go back in time with Historical Debugging. See how I can backup and see the state of Local Variables and the Call Stack when I'm at a Breakpoint?

Historical Debugging

If you have a SKU with IntelliTrace, you can get extra info if you'd like to enable Historical Debugging.

IntelliTrace

See how I've got Memory and CPU graphs, and I didn't have to do anything? This pops up automatically when Debugging:

Diagnostic Tools gives you all these lovely charts

I can take Memory Snapshots, go to the next Breakpoint, take another and compare!

Memory Snapshots

If you've got Visual Studio 2015 and haven't started using these tools, I'd suggest you start exploring. They're useful enough that they've got me using VS2015 RC for all my projects, even older .NET 2.0 ones.

NOTE: Remember that Visual Studio Community is free for Open Source projects, and supports extensions! http://www.visualstudio.com/free

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Visual Studio Web Development Tip - Add Chrome Incognito Mode as a Browser

June 17, '15 Comments [38] Posted in VS2015
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Here's a little Visual Studio web development tip that I've been using lately. You know how Visual Studio picks up your installed browsers and has them available as a dropdown list?

List of Browsers in Visual Studio

I found it very useful when debugging to add Google Chrome's Incognito Mode as a browser of its own.

Pull down the chevron and click Browse With...

Browse With Menu

Add Chrome from either it's standard or user location:

  • System: C:\Program Files (x86)\Google\Chrome\Application\
  • User: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application

Then add --incognito as command line switch and name the browser something like "Google Chrome - Incognito."

You can do the same thing with Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Here I'm adding Internet Explorer with the -private option.

Internet Explorer Private mode

This is a useful thing for developers if you're doing anything with cookies or caching and you've found yourself clearing the cache or browser history a lot.

Added Internet Explorer Private Mode to Visual Studio

Question for you dear Reader - Is this a feature you would want by default? Would you want not just every browser added, but also the Private Mode for each as well?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Introducing Visual Studio Code for Windows, Mac, and Linux

April 29, '15 Comments [85] Posted in ASP.NET | VS2015
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Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.33.49 PM

What a wonderful time to be developer. I'm down here at the BUILD Conference in San Francisco and Microsoft has just launched Visual Studio Code - a code-optimized editor for Windows, Mac, and Linux and a new member of the Visual Studio Family.

Visual Studio Code (I call it VSCode, myself) is a new free developer tool. It's a code editor, but a very smart one. It's cross-platform, built with TypeScript and Electron, and runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Visual Studio Code has syntax highlighting for dozens of languages, the usual suspects like CoffeeScript, Python, Ruby, Jade, Clojure, Java, C++, R, Go, makefiles, shell scripts, PowerShell, bat, xml, you get the idea. It has more than just autocomplete (everyone has that, eh?) it has real IntelliSense. It also as IntelliSense for single files like HTML, CSS, LESS, SASS, and Markdown. There's a huge array of languages that Visual Studio Code supports.

IMHO, the real power of this editor is its project IntelliSense for C#, TypeScript, JavaScript/node, JSON, etc. For example, when an ASP.NET 5 application is being edited in Visual Studio Code, the IntelliSense is provided by the open source projects Roslyn and OmniSharp. This means you get actual intelligent refactoring, navigation, and lots more. Visual Studio Code's support for TypeScript is amazing because it has JavaScript and TypeScript at its heart.

Visual Studio Code has git support, diffs, interesting extensibility models through gulp, and is is a great debugger for JavaScript and Nodejs apps. They are also working on debugging support for things like the .NET Core CLR and Mono on all platforms.

This a code-focused and code-optimized lightweight tool, not a complete IDE. There's no File | New Project or visual designers. If you live and work in the command line, you'll want to check free tool out.

You can download Visual Studio Code now at http://code.visualstudio.com.

They'll be blogging at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/vscode and you can email them feedback at vscodefeedback@microsoft.com and follow them at @code.

Download Visual Studio Code and check the the docs to get started. Also note the docs for ASP.NET support and Node.js support. Visual Studio Code is a preview today, but it's going to move FAST. It automatically updates and will be updating in weeks, not months.

And here's some screenshots of Visual Studio Code because it's awesome. Code what you like, how you like, on what you like, and you can run it all (by the way) in Azure. ;)

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.17.59 PM

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 11.28.35 PM

 
image

Have fun!


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Quake Mode Console for Visual Studio - Open a Command Prompt with a hotkey

January 21, '15 Comments [45] Posted in Tools | VS2012 | VS2013 | VS2015
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Back in March of 2013 when Phil Haack was deep into GitHub for Windows development we were going back and forth in email about how to quickly get into a shell from a specific project. I hate always having to paste in a "CD somedirectory" so I usually use some kind of "Command Prompt Here" right click menu.

TIP: A lot of people don't realize that you can Shift-Right-Click on a folder in Windows Explorer and you'll automatically get a "Command Prompt Here" menu item!

Anyway, Phil and I were emailing and he said (remember that GitHub for Windows (GHfW) was in development)...and I've always loved how the Quake console pops up when you press ~ in Quake.

I feel ashamed I didn't know this, but I just discovered that CTRL+ALT+D brings up the shell when in GHfW. We are considering ways to make our keyboard shortcuts more discoverable. Kind of like the `?` support we have on GitHub.com. We should totally make that a ~ shouldn't we? Like in Quake, Doom, etc.

And they did. When you're in GitHub for Windows just press ~ and you'll automatically get a new command prompt (or Bash Shell or PowerShell) and be dropped in to the current folder's directory. It's my most favorite feature about GitHub for Windows.

I mentioned this to Mads Kristensen yesterday and said we should build this feature into Visual Studio. Rather than waiting, he just created a little single purpose extension called Open Command Line. It works in Visual Studio 2012, 2013, and 2015.

Open Command Line

But it's the hotkeys that make it awesome. Now I'm not sure how I lived without it. Alt-Space and it opens up a prompt right where I need it. Go download the Open Command Line free Visual Studio extension now, and remember, it works in Visual Studio Community which is also free! You can set it to open CMD, PowerShell, or a custom prompt.

Oh, by the way, the overlay there that shows what hotkey I'm using, that's Carnac.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.