Microsoft TechEd 2010: Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Tips & Tricks

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For the last seminar period of Day Two, 5:00 PM to 6:15 PM, I attended “MS Visual Studio 2010 Tips & Tricks” with presenters Dustin Campbell of Microsoft and Scott Cate of

5:00 PM: We kick off and are told not to worry about taking notes – all of the following is available at and answers will be posted to questions asked on the Twitter hashtag #DEV315.

5:04 PM: IntelliSense now filters down class names for “new” declarations in C# (already did in VS 2008 for VB.NET).

Will also filter by the capital letters you type (SR for StringReader) – “camel case”.

5:06 PM: New mode for IntelliSense called suggestion mode (Ctrl-Alt-Space). Won’t have to hit Escape to deselect autocompleted class/variable names. Now your suggestions come up but must be confirmed by pressing Tab before they get filled in. IDE remembers this setting in between loads.

5:08 PM: Windows 7 and VS 2010: Lets you pin classes, projects to start page. Also lets you right-click and remove from list. Had to do this in the registry in VS 2008.

5:10 PM: Startup modes: Can show an empty environment always, show last solution, start pages can be customized.

5:11 PM: Code editor tricks: Can right-click a class name and choose View Call Hierarchy. Not only what this class calls, but what classes call it.

5:13 PM: Shift-F12 shows all of the references in the project to a class property.

5:14 PM: Code Definition Window: Any place you show in the code, split screen shows the declaration of the object. Even works for built-in types like the Integer class.

5:16 PM: In Visual Studio 2010, click on an instantiated class and immediately highlight all references to it in the current screen.

5:18 PM: Visual Studio 2010 will have official multiple monitor support. (Audience applause.) “As you can imagine, this is sort of hard to demo with just one monitor…” (Audience laughter.)

5:21 PM: I don’t use regions, but if I did, I could show and hide them quickly using keyboard shortcuts. Edit > Outlining.

5:24 PM: Navigation tricks. Most notable: Ctrl-Alt-Down to open a list of open windows, then start typing the name of the file to select it.

5:30 PM: Navigate To (Ctrl-,) window is Cate’s choice for most helpful new feature of the IDE. Filters as you type, searches everything in the project.

5:33 PM: Create throwaway or temporary projects often? (I do, to drop XML files into to look at web service input/output.) Not new to Visual Studio 2010 but from 2005 onwards. Create a new project. Gets placed under “Temporary Projects” folder, thrown away when VS is closed. You can still save the project later on if you’d like. Set this under Tools > Options > Projects and Solutions, Uncheck “Save new projects when created” checkbox. Doesn’t work for websites/services as no path is available to use for testing.

5:49 PM: VS 2010: ?-Tab brings up code snippets in VB.NET. Press ?-Tab, type “for” and press Enter – you’ll get a basic for loop dropped in.

5:52 PM: VS 2010: Run To Cursor (Ctrl-F10) feature lets you bypass setting a breakpoint and starting debug mode – just press Ctrl-F10 and the project will run to that line, halting there.

5:53 PM: IntelliTrace, the most exciting new feature in Visual Studio 2010 as far as I’m concerned. Aside from being your local traceback, lets you get a tracefile from a tester that’s checked into TFS and view exactly what they did, input data included. So much for, “it works on my machine…” This is a premium feature not available in all versions of TFS.

IntelliTrace events can be set/unset to catch only what you want to see in the log.

5:58 PM: VS 2010: You can now name breakpoints using labels! Can also be saved to a file to use later.

6:00 PM: Tracepoints? If you need to iterate to a particular place in a for loop, use a tracepoint. Lets you output custom text (variables included) to the Output Window. Can stop on each point return, or just create a quick log.

6:03 PM: Breakpoint conditions! Also, you can pin your “data tip” during debug mode so you don’t have to keep hovering over the value to see it. Persists across debug sessions. Very exciting (no sarcasm intended).

6:06 PM: I am very glad I didn’t skip out on this seminar to get an early dinner.

6:07 PM: Architecture diagrams – very neat and useful for looking at other people’s projects, or as a (hands-off) manager of a team. Lets you take a quick 30,000 foot view of a project, and drill down into each class as you wish to.

6:13 PM: VS 2010 is much more extensible – Tools > Extension Manager drops you into an online gallery to add new tools as needed.

Sample extensions: Current line highlight, document tab pinning (worth a look for this alone)…

Seminar’s over! Hope you learned something new here – I certainly did.


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