Susan Ibach runs a Visual Studio Time Savers video series highlighting useful, but not very well known Visual Studio IDE features. Have a look!
Visual Studio Platform Team has released the Macros for Visual Studio 2013 extension for VS 2013 to record, edit and execute text editing commands and window operations. You can open the new Macro Explorer tool window from the Tools – Macros menu:
Macro Explorer lists your own macros and preinstalled samples:
You can run a macro double-clicking the name in Macro Explorer or assign a keyboard shortcut (for up to 9 macros).
(To react on Visual Studio events like document saving or reuse older VB macros you still need to use the Visual Commander extension. Visual Commander additionally allows you to write command code in C# and provides access to .NET framework.)
You can download Macros for Visual Studio 2013 here.
Yesterday Microsoft released a new Visual Studio 2013 edition – Visual Studio Community 2013:
Internally it is Visual Studio Professional 2013 with Update 4 (that normally costs $499) excluding SharePoint, Office, LightSwitch and Cloud Business Applications from the installer, but now is free for non-enterprise organizations. The exact license wording is following:
- “Any individual developer can use Visual Studio Community to create their own free or paid apps.
- An unlimited number of users within an organization can use Visual Studio Community for the following scenarios: in a classroom learning environment, for academic research, or for contributing to open source projects.
- For all other usage scenarios: In non-enterprise organizations, up to 5 users can use Visual Studio Community. In enterprise organizations (meaning those with >250 PCs or > $1MM in annual revenue), no use is permitted beyond the open source, academic research, and classroom learning environment scenarios described above.” (source)
- “Example 1: A University wants to use Visual Studio Community 2013 for training students enrolled in the “Data structures and Programming” course and for a “Big Data” academic research project that requires building a cross-platform mobile application. Further the University also plans to customize its ERP software and automate processes through its internal LOB applications. Visual Studio Community 2013 use is allowed by academic institutions for classroom learning environment and academic research and hence the University can use the software for its coursework and the research project. However Visual Studio Community 2013 cannot be used for developing and testing its internal LOB applications.
- Example 2: A Fortune 500 firm has outsourced the development of its store-locator mobile application to a small agency. The application is not an open source project. The agency has 5 employees working on the project and would like to use Visual Studio Community 2013. Since the agency is a contractor developing this application for the Fortune 500 firm, and since the application is not an open source project, the agency cannot use Visual Studio Community 2013 for developing and testing the application.
- Example 3: A Fortune 500 ISV is working on a mobile application which is released under the Open Source Institute (OSI)-approved open source software licenses. Employees and contractors developing and testing this application may use Visual Studio Community 2013.”(Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing White Paper)
Microsoft previously offered another free Visual Studio edition – Visual Studio Express, but it did not support third party add-ins and extension. Visual Studio Community 2013 supports all add-ins and extensions that work with Visual Studio Professional 2013 (it even returns Professional as the Edition property of the Visual Studio DTE automation object). “Soma mentioned in today’s Connect event that Visual Studio Community Edition may retire Visual Studio Express Editions in future, but this is not decided yet” OneCode Team. “We’re not currently planning to release an Express edition in the 2015 wave. The community edition will become our first and best free offering for developers creating non-enterprise apps.” Doris Chen.
You can download Visual Studio Community 2013 with Update 4 here (Web installer 1.2 MB or ISO 6.9 GB).
Since Visual Studio 2010, common C++ project properties (e.g. external VC++ Directories like Include Directories and Library Directories) are defined in property sheet files and managed with the Visual Studio Property Manager. See Sharing project properties in Visual C++ by Sebastian Krysmanski for a good description of this system.
If you use both VS 2010 and VS 2013 on the same machine, you might have a problem due to the common %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\MSBuild\v4.0\Microsoft.Cpp.Win32.user.props file shared by all VS versions. I.e. setting Include Directories in VS 2013 Property Manager changes it for VS 2010 as well. If you want different directories for different VS versions then you have a problem.
A solution utilizes conditional property values that can be added to a specific property or a group. (You need to manually edit the %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\MSBuild\v4.0\Microsoft.Cpp.Win32.user.props file in a text editor as VS Property Manager doesn’t let you add conditions.) One environment variable that is not defined for VS 2010 and defined for VS 2013 is WindowsSDK_LibraryPath_x86 (source: Microsoft.Cpp.Win32.user property sheet file shared by both VS2010 and VS2012?). The result may look like this:
<PropertyGroup Condition="$(WindowsSDK_LibraryPath_x86) == ''">
<PropertyGroup Condition="$(WindowsSDK_LibraryPath_x86) != ''">
Now you have separate external Include Directories for VS 2010 C++ projects and VS 2013 C++ projects.
Continuous Formatting extension automates C# and C++ code formatting in Visual Studio 2013/2012/2010. It removes the necessity to format code manually, arranging code continuously as you type and make changes.
Continuous Formatting v1.1 adds support for ReSharper and CodeRush code formatters. It also implements less intrusive and less frequent autoformatting.
Download the installer.
You rarely change the width of Visual Studio toolbar elements, but it is good to know about such possibility. For example, to change the width of Solution Configurations drop-down list, go to toolbar customization and adjust the Width value:
Toolbar element width customization in Visual Studio 2013
The recent May 2014 update of Productivity Power Tools for Visual Studio 2013 adds the syntactic line compression feature. “It shrinks lines that contain neither letters nor numbers by 25% vertically, allowing more lines to be displayed in the editor.” In the following sample compressed code takes about 10% less vertical screen space:
Syntactic line compression before and after
In practice most frequently compressed lines are blank ones and lines with braces. If you place opening braces on the same line with code, compressed closing braces will look somewhat odd:
Compressed closing braces
In this case you may want to compress only blank lines. This setting is available in syntactic line compression options:
Syntactic line compression options
I think it’s a nice enhancement that just works.