VSColorOutput extension for Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 11

VSColorOutput by Blue Onion Software simplifies large logs analysis in the Visual Studio Output window coloring important lines:

Colored build results in the Output window in Visual Studio 2010

Colored build results in the Output window in Visual Studio 2010


For example, C++ developers often need to look at the output to find the origin of an error that involves several template instantiations:
Template instantiations log

Template instantiations log


In practice, the most important line in this log includes a reference to a file in the current solution. With VSColorOutput it is easy to highlight lines with references to files in the solution and downplay lines with references to standard include files:
Colored template instantiations log

Colored template instantiations log


You can classify output lines for your needs using .NET regular expressions. To open the RegExClassification Collection Editor dialog go to ToolsOptionsVSColorOutput:
VSColorOutput settings in the Visual Studio Options dialog

VSColorOutput settings in the Visual Studio Options dialog


For example, to color build results red when build fails, you can use the following regex “Build: \d+ succeeded( or up-to-date)?, (?!0)\d+ failed” with the classification type LogError and position this member before the “(=====|—–),BuildHead” member as the first member match wins:
RegExClassification Collection Editor

RegExClassification Collection Editor


Red build results on a build error

Red build results on a build error


Note that after modifying classification rules you need to regenerate output (e.g. rebuild) to see the changes. You can customize colors for each output line type going to ToolsOptionsEnvironmentFonts and Colors:
Color settings for different output line types

Color settings for different output line types


VSColorOutput colors trace messages in the Output window during debugging as well. Actually, this was author’s original idea for the extension:
Coloring trace messages during a debug session

Coloring trace messages during a debug session


VSColorOutput also supports Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview:
Colored build results in the Output window in Visual Studio 11

Colored build results in the Output window in Visual Studio 11


You can download the free VSColorOutput extension for Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 11 from Visual Studio Gallery. You can get source code for the extension from Codeplex.

 

 

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2 Responses to VSColorOutput extension for Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 11

  1. blueonion says:

    Version 1.2 includes a new feature: Stop build on first error.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Seriously. How is this not the most downloaded plugin for VS. This thing is awesome. Thank you!! I agree with the author that although the build and find highlighting is nice, where this really shines is in debugging. Every large project I’ve ever worked on has some formatted debugging output which is Log4J-like, and the ability to write custom regexs for filtering is just awesome.

    The other thing that inevitably happens, is someone mis-types LogInfo() instead of LogError() for an important error, and you might miss it. Not with this! You can add some simple error regexs to catch common error expressions.

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