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What are the features of other IDEs or editors you wish you have in Visual Studio? Here I am asking mainly for built-in features. So, if a feature is available via some plug-ins, still you can state them. You can even state features those you have not seen in any IDEs/editors.

Please state just ONE feature per answer with a relevant heading.

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2  
You can get substantial improvements on base features of VS 2010 using just 2 free extensions. "Productivity Power Tools" visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/… AND "PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2010" visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/… –  Pratik Dec 1 '10 at 4:09
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closed as not constructive by Walter, ChrisF May 26 '11 at 15:53

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22 Answers

Converting Comment Styles

Its a nitpick but something that Ive ran into a number of times:

When you're porting one project into another language, say Java to C#, I'd like a feature that goes through and changes all comments from the Java style i.e.

/**
 * Summary of the class/method
 * @param id Argument Description
 * @return What it returns
 */ 

into another style like XML:

/// <summary>
/// Summary of the class/method
/// </summary>
/// <param name="id">Argument Description</param>
/// <returns>What it returns</returns>

It seems so simple, maybe it already exists?

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All of vim's features (ViEmu doesn't cut it for me)

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There is a vim plugin which makes it easier to flick between vim and visual studio which helps, but it would be amazing if they could be truly integrated. –  Mongus Pong Oct 15 '10 at 10:41
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up vote 25 down vote accepted

Projectless compilation

So that I can just code on a single new file and run. I think this will help to start learning programming with visual studio. May be just in Express editions.

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4  
While not quite Projectless, VS2010 has a new "temporary projects" feature. A quick overview (less than 4 minutes) can be found at scottcate.com/tricks/dev315-tempprojects –  Wonko the Sane Oct 15 '10 at 12:50
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This is such a brain-dead misfeature and what's worse is that Netbeans has it in a similar form as well. –  Alan Pearce Oct 15 '10 at 15:22
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This works for C#: sliver.com/dotnet/snippetcompiler. It's supposedly alpha, but it works just fine –  Note to self - think of a name Oct 15 '10 at 17:26
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@Alan So, I said may be just in the Express editions. –  Gulshan Oct 16 '10 at 5:46
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@Note-to-self-think-of-a-name i think LinqPad linqpad.net does a better job. –  Gulshan Oct 16 '10 at 5:49
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I don't use Visual Studio. Anyway some of the features any good programmer's IDE should have are:
1. Column wise (block-wise) selection, and editing.
2. Auto build (along with incremental compilation). Shouldn't have to wait longer to run.
3. I need more themes, better font rendering (smooth, stylish), makes me happier when looking at code. May be its an OS feature, anyway.
4. Tagging (todo, fixme, a small sticky notes to write some sudden idea). I mean not comments.
5. Auto formating code according to predefined style.

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visual studio + resharper have all those features except auto build, which I don't really understand to be honest. –  Thomas Stock Oct 15 '10 at 11:59
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When I select any member (variable,function) in Netbeans, all the places where they are used will get highlighted in the current file.

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I think this already exists in Visual Studio? –  rmx Oct 15 '10 at 11:44
10  
this was added in VS2010. –  Thomas Stock Oct 15 '10 at 11:59
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Emacs style motion control for text editing. Ctrl-N, Ctrl-P, Ctrl-A, Ctrl-E, and Ctrl-T are my most common keystrokes that I miss when editing code. Also, not part of VS, but the built in ability to remap the useless CAPS-LOCK key to Ctrl.

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:wq

I find myself particularly attracted to the command mode of VIM. I can't tell you how many times I've found :w when debugging after using and IDE / GUI to edit. Better yet hitting :wq and wondering why it doesn't write and quit.

If there was one thing I could give Visual Studio it would be a command mode.

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What about VsVim (Free, OSS) or ViEmu (commercial)? –  Alan Pearce Oct 15 '10 at 15:24
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I always get :w's littering my code and the compiler helpfully reminds me that they are not appropriate. :) –  dash-tom-bang Oct 15 '10 at 16:53
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In the binary file editor, the ability to highlight a block, then apply a struct or class definition to it, so you can easily interpret your data.

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SyncEdit, from the Delphi IDE. It's so useful I frequently find myself copying other code into Delphi just so I can use it to edit more intuitively.

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Highlight the current line (I don't want to install a plug-in).

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Ctrl+click to open the method, attribute or class definition.

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This can be done using the excellent "Productivity Power Tools" extensions" visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/… –  Pratik Dec 1 '10 at 4:04
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F12 no need to grab mouse. –  Kugel Dec 2 '10 at 7:06
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Minimal Size

N.B. This thing may or may not be considered as a FEATURE.

This is also mainly for Express editions. I think the size of Visual Studio is too large. Both the installer and post-installation sizes. But it can be minimized easily. Few steps can be-

  • Other than visual Web Developer Express, the express edition do not require the full .Net framework and can be supported to install just on top of the smaller client framework.
  • Again, the SQL server express can be omitted(welcome SQL server CE 4).
  • And there can be smaller respective individual redistributable packages for different express editions instead of the bulky DVD image they supply.
  • I don't like to register for the Express Editions.
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@NimChimpsky I haven't said to cut down any of the features. I showed some way to reduce the size without discarding any feature. And, just look at all other IDE. How much is their size. Then compare. Moreover, I feel it necessary for the Express editions to be as compact as they can. –  Gulshan Dec 6 '10 at 15:22
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Autofilter for Options

In Eclipse, one can type the setting you are after and it autofilters the selection. No need to dig through the 'Options tree'

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This feature is not from other IDE, but very important to have in VS:

Evaluate Lambda expressions while debugging

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Code Bubbles

http://www.andrewbragdon.com/codebubbles_site.asp

EDIT: They're here!!!

http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/debuggercanvas/

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Best IDE idea I've seen in a long time. Hope it spreads to the VS, Eclipse etc. –  John Reynolds Dec 1 '10 at 23:59
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I liked Eclipse Local History. There was a codeplex project "Visual Local History", but don't think this works for vs2010.

I didn't use it often but when I did it was nice to have.

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I really wish that a good refactoring tool would exist for c++. This is a major showstopper for everybody that even tasted c# + refactor

Feaures like:

  • .h and .cpp sync
  • consistent formatting with predefined popular styles
  • ability to define [DebugerDisplay]
  • move refactorings
  • all other goodies that are available in resharper.
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This is from Notepad - should open/close faster, consume less memory and CPU.

I know this is day dreaming, but seriously.. it is a nice FEATURE to have, :D..

(Don't complain - you asked what I want..)

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you'd probably want less CPU + memory consumption only when not compiling, else compilation will take years... :P –  Necrolis Dec 6 '10 at 14:08
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I agree. Sometimes I wonder what it uses so much resources on while just opening a 200 line code file in the editor. OK, it is some color coding etc. but this is something that also is done in Notepad++, where it is very fast. –  awe Jan 26 '11 at 9:59
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Ctrl + D = Duplicate current line/selection

ReSharper has it, as does Notepad++. I use it all the time. I totally take it for granted until I sit down at someone else's PC and they don't have ReSharper.

Microsoft seems to be shamelessly copying any innovations that ReSharper add. Visual Studio 2010 adds some stuff that ReSharper's had for ages - like the F2 rename refactor feature.

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Ctrl+D doesn't interfere with the clipboard which is handy. So you can copy some code (Ctrl+C); then duplicate a method (Ctrl+D) and then paste the code (Ctrl+V). –  Acentric Dec 7 '10 at 2:09
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That funky error/warning/hint/suggestion navigation bar from ReSharper that gives you an overview of the state of the file.

I rely on it constantly. An error will appear as a red line on the bar. If you click the red line, it jumps directly to the offending line(s) of code.

When I use a version of Visual Studio that doesn't have the ReSharper plugin I feel like I have so much less visibility of the state of a file.

ReSharper Marker bar and Status Indicator

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Eclipse also has this. –  Peter Taylor May 26 '11 at 12:34
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  1. Auto-complete/suggest (without drop-down) the right type when newing up some variable.
  2. Auto-complete/suggest (without drop-down) the right variable to use when calling a routine. (Netbeans does this right most of the time for me)
  3. make the 'insert code option' available in the normal context menu instead of only in the the error suggestion drop down (Which I find very finicky to use BTW)
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Proper searching

In Eclipse I can search for references to a member and find only references - VS2008 finds references and declarations. I can also search for write access to a field/variable or read access from a field/variable - VS2008 just has the one search which mixes both of them.

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