Visual Studio Hacks


With start-up templates for projects ranging from Windows applications to web services, and extensive help and on-line documentation, Visual Studio .NET might be mistaken for a tool for unsophisticated users. It's true that most developers soon discover that the basic operation of Visual Studio is fairly self-explanatory; less obvious are some of the suite's more advanced built-in features.Visual Studio .Net includes a wealth of little-used capabilities, is very customizable, has a complete automation model, and ...

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With start-up templates for projects ranging from Windows applications to web services, and extensive help and on-line documentation, Visual Studio .NET might be mistaken for a tool for unsophisticated users. It's true that most developers soon discover that the basic operation of Visual Studio is fairly self-explanatory; less obvious are some of the suite's more advanced built-in features.Visual Studio .Net includes a wealth of little-used capabilities, is very customizable, has a complete automation model, and much more. On top of its regular feature set, there are hosts of free add-ins, macros, and power toys that can further enhance the functionality of Visual Studio. This book is all about exploring these things, and in doing so, becoming a better and more efficient developer. Developers will learn how to:

  • Get the most out of projects and solutions, including getting down and dirty with the undocumented format of project and solution files
  • Use these editor features to the fullest, and add additional functionality to the editor through the use of third-party add-ins
  • Learn smarter ways to navigate the application and your own source code
  • Customize shortcut keys, toolbars, menus, the toolbox, and much more
  • Use the debugger successfully not only on your source code, but with T-SQL and scripting languages as well
  • Automatically generate code
  • Learn how the server can be used to interface with databases, services, and performance counters, as well as WMI
  • Use and create Visual Studio add-ins to extend its functionality
Offering valuable tips, tools, and tricks, Visual Studio Hacks takes you far beyond the suite's usual capabilities. You can read this book from cover to cover or, because each hack stands its own, you can feel free to browse and jump to the different sections that interest you most. If there's a prerequisite you need to know about, a cross-reference will guide you to the right hack.If you want to experience the full spectrum of Visual Studio's functionality and flexibility, you'll find the perfect guide for exploration in Visual Studio Hacks. Once the final page is turned, you can confidently say that you've been exposed to everything that Visual Studio .NET is capable of doing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780596008475
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/9/2005
  • Series: Hacks Series
  • Edition description: Twenty-Sixth and Revised ed.
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 504
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.66 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

James Avery is the founder and owner of Infozerk Inc. which runs The Lounge advertising network and provides .NET and Ruby consulting. James has been working with .NET since 2001 and has been a web developer since 1996. He has written books for Microsoft Press, Wrox, and O'Reilly Press. James has written articles for MSDN Magazine and Dr. Dobbs, most recently doing a three month stint writing the Toolbox column in MSDN Magazine. James is a Microsoft MVP, ASPInsider and has spoken at a number of user groups and conferences.

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Table of Contents

About the Author;
Why Visual Studio Hacks?;
How to Use This Book;
An Important Note About Keyboard Shortcuts;
How This Book Is Organized;
Using Code Examples;
Safari Enabled;
How to Contact Us;
Got a Hack?;
Chapter 1: Master Projects and Solutions;
1.1 Hacks 1-5;
1 Manage Projects and Solutions;
2 Master Assembly and Project References;
3 Organize Projects and Solutions;
4 Hack the Project and Solution Files;
5 Remove SourceSafe Bindings;
Chapter 2: Master the Editor;
2.1 Hacks 6-15;
6 Master the Clipboard;
7 Make Pasting into Visual Studio Easier;
8 Master IntelliSense;
9 Master Regions;
10 Add Guidelines to the Text Editor;
11 Select the Best Editor;
12 Customize Syntax Coloring;
13 Edit the Most Recent File and Project Lists;
14 Refactor Your Code;
15 Use and Share Code Snippets;
Chapter 3: Navigating Visual Studio;
3.1 Hacks 16-23;
16 Take Control of Your Workspace;
17 Find Files Quickly;
18 Search Files Quickly;
19 Search for Patterns in Your Files;
20 Navigate Your Source Code;
21 Never Forget a TODO Again;
22 Hack the Mouse;
23 Enhance the Tabs in Visual Studio;
Chapter 4: Customizing Visual Studio;
4.1 Hacks 24-35;
24 Create Your Own Shortcuts;
25 Customize Menus and Toolbars;
26 Create Custom Window Layouts;
27 Customize the Toolbox;
28 Package Your Toolbox Settings;
29 Add Support for Nonstandard File Extensions;
30 Hack the Registry;
31 Save and Move Your IDE Settings;
32 Enable IntelliSense for HTML and XML Documents;
33 Add an External Tool;
34 Customize Your Project Build Process;
35 Modify the Build Output and Navigate the Results;
Chapter 5: Debugging;
5.1 Hacks 36-43;
36 Set Breakpoints;
37 Troubleshoot Breakpoints;
38 Customize Visual Studio's Reaction to Exceptions;
39 Debug Scripting Code;
40 Debug SQL Server;
41 Debug a Running Process;
42 Debug a Failing Application;
43 Write a Custom Visualizer;
Chapter 6: Speed Hacks;
6.1 Hacks 44-58;
44 Speed Up Visual Studio;
45 Load Files from the Command Prompt;
46 Master the Command Window;
47 Build a Custom Tool;
48 Extend the Application Configuration File;
49 Generate Strongly Typed DataSets;
50 Define Templates for Generating Code;
51 Create a Macro;
52 Generate Code with Macros;
53 Create Connection Strings Quickly;
54 Quickly Sign Assemblies;
55 Update Project References Quickly;
56 Automatically Add using and Imports Statements;
57 Insert Commonly Used Code Automatically;
58 Move Quickly Between Source Control Providers;
Chapter 7: Help and Research;
7.1 Hacks 59-67;
59 Get Help;
60 Search the Internet from Visual Studio;
61 Redirect Help to Google;
62 Use P/Invoke with Ease;
63 Examine the IL Generated by Your Code;
64 Examine the Innards of Assemblies;
65 Follow the Rules with FxCop;
66 Generate Statistics on Your C# Code;
67 Profile Heap Allocations;
Chapter 8: Comments and Documentation;
8.1 Hacks 68-72;
68 Master C# XML Comments;
69 Create Comments Faster;
70 Create XML Comments with VB.NET;
71 Create Documentation from XML Comments;
72 Integrate Your Own Documentation into Visual Studio;
Chapter 9: Server Explorer Hacks;
9.1 Hacks 73-76;
73 Access Performance Counters;
74 Diagram and Modify a Database;
75 Script Your Database;
76 Enumerate Processes, Drives, Shares, and More;
Chapter 10: Work with Visual Studio Tools;
10.1 Hacks 77-82;
77 Master the Visual Studio Command Prompt;
78 Launch Visual Studio from the Command Prompt;
79 Stress Test Web Applications;
80 Obfuscate Your Code;
81 Generate Code from UML;
82 Generate UML Design Documents from Code;
Chapter 11: Visual Studio Tools for Office;
11.1 Hacks 83-85;
83 Install Visual Studio Tools for Office 2003;
84 Create a Command Bar in Word 2003;
85 Display a Windows Form from Excel 2003;
Chapter 12: Extending Visual Studio;
12.1 Hacks 86-91;
86 Automate Visual Studio;
87 Access Visual Studio from Standalone Applications;
88 Create a File Template;
89 Writing a Visual Studio Add-in;
90 Find the Name of That Command Bar;
91 Change the Icon for Your Add-in;
Chapter 13: Enhancing Visual Studio;
13.1 Hacks 92-100;
92 Manage Add-ins;
93 Run Unit Tests Inside Visual Studio;
94 Spellcheck Your Code and Comments;
95 View an Outline of Your Controls;
96 Blog Code from Visual Studio;
97 Collapse and Expand Your Code;
98 Combine the Visual Studio Command Prompt and the Command Window;
99 Generate Web Services Code;
100 Test Regular Expressions in Visual Studio;
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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2005

    I never knew you could do that!

    Do you find yourself always picking the same options every time you create a project in Visual Studio? I have the sense that a lot of Visual Studio developers get comfortable with a certain ritual of options, never really getting the sense for all that Visual Studio has to offer. This book absolutely opened my mind in terms of what Visual Studio can do, and how it can be tweaked to work better the way you want it to. Visual Studio contains so many features to make developers¿ lives easy. For example, did you know that Visual Studio supports build events? When a build is successfully compiled (or even if it¿s unsuccessful), VS can be programmed to perform certain tasks depending on the status of your build. What if you always work with a certain custom datatype. Wouldn¿t it be nice to have a custom visualizer created to easily examine the contents of the object while at a break point? In my opinion, this hack (#43) is one of the most useful ones in the book (for what I do, at least). If you find yourself doing the same thing every day in Visual Studio, chances are you don¿t know what it¿s even capable of. This book goes a long way to show you exactly what it can do. By hacking Visual Studio, you can make it do exactly what you need.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2005

    debugging hacks are the core of the book

    Avery demonstrates how Microsoft has refined Visual Studio into a very mature and integrated IDE. Though it must be said that this is best done with respect to Microsoft's languages of choice - C#, VB.NET and SQL Server. But if one of these is indeed your coding language, then the book offers a grab bag of tips. The guts of this book is in one chapter - Debugging. Avery correctly points out that without debugging, Visual Studio is just a tarted up text editor clamped to a compiler. The 8 hacks in this chapter are thus pivotal in the book's potential utility to you. If you have ever used any debugger, then the chapter's concepts will be familiar. Like setting breakpoints at selected lines or functions. Or debugging a running process. Plus, Visual Studio has special means of debugging SQL Server. For some of you who have to maintain code for the latter, this ability can be Visual Studio's best feature. Now if only Visual Studio were cheaper!

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