Granville Barnett

My Visual Studio vNext wish list

My wish list for Visual Studio vNext isn't that long. The things I would like to see in Visual Studio vNext (I'm not that hopeful) are the following:

  • A filtering intellisense members list box
  • Some intelligent suggestions
  • More refactoring options

Unfortunately I am going to do the unmentionable and compare VS to Eclipse.

A filtering intellisense members list box

As the number of classes in the BCL grows, and with newer technologies arriving all the time I don't think there has ever been a better time to implement this feature. Eclipse does a good job of it and is incredibly handy:

eclipse_make_that_list_smaller_1

eclipse_make_that_list_smaller_2

There are some products out there that you can actually install to do this, they include:

Some intelligent suggestions

This is a lame example, but its a pretty common one. Today in VS suggestions for the most part are non-existent. I know that in VS 2008 SP1 background compilation for C# is here (warnings, errors) but it still doesn't give you what Eclipse does with respect to suggestions.

eclipse_unused_imports

I know that there are probably a tonne of people reading this now shouting "You can remove unused using directives now!" True, but its never emphasised to you by the IDE. Again I find myself uttering the word Resharper for this stuff, but should we really have to buy into a 3rd party product for something like this? We could also extend this to something like variables that are never referenced.

eclipse_unused_vars

More refactoring options

Eclipse offers an absolute tonne of refactoring options which are integrated really great into the IDE.

eclipse_refactor_menu

While I don't have any major gripes about what is offered in VS 2008 with respect to refactoring, I do think it lacks somewhat. Some of the refactoring options in VS could do with a more streamlined approach as well. A great example of this is the rename option. Invoking rename will open a big goofy dialogue box which would be appropriate if you were renaming a field or something - in place renaming would be much more appropriate for local renaming's though.

eclipse_in_place_renaming

Final thoughts

I really like VS and all that it gives you but I can't help feel that we are losing out on some of this stuff. I'm sure that the VS team are incredibly busy building new designers, but if anyone on the VS team happen's to stumble across this post then please give these features consideration.

Purposely I have not mentioned C++, they have enough trouble getting intellisense working as it is. If you are interested in this though then check out Intellisense History, Part 1 and Intellisense, Part 2 (The Future). Both blog posts are from the VC++ blog. Visual Assist X is a nice tool though if you want a more rounded experience in VC++ land right now.

Originally posted at http://msmvps.com/blogs/gbarnett. Please post all comments there. Thanks, Granville.
Posted: Aug 04 2008, 05:20 AM by gbarnett | with 4 comment(s)
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