I have some wishes for next versions of Visual Studio, I mean the IDE not for a particular package like could be C#, VB.net or C++.
For tools like the property window, the toolbox, the error list, etc.
If you think how many times you are interacting with these components it is a lot of time and it should be less.
These components are not evolving so that the usability of the IDE it is the same of 3 years ago, but now the objects that we are manipulating in the IDE are more complex than before,
did you see how many properties have a WinFx Canvas?, did you see how many controls you have in the toolbox when you open a windows forms designer?. And if you open Cider... it is too much.
I know programmers know how to use these toolwindows but please we need to improve these tools.
I think that there are usability problems in VS today, the user model is really to far of the programmer model so the usability of the IDE is poor.
Criticizing is really easy so that I was trying to identify what exactly I would like to improve in the classical toolwindows of Visual Studio.
In this post I will focus in the toolbox and in the property window.
- I can not drag multiple controls
So just let me ;)
- There are too much categories and components
- I would like to filter by category
- I would like to filter by component
- I would like to have text commands and voice commands, I mean I would like to write for example "TextBox,Label,TextBox" or say "Toolbox TextBox,Label,TexBox"
- I would like something that i called "drag patterns" or "insertion patterns" I mean, there are a lot of times that after drag a label I drag a textbox, or after I drag a tablelayout I set the dock=Fill.
It is not a control it is just a pattern, so that I would like to have the availability for save patterns, and obviously use them.
There are not a lot of things to wish here but they are essential (at least for me)
- Filters!!! There are components with a lot of properties we need a way to filter by name, description, etc.
- Text Commands and voice commands, sometimes it is easier to go to the text view in order to set a couple of properties, so that I would like to have text commands, write
"Dock=Fill" in the property windows or say "Properties Dock=Fill"
Our most popular tools in a IDE should evolve in order to help us building the future applications.
In order to explain better my wishes I built a prototype using of Visual Studio SDK of a Toolbox for Windows Forms and a property window.The toolbox have most of the features I wish:
- Multiple drag and drop
- Filter by Category, by component
- Text Commands
- Drag Patterns (you can select a couple of components in the editor and save it as a drag pattern)
The Property Window:
- Filter by Name
- Text Commands
They are not finished tools so it is not my intention that they become the tools for VS2005, it has not sense to have 2 tools for the same tasks in the IDE, and they are just wishes ;)
Give them a try and tell me what another feature you would like for these tools.
The complete source code will be available so if you are looking for a complete sample of a functional Visual Studio Package this will be a sample that use some interfaces that are not in the SDK Samples like:
- IVsMonitorSelection, IVsSelectionEvents and more.
There are too some simple but interesting piece of code like a implementation of ICustomTypeDescriptor in order to implement the property filter in the property grid.
- Unzip, VS 2005 command prompt, install.bat