More VS.NET wishes
Here are some of my wishes for VS.NET:
(disclaimer - I'm stuck in 1.0 - some of these wishes may have been preemptively granted)
WebConfig editor - If there's one program on planet earth that should know WebConfig (and AppConfig, MachineConfig, etc.) files, it's VS.NET, right? When I edit a config file, I'd like a nice designer or interface that helps me set the configuration settings.
Open in existing window - Opening an XML, HTML, or ASP file (anything that's not part of a project) is always a surprise. Will it use the existing instance of VS, or open in a new one? I'd like it to be consistent, and maybe add a command shell option to open in a new window. I know I'd prefer to have one instance of the environment open at a time. (Note: has written a little registry helper for this - http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/VSNetRegHelper.asp)
XML editor - The XML editor is okay, but it's got a while to go to get anywhere near XML Spy for usability. I'd like to collapse nodes (like I can with a #region, or even when I view XML in IE), and the DataView often can't display for valid XML. The XSL editor currently does little more than color code - the XML Spy integration between XSL and XML shows how far this can go - if you associate XML with XSL, you can render it to an output window on the fly. Since XML is so central to .NET (and Web Services, which .NET exists to create ), VS.NET needs to be a whiz with XML.
Webform User Controls - User Controls need to render (especially since they do in WebMatrix), and double-clicking should take me to the ascx for that control.
Webform DataGrids in Design View - If you use any controls in a datagrid, you can't select them in the designer. Clicking anywhere on the datagrid selects the datagrid. That means I can't (easily) use the property editor for these controls, and I usually end up creating them outside the datagrid and then moving them in the HTML view.
Members Dropdown Sorting - In Code View, the Members dropdown should be sorted in alpha order, or this should at least be an option.
RESX Reduction - ASPX files don't all need .resx files, do they? Many websites have hundreds of pages - a site I help maintain has over 5000 ASP pages (yes, it needs some rearchitecting). If this was .NET, we'd have 15000+ (including the CS and RESX files). An extra, usually unused file per page adds to the source control workload. What about only creating these when necessary?
Paste as HTML - Nice feature, but it would be nice if it guessed what I wanted (if I'm in HTML mode on an HTML file, I probably want to paste as HTML). If not, how about a key shortcut? I know I can set up a key binding, but this should be better out of the box.
Event Stubs - Creating the event stub code for a control event takes some monkey business - go to properties, click on the lightning bolt, select the event, double click. Event stubs would be nice to add to the right click context menu for controls - add an "Events >" menu item, which expands to the available events. This is one area that VB handled nicely (although in a different way).
SQL Editor / Ad-Hoc Querying - I appreciate the SQL integration right off the Server Explorer. I hope this gets more like the Query Analyzer than the Enterprise Manager. Three features I'd like here: (1) Ability to run queries against a server without creating a new stored procedure file (2) Auto-complete (3 - dreaming here) a "SQL Scratchpad". Almost all applications modify data, so unit testing requires checking the data, running ad-hoc queries, etc. It'd be great to do this in my _Integrated_ Development Environment without having to open up Query Analyzer. How great would it be if the scratchpad(s) got saved to temp files that would be persistent across reboots, etc? If not in VS, then how about in QA? Anyone else want this? Just me? Okay.
Bug Fix - AutoHide windows won't come back out - I've had this happen with my Properties window several times and have to delete my suo file to get it back. I'm still running 1.0 - has this been fixed in 1.1? (Note - pointed me to http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q313899 - this is a know bug and has been fixed in VS 2003. There are workarounds for VS 1.0).
My wish-list for the next Visual Studio.NET release
I'm now working for a week or so with VS.NET 2003 and it has some neat features that version 2002 didn't have which are, well, neat to have, but also started me thinking why they are implemented the way they are and why there is so much ground left untouched. Below I've formulated some wishes for the next version of Visual Studio.NET (2004?), and as with every wish-list, I hope the wishes come true, or better: what's wished for is a bad example of a short sighted vision of how reality should be and the next version of VS.NET (2004?) will prove that