Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Last month I blogged about the Extension Manager that is built-into VS 2010 – as well as about a cool VS 2010 PowerCommands extension that provides some extra features for Visual Studio.  The Visual Studio 2010 Extension Manager provides an easy way for developers to quickly find and install extensions and plugins that enhance the built-in functionality to VS 2010.

New VS 2010 Productivity Power Tools Release

Earlier this week Jason Zander announced the availability of a new VS 2010 Productivity Power Tools release that includes a bunch of great new VS 2010 extensions that provide a bunch of cool new functionality for you to take advantage of. 

You can download and install the release for free here.  Some of the code editor improvements it provides include:

  • Entire Line Highlighting: Makes it easier to track cursor location within the editor
  • Entire Line Selection: Triple Clicking a line in the code editor now selects the entire line (like with MS Word)
  • Code Block Movement: Use Alt+Up/Down Arrow now moves selected code blocks up/down in the editor
  • Consistent Tabs vs. Spaces: Ensure consistent tab vs. space usage across your projects
  • Colorized Parameters: It is now easier to see/identify method parameters
  • Column Guide: You can now add vertical column guidelines to help with text alignment and sizes
  • Align assignments: Makes it easier to line-up multiple variable assignments within your code
  • HTML Clipboard Support: Copy/paste code from VS into an HTML buffer (useful for blogging!)
  • Ctrl + Click Go to Definition: You can now hold down the Ctrl key and click a type to go to its definition

It also includes several tab management improvements for managing document tabs within the IDE:

  • Show Close Button in Tab Well: Shows a close button in document well for the active tab (like VS 2008 did)
  • Colored Tabs: You can now select the color of each document tab by project or by regex
  • Pinned Tabs: Enables you to pin tabs to keep them always visible and available
  • Vertical Tabs: You can now show document tabs vertically to fit more tabs than normal
  • Remove Tabs by Usage Order: Better behavior when adding new tabs and one needs to be hidden for space reasons
  • Sort Tabs by Project: Tabs can be sorted by project they belong to, keeping them grouped together
  • Sort Tabs Alphabetically: Tabs can be sorted alphabetically

And last – but not least – it includes a new and improved “Add Reference” dialog:

image

This new Add Reference dialog caches assembly information – which means it loads within a second or two (note: the very first time it still loads assembly data – but it then caches it and makes it fast afterwards). The new Add Reference dialog also now includes searching support – making it easier to find the assembly you are looking for.

You can read more about all of the above improvements in Jason’s blog post about the release.

New Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack Release

Earlier this week we also shipped a new feature pack that adds additional modeling and code visualization features to VS 2010 Ultimate.  You can download it here.

The Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack includes a bunch of great new capabilities including:

  • Web Site Visualization: New support for generating a DGML visualization for ASP.NET projects
  • C/C++ Native Code Visualization: New support for generating DGML diagrams for C/C++ projects
  • Generate Code from UML Class Diagrams: You can now generate code from your UML diagrams
  • Create UML Class Diagrams from Code: Create UML diagrams from existing code bases
  • Import UML from XML: Import UML class, sequence, and use case elements from XMI 2.1 files
  • Custom Validation Layer Rules: Write custom code to create, modify, and validate layer diagrams

Jason’s blog post covers more about these features as well.

Hope this helps,

Scott

P.S. In addition to blogging, I am also now using Twitter for quick updates and to share links. Follow me at: twitter.com/scottgu

Published Wednesday, June 9, 2010 11:29 PM by ScottGu

Comments

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:09 AM by Pramod Pallath Vasudevan

The add reference dialog caching is a huge relief. Thanks a lot microsoft but you took a long time.. :-)

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:09 AM by Lee Englestone

Aswesome! Is there definately no way we can get some of this good stuff in VS2008. Even simple things like highlight multiple instances of a hightlighted word on a page? (I know this isn't part of these release). But I miss it when I have to work in VS2008.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:09 AM by zire

Every post from you - more useful information for all of us Scott :)  Thank's

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:13 AM by AboOmar

Hi Scott,

Congratulations about this awesome extisibility innovation inside this great product VS 2010, really I am amazed by the size of the .vsix file and how it is very small wow, really so great.

my two questions are:

The enhanced and improved Add Reference dialog (which is really what I dream for) I can't find it when I want to add a reference when opening a website, it works well with Windows Apps. projects ONLY.

Regarding the Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack? will it be available for the public or itis MSDN Subscribers ONLY ?

Thanks and keep going :) ........

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:17 AM by ScottGu

@Lee,

>>>>>>> Aswesome! Is there definately no way we can get some of this good stuff in VS2008. Even simple things like highlight multiple instances of a hightlighted word on a page? (I know this isn't part of these release). But I miss it when I have to work in VS2008.

Unfortunately some of these features are pretty hard to implement VS 2008.  One of the big advantages that VS 2010 brings is much richer extensibility APIs - which is what enabled us to build these cool extensions without having to modify any of the shipping code in the product.  VS 2008's extensibility (especially around the code editor) unfortunately aren't as rich.

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 3:19 AM by ScottGu

@AboOmar,

>>>>> The enhanced and improved Add Reference dialog (which is really what I dream for) I can't find it when I want to add a reference when opening a website, it works well with Windows Apps. projects ONLY.

You should fine that it works with ASP.NET Web Application Projects and ASP.NET MVC Web Projects as well (I just tested that and it works fine).

>>>>>> Regarding the Visualization and Modeling Feature Pack? will it be available for the public or itis MSDN Subscribers ONLY ?

Unfortunately the modeling and visualization packs are only available for VS 2010 Ultimate and MSDN subscribers I'm afraid.  Modeling and visualization is a feature of the higher end versions of VS.

Hope this helps,

Scott

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 4:16 AM by ignatandrei

Like VERY MUCH "new and improved “Add Reference” dialog" !

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 5:25 AM by tobi

Is there a way to disable the ctrl-click feature? I always4 use ctrl to select words and sentences of text. I cannot live without it.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 7:09 AM by Rangoric

This rocks. Hard.

That is all. With the transition to 2010 allowing so much fun stuff, I am a happy camper.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 8:21 AM by Anonymous

Why should I have to install an extension pack to fix the broken Add/Remove References dialog?  Why wasn't this fixed before VS2010 shipped, or at least have a hotfix or service pack to fix it?

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 8:41 AM by Joe

RE: The new Add Reference window.

This extension finally returns the behavior to what it should have been in VS2010 all along.  I'll never know why MS chose to break it in the first place.

However, is there a reason this dialog now displays the the Product Name (AssemblyProduct) instead of the Title (AssemblyTitle)?  There are cases where two different assemblies have the same product name, but different titles...

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 10:15 AM by pmbAustin

...or you could just get ReSharper 5.0 for most of these features, and get many more as well :-)

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:18 PM by Goudinov

Great!

Now, can we have an extension that allows us to connection to SQL 2000 servers like we could in VS2008 for those of us with legacy systems so deeply embedded across multiple applications that upgrading is not something that our small IT department can't get around to for quite some time?

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 2:26 PM by Areg Sarkissian

These are great productivity additions.

An additional feature that I would love to see in the future is scroll buttons/commands for scolling tabs to access hidden tabs.

Thanks

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 4:23 PM by Doc

Nice set of features.

Would be nice if paste from clipboard as stringbuilder was available.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 5:04 PM by robharrisaz

Can they shorten the install directory names so it can be installed on XP sp3? My username is 22 characters long (user.machinename) so I get this:

6/10/2010 1:47:29 PM - Install Error : System.IO.PathTooLongException: The specified path, file name, or both are too long. The fully qualified file name must be less than 260 characters, and the directory name must be less than 248 characters.

  at Microsoft.VisualStudio.ExtensionManager.ExtensionManagerService.BeginInstall(IInstallableExtension installableExtension, Boolean perMachine, AsyncOperation asyncOp)

  at Microsoft.VisualStudio.ExtensionManager.ExtensionManagerService.InstallWorker(IInstallableExtension extension, Boolean perMachine, AsyncOperation asyncOp)

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 6:26 PM by Gokulnath

Great tools! very helpful!!

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 7:07 PM by Mike C

Just upgraded to VS2010 today, and took a look at the available extensions.  I only installed this one (the feature that sold me was the "Copy Code as HTML" feature), but I was then surprised to read your post about this extension the very same day.  I didn't realized I was so cutting edge with my extensions.  :)

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 10, 2010 7:22 PM by Natural Cause

When will you add a feature to Visual Studio to completely remove the HTML Design View or turn it off completely. It's really REALLY annoying.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Friday, June 11, 2010 12:01 AM by erperijijfo

@Natural Cause:

Tools -> Options -> HTML Designer.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Friday, June 11, 2010 8:22 AM by vv

Are there any chances to disable entire line highlighting or tweak its background color? Didn't find any mentions in Settings (including Fonts and Colors).

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Friday, June 11, 2010 9:21 AM by Fred Eberle

I too have the problem with the dark theme that Bojan mentioned. Quite annoying.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Friday, June 11, 2010 1:31 PM by Darius

There are great but what about support for Javascript outlining???  The VS editor features for Javascript have changed little since VS 2005.  It's also be nice to have the "Function Jumping" feature from the dropdown on the top right like C# files have.

Thank you.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Friday, June 11, 2010 7:31 PM by Joseph Wittman

It is nice to have a ref site like this, keep it up.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Sunday, June 13, 2010 10:50 AM by chintanpshah

Add Reference dialog in versions exept VS 2010 was pain. VS 2010 has made many improvements (one is, it does not run in UI thread). Thanks...

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Sunday, June 13, 2010 2:40 PM by Joel

For those wanting to selectively disable features, you can go into %localappdata%\microsoft\visual studio and find the Extensions folder. Inside that, you can find the folder for the power tools extension. To disable a module, find the corresponding .dll, rename it so it isn't a .dll, and restart Visual Studio.

It would be very nice to choose which enhancements we want from the options menu though.  

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Monday, June 14, 2010 11:44 AM by FTeR

I realy miss 1 feature!

Is there any plugin for more default code block outlining (C#, JS)?

Currenty only class and function blocks has +/- on the side.

There are many more obvious code blocks for this feature, any block with curly brackets "{}" (ie. if/else, try/catch/final, for/foreach/while, etc.).

thx.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Monday, June 14, 2010 12:20 PM by Lance May

Yes, this is great stuff. I would (as with others that I've seen already) like to know how to disable the Ctrl-click F12 replacement though, as I use the mouse to move lines and this is making it VERY difficult.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 4:32 AM by FTeR

@Lance May:

Drag first, than hold down the Ctrl key. This way the power tool feature will not activate, while you still get the copy/paste behavior insted of cut/paste.

Jasonz said:

"Thanks everyone for the feedback so far.  We are prepping a new build of the Power Tools which fix some issues you reported and will include increased control over which tool items are turned off / on.  We're hoping to have this new build out next week or so.  Keep the feedback coming!"

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Tuesday, June 15, 2010 1:45 PM by Wes

Joel, thank you so much! I wanted every feature except the god-awful Eclipse-like ctrl+click. I love being able to highlight a whole word with ctrl + click! That would have been a deal breaker for me.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 9:28 AM by Morten Christiansen

For those with a dark background and problems with tooltip text color, it uses the Plain Text color (under Text Editor colors). If you don't want to change this you can change the background color by changing the Signature Help Tooltip Background color. I don't understand why it doesn't use the foreground color from this item, though.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 11:41 AM by Lance May

@Joel: <3 you.

@FTeR: Yeah, that was the only way I could get around after installing. It was still just "making it VERY difficult", as I've been using the mouse while coding like that for so many years now I don't even remember.

I had to disable the extension because of the Ctrl+Click and using a dark theme (bad for the tool-tip colorizing), but thanks to Joel, I can have it back. ;)

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Sunday, June 20, 2010 5:49 AM by Michael

"Ctrl + Click Go to Definition: You can now hold down the Ctrl key and click a type to go to its definition "

ctrl-click was already assigned to selecting a whole word in one click. Has this functionality been set on another keycombination?

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Sunday, June 20, 2010 11:40 PM by TeYoU

I found a bug when adding COM reference with this extensions

before install this extension :

<Reference Include="Interop.XXXX, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, processorArchitecture=x86">

<SpecificVersion>False</SpecificVersion>

<EmbedInteropTypes>True</EmbedInteropTypes>

<HintPath>ReferenceAssemblies\Interop.XXXX.dll</HintPath>

</Reference>

after install extension :

<Reference Include="Interop.XXXX, Version=12.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, processorArchitecture=x86">

<EmbedInteropTypes>True</EmbedInteropTypes>

</Reference>

Obviously, the xml tag generated by Pro Power Tools has missed the <HintPath /> tag

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Thursday, June 24, 2010 7:38 AM by Pete

Well, reading that like all commenters have problems with it I guess I'll skip this. I probably check back in 6 months or so to see where this went though.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Friday, June 25, 2010 8:21 AM by Glenn

I a column grid line, but now I can not find a way to remove it.  The "Remove Gridline" in the pop-up minue is always disabled.  

Is there a way to remove the grid line?

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 2:04 PM by Scott G.

Anybody else having the PathTooLongException problem reported above by @robharrisaz at Thursday, June 10, 2010 5:04 PM???

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 3:09 AM by Don

"Collapse Projects" from the PowerCommands doesn't work in the Solution Navigator. This is really unfortunate because I sooo longed for this feature. Every tree view like control should have a collapse all.

# re: Visual Studio 2010 Productivity Power Tool Extensions

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 5:10 AM by bwaiter

Can I do multi selection on Solution Navigator?