Product Reviews

Total .NET XRef

Here's another one that takes advantage of the transparency of .NET code to add value. Total .NET XRef installs as another toolwindow in Visual Studio .NET; you can float it, dock it, or add it to one of the tabbed windows (which is where I like it, as another tab in the window with the task list). Once you've got it installed, right-click any symbol (class name, object name, property, method, whatever) and select XRef. The window will fill with a list of all the places in your code where that symbol is used.

This is great for instant impact analysis. Want to make a change to the Customer class but you're not sure where you need to take that change into account? It's easy to find out, just run XRef on the class definition. The window will list all the references, and you can filter and sort them to your heart's desire. Just double-click on a reference to go right to that line of code. Or, thinking about implementing a custom dictionary object to replace HashTables in your code? Again, it's easy to find all of the places that this could affect.

The results can also be displayed as an HTML page if you'd like to view them in a larger format than a toolwindow normally displays. On large projects, the first call to XRef can be sort of slow, as it goes through and parses your code. After that, though, it uses background parsing to keep up. The end result is a tool that you can just use, as if it had been built in all along. And after a while you'll wonder how you did without it.

You can download a trial version from the FMS website, or purchase it online.

[This review originally appeared in

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.

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