CodeSMART 2003 for VS .NET
An add-in that makes VS.NET smarter.
Visual Studio .NET is pretty darned spiffy. It is not, however, perfect.
The goal of CodeSMART 2003 (based on a highly successful add-in for Visual
Basic 5.0 and 6.0) is to make your VS .NET experience much more productive.
If you're working in a complex project on a tight deadline, it's quite
possible that you could save the purchase price of this software in pretty
This is an add-in, but what an add-in! It has a couple of dozen main
features. As such, it's unlikely that any developer will use them all,
but you'll find your own favorites. One of mine is the Code Explorer.
It's a relatively easy concept to understand: take the existing Solution
Explorer, and tack the Class View functionality on to it. So you can drill
from solution to project to class...and then on down into members. Each
level maintains all of its existing context menu functionality, and then
gains a bit more. For instance, the VS .NET Class View will let you quickly
go to the definition of a member; Code Explorer also lets you go to the
start or end of the member, or highlight it in code, or add it to the
The Workbench itself is another CodeSMART tool window; it's a collection
of nodes pulled off of the Code View and kept as a flat list. It's a great
way to focus on a subset of your project and to easily jump back and forth
among the code you're currently interested in.
Then there's the Find Type Reference facility, which helps you see where
a particular type is used anywhere in your code; think of it as cross-reference
on the fly. There are some other find and replace extensions as well.
There are a number of code builder that range from simple (insert a property
with a particular name and return type, or insert error trapping) to complex
(implement an entire interface). For other code construction tasks CodeSMART
includes an AutoText tool tht can expand a few letters into an entire
code snippet. There's also a sort of code repository to manage other chunks
Code reformatting is another strength here. Sort procedures in a class
by type or name, split and otherwise automatically reformat lines, even
manage XML comments in VB .NET applications. There's a dialog box that
lets you set the Name and Text properties of any control, tasks you've
probably done a million times in the Properties Window by now.
It goes on from there. Get on to their Web site and look at the screenshots,
and you'll get some sense of what's here—and how many other add-ins
this one package could replace for you. You can try a 14-day, mildly-crippled
evaluation version for free while you're making up your mind.
Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.