Product Reviews

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 short order.

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 Workbench.

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 of code.

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.

About the Author

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

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Reader Comments:

Thu, Aug 14, 2008 Richard Brooker Anonymous

There is NO Support any more - 5 emails over a week and NO replies!!

Tue, Apr 27, 2004 Ursli Anonymous

good product but sadly still a LOT of bugs in it (even with Fixpack 6)

Fri, Aug 8, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

reviewer forgot the great error handling shema's...

Wed, Jul 30, 2003 Me Anonymous

Its crap

Mon, May 26, 2003 JLM & FRB France

More code analysis could be helpfull.

Tue, Apr 8, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Must have for any real developer!

Mon, Apr 7, 2003 Bob Harris Santa Clara

An extremely useful addition to your development tools collection. Avid CodeSmart user for 2 years.

Mon, Apr 7, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

True to its tradition of Excelent software, Ax-Tools has released another winner.

Mon, Apr 7, 2003 John Dolan Leeds

This is a productivity tool that actually IS a productivity tool...brilliant. A favourite of mine is the search facility, placing all your results in a hyperlinked table. Been using AxTools products for a long time, they are very stable, support is excellent and the price is right.

Mon, Apr 7, 2003 Scott Wilkos Chapel Hill, NC

Another great release for AXTools. I have been using the VB6 version CodeSMART for over a year, and they have done a great job in the .NET release.

Mon, Apr 7, 2003 Anonymous Anonymous

Having used CodeSMART for VB 5/6, I was happy to see a new version for .net. However, there were two items that I used extensively in the previous version which are limited in the current version:
1) Inserting code snippets in code with parameters. This still exists in the .net version, however there is an added constraint that the code be added in _every_ routine in that module -- a constraint which makes this capability of almost no use to me.
2) Adding descriptive headers at the top of routines now uses only XML comment format. While our shop may eventually rely on XML comments, we're not there yet. I would have liked to have seen the preservation of using the single-quote comment delimiter.

Mon, Apr 7, 2003 Olaf Lewitz Berlin

as great as its predecessor, a must have!

Mon, Apr 7, 2003 Larry Rebich La Quinta, CA

Excellent product. I started using the beta version and now have the 'full' version.

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