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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