Visual Studio IDE Enhancements

The following ASP.NET tutorial describes some of the new Visual Studio IDE Enhancements in the Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Visual Studio IDE

  • Visual Enhancements

The IDE has been redesigned for better and more user friendly readability. Only the necessary lines of code is shown and any unnecessary pieces of code are removed.

  • Ability to Support Multiple Monitors

The new Document Windows like the Code Editor and the Design View Window can now be outside the IDE window.

For example:

  • The Code Editor can now be dragged out of the IDE and view it and the Design View window side by side.

Better Tools to Explore Code

  • Code Editor

The all new Code Editor makes code written easier to read. The Code Editor can now zoom in and out Text by pressing the CTRL and scrolling with the mouse wheel. Now when you click on a symbol or piece of code in Visual C# or VB, all the other instances of the symbol or piece of code is automatically highlighted.

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  • Navigate To

The other enhancement is on the Navigate To feature. Navigate To feature allows you to “search-as-you-type”. This type of search is supported for files, types, and members. Navigate To gives you the ability to use Camel casing and underscores to abbreviate your search text.

For example:

  • “AOH” can be used to search for “AddOrderHeader.”
  • Call Hierarchy

Call Hierarchy now gives you the ability to navigate from a member to the members that call it and to the members that it calls, when using C#and C++. The Call hierarchy feature comes in handy when you need to explore Object Oriented Code. This is useful for exploring object-oriented code.


When using Visual Studio Debugger, a redesigned Threads window enables you to filter, call-stack search and expand, and group. Organization, searching and sharing of breakpoints with other developers is also available for you now.

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The new Parallel Stacks and Parallel Tasks windows allows you to visualize and debug parallel codewritten in C++, C#, or VB.

IDE to Project Capabilities relationship

The other enhancements is that the features in the IDE, like Add Reference and the Toolbox are now in relation to the version of the .NET Framework or Silverlight that your project targets. Therefore, this makes types, members, and controls from assemblies that target an earlier version of the .NET Framework not appear in IntelliSense and in turn produce background compilation errors.

For example:

If your project targets .NET Framework 2.0 and you use a language feature that .NET Framework 2.0 does not support, like anonymous types, the IDE will mark the code as an error.

Test-First Support

The new Integrated Development Environment can generate code for new types and members from their usage before they have been defined when using VB or C#. So now you can write tests first and then generate the code required to compile the tests.

IntelliSense also now gives you a suggestion mode that prevents IntelliSense from automatically completing a type or a member that has not yet been defined.

Application Lifecycle Management

Application Lifecycle Management client application is now available in all versions of Visual Studio but not in the Express versions. Application Lifecycle Management includes version control, work item tracking, build automation, a team portal, reporting and business intelligence, Agile Planning Workbooks, and test case management which are everything that you need to collaborate on your software development projects. Visual Studio 2010 has Application Lifecycle Management included in it with one Client Access License (CAL). You can also purchase additional Client Access Licenses as you require.

Text Templates and Code Generation

Text templates can now be created and used in any version of Visual Studio without any other components. The introduction of the Preprocessed Text Templates in Visual Studio 2010 has made generating text files from your application very simple.

The integration with the build system has improved support for code generation. Therefore now the source code generated is always up to date after any change to the source model

New Start Page

The Start Page in Visual Studio 2010 now features a new look and feel with some better functionality added to it. A variety of selected and categorized learning resources has been put into a tabbed content link area and are MSDN resources, community resources, and a customizable news feed.

Recent Projects list now lets you add projects to the list or remove them with a single mouse click.You can also install custom Start Pages from Extension Manager.

New Extension Manager

By clicking on the Extension Manager on the Tools menu you can now installing any new Extension for Visual Studio on the IDE. By using the Extension Manager you can install community published extensions from the Visual Studio Gallery Web Site without even opening a browser. Using the Extension Manager you can also uninstall, disable, or re-enable installed extensions.

New Project Dialog Box

New Project dialog box in Visual Studio 2010 also includes the same search and install capabilities as the Extension Manager, except that it searches only for project templates and item templates.

New Help Viewer

Help Viewer has also been enhanced for Visual Studio 2010. You can now:

  • View documentation online by using your preferred Web browser
  • View offline by using your preferred Web browser
  • Download the latest documentation on demand
  • Navigate the documentation by using a simplified table of contents
  • Search for specific content by using an improved full-text search algorithm
  • Use a more streamlined F1 system to locate content specific to the task that you are working on

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