Thursday, June 7, 2012

New productivity features in Visual Studio 2012 RC

Now that Visual Studio 2012 RC has been released, I have started delving into some of the new features that have been introduced in Visual Studio 2012:

  1. The new file preview feature is definitely handy since it allows me to simply highlight each of my files in Solution Explorer to view the code.  If I need to edit the code, I can just jump directly into the code and start editing away!
  2. I can finally easily search for files within my solution by using the new Search Solution Explorer address bar.  Of course, notably absent is the ability to find the currently open file (for example, from a debug session) in Solution Explorer.  Fortunately, 3rd party extensions have offered this functionality in the past.
  3. After more than 4 years of waiting for this feature, VS 2012 finally introduces the ability to right-click on a .config file and select "Edit WCF Configuration".  I no longer have to manually browse to my .config files to add and edit WCF Configuration information!
  4. Even though I could search for Assembly References through the aid of the Visual Studio Power Tools/Productivity Tools, I can now search for assembly references as part of the native IDE's Assembly Reference dialog.  One less extension to worry about installing in order to be productive....
  5. When browsing for Reference Assemblies in Visual Studio 2010, every single project that required that reference assembly (such as the Microsoft.IdentityModel DLL) required me to re-browse for it each time.  Visual Studio 2012 now has a "Recent" option which remembers recently found reference assemblies.  Therefore, after adding it to one project, the next project that needs it can simply select it from the "Recent" list.  What a huge timesaver!
  6. The new Quick Launch search bar makes it very easy to find commands that would normally be buried deep within other menus.  I can simply search for a command such as "Source Control Explorer" and Visual Studio will give me the various commands corresponding to my search criteria.  This is an especially nice timesaver for commands which have no predefined shortcut keys.
  7. In the past, I have always had to rely on separately downloading Pex and Moles to use mock objects in my Unit Tests.  Fortunately, Visual Studio 2012 RC now includes "Fakes" to replace Moles as the mock library of choice.  You can read more about Fakes here:  http://www.peterprovost.org/blog/tags/fakes
  8. Even though the PowerPoint Storyboarding feature exists outside of Visual Studio, it is still a handy feature for prototyping new screens (especially for SharePoint).
Well, that is all for now, but I imagine that I will be adding to this list as I further explore all of the various new features and capabilities Visual Studio 2012 has to offer!

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