Visual Studio 2005 Add-Ins and Tools That I Use

I am right now in the middle (about 20% and 18K lines of code through) a pretty substantial Windows Forms project using Visual Studio 2005 (C#). Here are some of the add-ins that I have been using (ranked in order of essential to useful):

  1. CodeSmith – Number one in Code Generation. I have spent less than a week of total time setting up my templates, and over the last three months alone have generated 386,403 lines of C# and TSQL code using this tool. I cannot see how I could work without it. Well-worth the investment.
  2. Visual Assist X ($149) – (My review here). I have been using this for about 2 years now. It works very well with both VS 2003 and 2005. The main features that really save me time are the much improved intellisense over the standard offering from MS, which includes basically any variable name that I could use based on the context that I am in (including private variables that were just created, properties available from inherited objects, etc). It also acts “intelligently” – if I type in something like myObject.Controls.Add(…); and then go to another line, when I start typing it will offer me this sequence as an option to autopopulate through intellisense. Very useful. Also allows you to use acronyms or type in the leading capital letters from Pascal/Camel case to find a function or property name. Additionally, VAssist X offers handy features for finding functions, and more (including a small but useful one which works as follows – when you type “functionName(“, the closing “)” will automatically appear. If you type “)” now, as I often do just out of habit, it will not insert an additional “)” character – rather, it will advance beyond the closing parentheses that was automatically added
  3. Krypton Toolkit (free) and Navigator ($50) from Component Factory – Although I had been reading Phil’s blog for some time before I started getting into Windows Forms, now that I am doing some WF work, I am finding this collection of components to be indispensible in extending the controls that are provided by MS in VS 2005 (and in the Navigator control providing several pieces of functionality in my current app that we would have had to invest weeks or months in to produce form scratch or come up with some alternative), and allowing me to give a universal, comprehensive look-and-feel to my application that would have been very difficult or impossible otherwise.
  4. VG Dot Net – Have a need for Vector Graphics in your Windows Forms or ASP.net application? Want to be able to manipulate the different components of the VG objects and images directly in your code (no COM please!)? Look no further.
  5. Free SlickEdit Gadgets – Some useful add-ins, including an easy-to-use Line of Code counter, Data Object analyzer (tells you what data items are inserted into the clipboard when different data object are copied in – an essential tool if you want to do anything more complicated than straight text copy/pasting from the clipboard, and a File Explorer add-in that basically gives you a Windows Explorer window in your code-view (Found via vidmar)
  6. MS Visual Studio 2005 IDE Enhancements (free) – This package with the uninspired name offered by Microsoft includes a useful code outliner (very useful in complement with some of the Visual Assist X offerings, IDE event viewer, Diff Utility and improvements to the Find engine.
  7. Code Rush with Rafactor! PRO ($249) – I tried it for a month and found that it was interfering with my workflow more than helping it (though this is almost certainly because I am used to the way that Visual Assist X works). However, some people find it to be very helpful. To each his own.
  8. Although I do not have anything installed from here right now, I would be remiss if I did not mention the ever-growing collection of Visual Studio Add-ins at the Code Project. As always with items from CP, use at your own risk…though you may find some gems here as well

Am I missing anything?

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