Visual Assist build 2302 is available

Honestly, the title of this post should be “Visual Assist build 2302 has been available for a long time”. I have been lax in writing.

Fortunately, if you enable notifications of new builds in the options dialog of Visual Assist, you would have discovered build 2302 not long after it was released. And if you clicked through a what’s-new link, you would have learned what improved with the build. I write today primarily for those who do not get in-product notifications of new builds yet follow these build announcements.

Build 2302, released mid-December, is a follow-on to build 2301—a build that did not reach the threshold of in-product notifications. Hence, this post describes what’s new in builds 2302 and 2301.

If you are one to “access the future of Visual Studio” and are already experimenting with Visual Studio 2019, build 2302 has preliminary support for the preview build of the IDE. See our release notes for known issues.

For those of you who have debugged multi-threaded applications, you have undoubtedly been annoyed by the debugger’s switching to a thread you are *not* debugging only because another thread hit a breakpoint. You lose context and have no easy way to return to debugging of the first thread.

Build 2301 introduces a command, Bind Breakpoints to the Current Thread, that does what its name implies. When enabled, other threads that hit breakpoints are automatically continued, and you can debug in peace. Toggle the command via icon in the Visual Assist toolbar, or entry in the VAssistX menu (Alt+X, B, T).

Build 2301 introduces another command, Skip All Breakpoints, to improve the debugging experience in Visual Studio. Until the build, switching between the debugging of different parts of an application was cumbersome. One could not tell the debugger to honor only breakpoints in a single part of an application; one had to skip unrelated breakpoints individually, or disable and lose them all. With Skip All Breakpoints, you can effectively toggle all unrelated breakpoints so they are skipped automatically. To debug one part of an application, Skip All Breakpoints, then return breakpoints in the one part to their default state. Get to the command via icon in the Visual Assist toolbar, or entry in the VAssistX menu (Alt+X, B, B).

For those who use Source Links to connect substrings in comment blocks to external applications and websites, you will be pleased to know that Visual Assist [finally] supports sharing of link definitions. When a solution is open, create a shared solution definition via the Add-button drop-down.

Shared solution definitions are created in a subdirectory of the solution directory, .va\shared\SourceLinks, that can be checked into source control that, in turn, makes the shared definition available in read-only mode to all users of Visual Assist.

Builds 2302 and 2301 also improve support for Unicode and UTF-8, and improve code generation for users of Unreal Engine 4 (UE4).

Build 2302 requires software maintenance through 2018.12.13.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2302; learn more about the debugging features in Visual Assist, or download the installer for build 2302.

Visual Assist build 2291 is available

Visual Assist build 2291 is a minor release that fine tunes several, well-loved features–ones that seem never to be finished.

Find References (Shift+Alt+F) in Visual Assist is the big brother of the like-named command in Visual Studio. (At one time, Visual Assist provided the only version.) The results window of the Visual Assist command has long allowed collapsing of project and file nodes, but the UI to that ability was ill-suited for large solutions. Build 2291 changes that. New commands in the context menu of a results window let you collapse and expand all nodes, or collapse just the file nodes.

Collapsing all nodes is especially useful before a Find (Ctrl+F) in the dialog, because the Find automatically expands the next node that contains a found string, making it easy to locate only references of interest.

VA Hashtags, a favorite of those who have learned to use the feature, has long allowed hiding and unhiding of “noisy” hashtags. But, unhiding could be applied only to all hashtags. Build 2291 changes that. With the build, and assuming hidden hashtags are shown dimmed, unhiding is now available on individual per scope of hiding: project, directory, file, and hashtag.

Open File in Solution (OFIS) (Shift+Alt+O), arguably the most-used feature of Visual Assist, also received a small improvement. A previous build introduced the persistent filter–a filter applied automatically, every time the OFIS dialog opened. That filter can now be toggled per dialog–applying and not applying the persistent filter. Use Ctrl+R to toggle the persistent filter.

Finally, build 2291 continues our ongoing commitment to Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) with several game-development tweaks to the code-generation features of Visual Assist.

Build 2291 requires software maintenance through 2018.09.21.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2291; learn about collapsing and expanding nodes in a Find References results window, hiding and unhiding of VA Hashtags, or persistent filtering in the OFIS dialog; or download the installer for build 2291.

Changes to our renewal policy

Whole Tomato prides ourselves on our ability to support continued development of our product.  To that end, we revised our renewal policy for Standard licenses to ensure that customers are able to benefit from ongoing development of Visual Assist. Encouraging customers to leverage maintenance increases the productivity of developers by making new features at their disposal and increases resources that allow us to keep up with releases of Microsoft Visual Studio.  This change in policy does not impact Academic or Personal licenses.

Customers who have been off maintenance less than a year can request a quote to restart maintenance the date of purchase. Term will be for a full year. Cost to renew is $119 per user. This offer expires March 12th, 2019.

After March 12, 2019, customers who have been off maintenance less than a year can request a quote for maintenance. Term will be for a year beginning the date their prior maintenance expired.

Customers who have been off maintenance for more than one year should contact us for a customized quote.

Visual Assist evolves frequently and significantly.  If you’re after new features, ever-improving usability, increased performance and the latest innovations, staying current on maintenance allows you to get access to all updates to Visual Assist.

World Class Support

You’ll receive our world class support for the term of your maintenance period.  Our support team consists of experts at troubleshooting, problem diagnosis, and problem resolution.  A maintenance and support contract includes front-of-the-line technical assistance via email, website and discussion forums.

Peace of mind

Your team depends on Visual Assist for day-to-day activities and having a guaranteed direct line of contact to a committed support team offers that peace of mind. Renewing ensures that the privileges of software maintenance and your day is uninterrupted.

Visual Assist build 2283.2 is available

We strive to release only high-quality builds of Visual Assist, but this latest round required a few attempts to get right. Fortunately, build 2283.2 is worth the wait. It has several, oft-requested improvements.

The dialog for Open File in Solution (Shift+Alt+O), improved just a few months ago, now includes a second edit field that lets you define persistent filters—ones active for all searches—thereby easily hiding extraneous files from the dialog. Display the second edit field via the context menu of the dialog.

Entering filtering strings to persist to all searches. For example, enter “-.moc_” to hide Qt files that begin “moc_”.

If you hide the second edit field, its filters continue to be applied to all searches. You need to empty the edit field to restore default behavior.

Users of Jira issue tracking will be pleased to know build 2283.2 includes a built-in plug-in that makes references to Jira issues in comments active Source Links. If you enable and configure the plug-in, hover over issues that include a Jira keyword to view information about respective issues.

Double-click a link to open an issue in a browser window.

Build 2283.2 also includes Add Forward Declaration, a code-generation command available in headers for pointer and reference members added to class definitions and method declarations. Access the command from the Quick Action and Refactoring menu (Shift+Alt+Q).

Teams that rely on Visual Assist will be happy to know it’s easier to share solution-related settings of Visual Assist in $(SOLUTIONDIR)\.va\. Rules for hiding VA Hashtags are written to .va\user\.vahashtags by default; designated users can maintain the file, then copy it manually to .va\shared\ where it will be read by all users of Visual Assist. And, solution-specific filters for the VA Step Filter can be written to .va\shared\, via setting in the options dialog of Visual Assist, for use by all users.

Build 2283.2 requires software maintenance through 2018.08.02.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2238.2; learn about persistent filtering in OFIS, Jira plug-in, or Add Forward Declaration; or download the installer for build 2283.2.

Privacy Policy Updated

We updated our privacy policy per the EU’s General Data Protection Regulations (“GDPR”) which went into effect today, May 25th, 2018. While the GDPR is a European law, we clarified and applied our privacy policy to everyone, independent of location.

Our updated privacy policy is more specific with regard to the information we collect, how we use the information, how we share the information, and your rights to the information.

If you visit www.wholetomato.com or forums.wholetomato.com on or after May 25, 2018, you are agreeing to the terms of our updated privacy policy.

You do not need to take any action.

Visual Assist build 2270 is available

Exhibiting at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) in March gave us the rare opportunity to interact—face to face—with a lot of Visual Assist users. Those who visited our booth picked up tips and swag, and left behind terrific feedback. The interactions gave us a better understanding of how Visual Assist is used, and how we could improve an already great product. A few of the improvements are included in Visual Assist build 2270, which is now available.

Source Links, introduced last June, was upgraded in build 2270 to support previewing of files whose paths appear in source comments. When Source Links and its File Viewer plug-in are enabled, hover over a path to see a preview of the file’s content. Preview-able formats include HTML, XAML, RTF, text, and image formats such as png and jpg.

Right+Click any path for file-related options.

Find References (Shift+Alt+F) has always been faster and more feature-rich than the built-in equivalent. In build 2270, the feature’s dialog was tweaked to indicate the effect of the filtering toggles D, S, R, and M.

Right+Click in a results window for toggle meanings.

Build 2270 continues our suite of improvements for users of Unreal Engine 4 (UE4). In addition to better parsing and coloring, settings related to UE4 are now easily accessed on a new page in the options dialog of Visual Assist.

Finally, Code Inspection was moved out-of-process to reduce the memory footprint of Visual Assist, thereby reducing the likelihood of an out-of-memory crash of Visual Studio.

Build 2270 requires software maintenance through 2018.04.30.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2270, enable the File Viewer plug-in for Source Links, learn to filter results of Find References, or download the installer.

Visit us at GDC 2018 in San Francisco

Whole Tomato Software will exhibit at the Game Developer Conference this week, March 21-23, in San Francisco. If you attend the expo, stop by booth 123 to see the latest features in Visual Assist, share your wishes for the product, and pick up some nifty swag.