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Recap: What’s New in Visual Assist 2022

Webinar What's New in Visual Assist 2022

Did you miss the What’s New in Visual Assist 2022 webinar? We’ve got you covered. 

The webinar and this recap blog are part of ongoing efforts to share more information around the latest Visual Assist updates and developments. Usually we publish what’s new in a bulletin, but we haven’t often had a webinar where we share what’s new and have live questions and answers. So we had one!

The webinar was hosted by Whole Tomato’s Chris Gardner (Lead Developer), David Millington (Product Manager), and Kyle Wheeler (General Manager).

If you want to skip ahead to specific parts, we’ve summarized the most important points and linked them to the appropriate section in the webinar.

An overview of Visual Assist and its features

In this section, Chris gives a brief rundown of Visual Assist features, and how Visual Studio users can benefit from the tool. And while this serves as a great introduction to new users, Chris imparts his years of knowledge and experience— making it a great reference even for those already familiar with the tool.

This section includes a quick summary of the key feature categories included in the Visual Assist package:

 

What makes Visual Assist a unique C++ productivity tool? 

“There’s a ton of features,” says Kyle Wheeler. The tool has been available for a few years and has seen many versions of Visual Studio. And with each version came “new complexities, challenges but also new opportunities”.

One of the main design principles of Visual Assist is finding gaps in Visual Studio and making them better. The native environment sometimes does not work in the most intuitive of ways or struggles “because C++ code is [relatively] complex”, which is why the tool tries to provide better options, if not outright replacements.

But apart from a lengthy list of added functionality, David Millington explains a few key benefits of having Visual Assist as a coding partner:

  • Non-distracting, non-flashy  UI that shows up only when needed.
  • Low memory usage,  making it perfect for large projects – we recently halved memory usage, and we were already pretty good
  • Highly performant to parse and to provide results from parsing
  • Parser can handle non-compiling code, i.e. code you’re in the middle of working on

Live Demo: Using Code Inspection to Modernize Code

Visual Assist's Code Refactoring

Visual Assist inspects code for issues and automatically suggests a replacement according to latest standards.

Chris demoed one of Visual Assist’s refactoring tools that looks for code issues and automatically suggest the replacement code appropriate to the latest C++ coding standards.

This feature makes it easier to maintain older code bases or update legacy code to modern, and often safer and more performant, coding styles. For example, following the latest C++ Standard Template Library (STL) standard practices.

You can quickly apply all fixes in the code inspection results window.

Note: This feature is currently disabled by default. Turn it on via accessing Extensions > VAssistX > Code Inspection (beta). 

Live Demo: Accessing features (Navigation & Commands) 

Chris also gave a brief demo of the most popular Visual Assist features and their default/recommended shortcuts. He also shows a few tips and tricks to maximize these features.

  • Refactoring Menu – a comprehensive dialog menu that shows a list of available actions depending on the highlighted symbol
  • Go to related –  a strong navigational feature wherein you can jump to anywhere related to the current symbol
  • Keyboard shortcuts – best way of finding and learning how to use new functions
  • Open file in solution – a lightweight search window that lists all openable files
  • Find symbols – a tool for finding and jumping to a symbol
  • Code snippets – used to create, save, and insert snippets of code quickly

Chris and Kyle also gave a few tips on how to keep track of the many shortcuts and how to integrate them into you workflow.

What’s new in Visual Assist

Visual Studio 2022 support, Unreal Engine 5 parity, and more! These are just a few of the latest developments in the recent versions of Visual Assist. 

  • Visual Studio 2022
    David explained how the shift to an x64 process affects Visual Studio coding, and also what it may mean in terms of new and exciting possibilities for Visual Assist.
  • Unreal Engine 5
    Chris shared a bit on Unreal Engine 5: his firsthand experience with a UE5 demo, the troubles with development on Visual Studio, and how VA remains a highly necessary tool for UE development.
  • Other notable updates
    David capped off the latest VA news with a list of key development points for Visual Assist in the past year.

The future of Visual Assist

The following bullet points are by no means official announcements, but they are ideas currently being considered by the product development team.

  • Consolidating more Unreal Engine improvements
  • Improving C# support and feature parity
  • More refactoring options
  • Visual Studio for ARM
  • Taking advantage of new 64-bit architecture

Getting involved

This update webinar was a new effort for us. It may be useful to be able to ask questions and have the team answer them directly, so if you prefer these live sessions of what’s new in Visual Assist, do let us know so we can continue doing more in the future.

And if you have any other suggestions on what we should focus on next, feel free to shoot us a message on our support channel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

And if you know someone in the community who’s been a great help to your coding journey, let us know. They might be our next MVP. (It might even be you!) 

Viewing the webinar

The full webinar recording is available here

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