Visual Assist build 2237 is available

Visual Assist build 2237 fixes one bug applicable only to users with Unreal Engine 4 (UE4). The fix prevents a hang of Visual Studio that might occur when smart suggestions appear for UPARAM().

If you develop with UE4, download the installer for build 2237.

If you don’t develop with UE4, or have no idea what UE4 is, you are welcome to skip the build.

Visual Assist build 2237 requires software maintenance through 2017.10.03.

Visual Assist build 2235 is available

Two recent, significant additions to Visual Assist—Source Links and Code Inspection—continue to mature in build 2235. The build also provides a valuable set of enhancements and fixes for established features of Visual Assist.

Source Links now opens hyperlinks found in comment blocks using one’s external, default browser. And although Microsoft finally introduced the functionality in Visual Studio 2017 15.3, Visual Assist makes it available in all versions of Visual Studio going back to 2010. Additionally, Source Links opens website addresses written without the http or https protocol.

Code Inspection expands its set of quality checks by two in build 2235:

  • Integer literal can be replaced with ‘true’ or ‘false’
  • Reduce container capacity with shrink_to_fit() instead of copy and swap

Code Inspection also allows fine tuning of quick fixes, configured in the options dialog for Visual Assist:

Developers taking advantage of lightweight solution load of C/C++ projects in Visual Studio 2017 15.3 will find that the Open-File-in-Solution dialog of Visual Assist list files in lightweight-loaded projects as deferred.

Visual Assist parses files in deferred projects as the projects, or their containing solutions, are loaded.

Finally, build 2235 expands the options dialog for Visual Assist with pages that configure the behavior of GoTo Implementation (Alt+G), GoTo Related (Shift+Alt+G), and VA Hashtags.

Build 2235 requires software maintenance through 2017.09.25.

Learn to connect to external applications and website using Source Links, check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2235, or download the installer.

Visual Assist build 2231 is available

Build 2231 provides several small but noteworthy improvements for all users of Visual Assist, and one extraordinary improvement for developers who use also Unreal Engine 4 (UE4).

Visual Assist typically parses all files in a solution, and the system headers it includes, the first time a solution is opened. For a large solution, parsing might take a few minutes. For a solution that includes UE4, parsing might take tens of minutes.

Build 2231 improves initial parse times for all large solutions. For typical solutions, parse times drop 10-20% with the new build. For UE4 solutions, parse times can drop a whopping 75%. For UE4, the reduction can be so great you might assume Visual Assist is broken; it’s not. It’s faster.

Source Links, which turns comment expressions into links to external applications, was introduced in the last blog post. With build 2231, the feature can now find strings by regular expression, not just keyword, so you can connect more often to more external applications. For example, if candidate links to an external bug tracker sometimes include a prefix ‘c’ that must be excluded from tracker URLs:

You can extract values, e.g. “2134”, via a regular expression that accounts for the optional ‘c’ and includes named group “VALUE”:

Also, if you write a custom Source Links plug-in to connect to an external application, you can now tell Visual Assist where to find your plug-in.

Build 2231 also improves support for NuGet projects, projects that include Google Test, and multiple monitors in mixed-mode DPI.

Build 2231 requires software maintenance through 2017.08.15.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2231, learn about Source Links, learn to enable support for UE4, or download the installer.

Visual Assist build 2223 is available

This post is a 2-for-1 build announcement: 2219 and 2223. Build 2219 made some nice improvements to Visual Assist but a day after release of the build, several bugs were discovered in it. Build 2223 is the bug-fix build. This announcement for build 2223 includes the improvements of build 2219.

Source Links, previously a standalone extension available only in the Visual Studio gallery, is now integrated into Visual Assist. If your code comments refer to external applications or websites, Source Links will connect those references to the external systems. You will be able to hover over references to see tooltips, and double-click to jump directly into external systems. Source Links are ideal for connecting code comments to bug trackers, case managers, documentation, and source code control systems.

A popular and long-time staple of Visual Assist, Open File in Solution (Shift+Alt+O), received a few improvements. The dialog now allows inclusion of files not explicitly part of a solution but are in solution directories, and inclusion of files otherwise hidden by extension.

On a related note, symbols in solution files that reside in a “\Program Files” directory are now considered stable, and therefore can appear in italics. (Previously, no solution file was ever considered stable.) The change was driven primarily to accommodate binary distributions of Unreal Engine 4 whose stable engine files are part of every game solution. If you develop with a binary distribution of UE4 installed to “\Program Files”, enable italics on the Coloring-and-Attributes page of the options dialog for Visual Assist.

Also primarily for UE4 users, the priority of the parsing threads of Visual Assist can be lowered.

Code Inspection continues to suggest more improvements. The feature now inspects for:

  • Check emptiness with empty() instead of size()
  • Redundant get() on smart pointer
  • Redundant ‘return’ or ‘continue’ statement
  • Reset unique_ptr with ‘= nullptr’ instead of ‘delete p.release()’

Build 2223 requires software maintenance through 2017.06.22.

Learn about Source Links, check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2223, or download the installer.

Visual Assist build 2217 is available

Build 2217 follows an earlier hiatus in builds and puts us back on track to issue six or seven builds this year. Whereas we started the year introducing a big feature, Code Inspection,  build 2217 is primarily a bug-fix build. Many of the fixes, as you can imagine, relate to Code Inspection.

Aside from fixes, build 2217 improves the Open File in Solution (OFIS) dialog such that loading of system files can be interrupted—without the dialog’s closing.

The OFIS dialog always includes files in the current solution but if you uncheck the box to load system files as well, pressing Esc or clicking Stop during the load will interrupt their loading. Interrupting does not affect the loading of solution files. If an interrupt was effective, the OFIS dialog will contain all solution files and a partial list of system files.

Build 2217 also introduces a Code Inspection that converts unadorned, ASCII strings with escaped characters to raw string literals.

Build 2217 is recommended for all users of Visual Assist, especially those using Code Inspection. Software maintenance is required through 2017.04.26.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2217, learn about Code Inspection, or download the installer.

Visual Assist build 2212 is available

Visual Assist build 2212 follows build 2210 with an important fix for Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) developers—separation of UE4 and UE3 support.

Code Inspection, a new feature in Visual Assist, was introduced in build 2210. If you did not get a chance to download 2210, you will discover the feature in build 2212. Code Inspection analyzes for specific code quality issues as you edit.

Visual Assist build 2212 is recommended for all users with software maintenance through 2017.03.23. If you develop with UE4 but are outside the term of your maintenance, I encourage you to renew maintenance to get improved support for the engine.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2212, learn about Code Inspection, learn to enable support for UE4, or download the installer.

Visual Assist build 2210 is available

After a long hiatus between builds, the first of year 2017 is now available. Visual Assist build 2210 include two big improvements: support for Visual Studio 2017 and Code Inspection.

Visual Assist build 2210 supports the release version of Visual Studio 2017. If you used Visual Assist in a release candidate of the IDE, please upgrade to build 2210.

Code Inspection is a new feature in Visual Assist that analyzes code quality as you edit. The feature, based on LLVM/Clang, warns you of code issues and if possible, suggests and applies quick fixes. The first set of code inspections, corresponding to a subset of clang-tidy checkers, offers to modernize C++ to the extents supported by your project toolsets.

Code Inspection is a beta feature so it is disabled by default. To try the feature, begin by enabling it in the options dialog for Visual Assist.

Code issues resulting from inspection are underlined in the text editor. To understand an issue, hover over its underlined text.

If the underline is solid, see a quick fix by moving the caret to it and opening the Quick Actions and Refactorings menu (Shift+Alt+Q).

To browse all code issues for the current file, open the Code Inspection tool window found in VAssistX | Tools.

Before we introduce more code inspections, we want your feedback on the feature’s functionality, performance, and UI. Please send your comments to support@wholetomato.com or share them in our community forums.

Visual Assist build 2210 also improves support for several Unreal Engine 4 keywords, finds an include path in the CppProperties.json of a folder-based C++ project, and fixes several bugs.

Visual Assist build 2210 requires software maintenance through 2017.03.08.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2210, learn more about Code Inspection, or download the installer.