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.

Visual Assist build 2118 is available

Visual Assist build 2118 introduces support for Visual Studio 2017 RC. Technically, support for the latest IDE arrived in build 2116, but we refrained from advertising build 2116 fearing early adopters would find a few problems. Alas, that assumption turned out true.

Build 2118, and build 2116 for that matter, introduce no new features in Visual Assist. If you have Visual Studio 2017 RC, install build 2118. If you are using any other IDE, you need build 2118 only if you encounter any of the few esoteric bugs the two recent builds address.

If you follow news about Visual Studio 2017 RC, you will discover that a few improvements to its C++ IDE are strikingly similar to features in Visual Assist, albeit essentially decade-old ones: filtering of member lists, improved Find All References, Go To All, and Dot-to-Arrow. In the near future, we will tweak the documentation and UI for Visual Assist to ensure differences are clear and that you have easy access to both implementations.

Expect new features in Visual Assist after the first of the year.

Visual Assist build 2118 requires software maintenance through 2016.12.12.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in builds 2116 and 2118, or download the installer for build 2118.

Visual Assist build 2114 supports Visual Studio “15” Preview 5

Visual Assist build 2114 supports Microsoft’s newest IDE, Visual Studio “15” Preview 5. But like the IDE, support is a work-in-progress. There are two caveats.

First, Suggestion Lists and Enhanced Listboxes are not yet available in Preview 5. Development continues. For now, settings on two pages of the options dialog for Visual Assist are disabled. (In a coincidence, Preview 5 includes two features, Predictive Intellisense and Intellisense Filtering, that are a little like the unavailable features—ones introduced in Visual Assist more than a decade ago.)

Second, the C++ experimental feature ‘Faster Project Load’ is not yet supported.

Also, we have found multiple versions of Preview 5. We have tested successfully versions 25802 and 25807. Although your IDE might report no update is available, if you run the Visual Studio Installer (a start item after installation of the IDE,) you will get the newest version of Preview 5.

We have also discovered that uninstalling of an extension, not just Visual Assist, sometimes leaves Preview 5 in an unstable state. If you uninstall an extension and Visual Studio “15” crashes during startup, we have instructions to return the IDE to a stable state.

Build 2114 also fixes a few bugs unrelated to Preview 5.

Visual Assist build 2114 requires software maintenance through 2016.10.15.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2114, download the installer, or learn to reset Preview 5 in this forum announcement if the IDE crashes at startup.

Visual Assist build 2112 is available

Visual Assist appeals to all levels of programmers, from students learning the ins and outs of C/C++ to experienced coders wanting tools that improve already impressive speed. The latest build of Visual Assist, build 2112, provides features at both ends.

Two dialogs in Visual Assist build 2112 remove some of the mystery of keyboard shortcuts available to new users of the software. The first dialog lists and explains assignments to the commands in Visual Assist commonly bound. By default, the dialog lists the assignments made during installation of Visual Assist. You can reach the dialog via VAssistX | Help | Keyboard Shortcuts.

build2112shortcuts

The second dialog lists shortcuts that are recommend to users of Visual Assist. Most recommendations overwrite shortcuts usurped by Visual Studio over the years. For example, Shift+Alt+O once opened a file from any scope of the IDE; by default, the command now works only in the text editor. (Visual Studio usurped Shift+Alt+O to open a website!)

build2112shortcutsrecommended

The dialog of recommended shortcuts opens automatically one week after installation of build 2112, primarily to give trial users a chance to learn the defaults. If you want to see the recommendations sooner, open the dialog via VAssistX | Help | Keyboard Shortcuts | Recommended.

At the other end, i.e., for experienced programmers, build 2112 provides two new tools that make debugging of native code more efficient. The first tool, Address Resolver, greatly simplifies the arduous process of mapping virtual addresses in a text-only call stack, i.e., one without a process dump, into names of symbols from a PDB.

build2112addressresolver

The second debugging tool, PDB Explorer, lets the experienced coder efficiently browse symbols in a PDB or DLL, and if a running process is under the control of Visual Studio, instruct the debugger to open the disassembly window at locations of symbols.

build2112explorer

Visual Assist build 2112 requires software maintenance through 2016.09.16.

Check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2112, learn about the Address Resolver or PDB Explorer, or download the installer.