The Tomato will exhibit at the Game Developer Conference next week, March 1-3, in San Francisco. If you will attend the show, be sure to stop by booth 2438 and say hello. Get a peek at new and forthcoming features in Visual Assist, share with us your wish list, and introduce Visual Assist to your coworkers. We will have swag on hand.
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.
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.
Microsoft announced today the Preview 5 release of Visual Studio “15”. The Visual C++ Project Engine changed between Preview 4 and 5, and the change prevents Visual Assist from loading solutions. The developers at Whole Tomato Software are working on a resolution.
If you use Visual Assist in Visual Studio “15”, stay with the Preview you have or update and wait for our next build. The next build of Visual Assist will add support for Preview 5 and nothing else.
Stay tuned to the usual channels.
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.
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!)
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.
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.
Visual Assist build 2112 requires software maintenance through 2016.09.16.
Visual Assist build 2108 is a bug fix build—one bug, in fact, that prevents build 2107 from loading in some user environments. The problem was related to our periodically migrating to a newer toolset.
If Visual Assist build 2107 doesn’t load in your IDE, evidenced by disabled items in the VAssistX menu, install build 2108.
Visual Assist build 2108 requires software maintenance through 2016.08.02.
Visual Assist build 2107 is a yard-sale of builds—it offers something useful to everyone but has no theme to its entire set of offerings. I describe a few improvements in this post. You will need to visit our what’s-new page or release notes to learn about all of them.
If you are a fan of the Smart Select commands in Visual Assist, you will appreciate the more intelligent versions in build 2107. Growing and shrinking selections stop at more logical boundaries. If you don’t use Smart Select, press Shift+Alt+] in the text editor a few times. Then, try the Shift+Alt+[, Alt+], and Alt+[ variants.
Locating any symbol in your solution (Shift+Alt+S) is now a little more efficient. Prior to build 2107, one had to consult hovering tooltips to differentiate like-named symbols defined in different files. Build 2017 does away with the need to hover by offering columns for file and directory. If you show the columns, I recommend you disable the tooltips entirely; they can be annoying.
Excellent performance, particularly in large solutions, has always been a mainstay of Visual Assist. Even so, parsing of large solutions can temporarily consume resources you might prefer dedicated for another task, e.g., a build. You have long been able to place a limit on the number of CPUs used by Visual Assist, but build 2107 lets you temporarily restrict parsing to a single thread—without restart of the IDE. If you are running a CPU-intensive task in the background, toggle the setting before you open a new solution.
The last item I describe in this yard sale pertains to sorting, an unusual but seemingly often-used improvement to a code editor. Sorting lines of code, e.g., values of an enum, now begins with a small dialog that prompts for sort order and case sensitivity. If you are one of the many who have asked us to improve sorting, you finally have your wish.
Visual Assist build 2107 requires software maintenance through 2016.07.15.