Visual Assist does not yet support Visual Studio “15” Preview 5

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 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.


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.

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

Visual Assist build 2108 is available

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.

Check out what’s new in recent builds, or download the installer for build 2108.

Visual Assist build 2107 is available

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.

Check out all that is new in build 2107, find out if you qualify to run it, or download the installer.

Visual Assist build 2102 is available

Visual Assist build 2102 makes it three builds in four weeks, which is an unwanted record  for us. Microsoft prompted the last build because they issued Visual Studio “15” Preview 2 without notice, which deprecated our prior build. Build 2102 is our doing; it fixes two minor regressions in builds 2097 and 2098.

Visual Assist build 2102 reverts an attempt to fix some kerning in Windows 10. The attempt fixed kerning for some fonts but worsened it for others. If you encounter text that is difficult to read, e.g., in the VA Outline, install build 2102.

If you use Alt+M to navigate among methods in a file, you may notice the list excludes certain non-const template class methods. If this occurs for you, install build 2102.

Visual Assist build 2102 includes no other fixes and no improvements to functionality, and the build requires software maintenance through 2016.06.02.

Check out what’s new in recent builds, or download the installer for build 2102.

Visual Assist build 2098 is available

Visual Assist build 2098 arrives on the heels of build 2097 to provide support in Visual Assist for Visual Studio Enterprise “15” Preview 2, the IDE that Microsoft released while build 2097 was in the final stage of quality testing.


If you installed Preview 2, you should install Visual Assist build 2098. If you don’t use Visual Studio “15” and have our build 2097, you can skip 2098—it will do nothing for you. If you have a build of Visual Assist prior to 2097, install build 2098 and then read what’s new in build 2097.

Visual Assist build 2098 requires software maintenance through 2016.05.12.

You can find descriptions of this and our previous builds on our what’s new page. If you need build 2098, download the installer.

Visual Assist build 2097 is available

Visual Assist build 2097 introduces support for Visual Studio Enterprise “15” Preview 1, just in time for Microsoft’s posting of Preview 2.


If you use Preview 1, you can install build 2097 assuming you installed the IDE using its ISO or web installer. The Visual Assist installer for build 2097 won’t recognize your IDE if you installed it only using Microsoft’s new, “light” installer.

If you already switched to Preview 2, you should wait for the next build of Visual Assist, due in a few days. That build will officially support Preview 2. (We’ll drop support for Preview 1 at the same time.)

Also in build 2097, we implemented a suggestion that came to us from a customer at last month’s Build conference—to support an alternate location for roaming data. The customer envisioned a more efficient way to configure Visual Assist in multiple VMs and PCs. He wants to store data on OneDrive such that a VA Snippet created in one development environment will be available when starting an IDE in his other environments. Build 2097 makes that possible, and OneDrive should work just fine.

With build 2097, one can specify an alternate location for per-user data, e.g. VA Snippets. But, keep in mind Visual Assist won’t automatically write its registry settings in the alternate location; you need to force that with export/import when you setup a new environment. Export is available on the Performance page of the options dialog for Visual Assist, and “import” implies running the exported registry script in your new environment. (Edit your registry script if file paths of your two environments differ, and export/import works only to the same version of IDE.)

Also at the Build conference, we learned very few of our customers are aware of, much less use, VA Hashtags. We demo’d the feature regularly, and every viewer was duly impressed. They had no idea such a simple yet powerful feature of Visual Assist escaped them.

I mention VA Hashtags for two reasons: if you don’t know about them, you are in for a treat. If you do use them, build 2097 makes it a little easier to hide specific VA Hashtags from all of your solutions, usually the VA Hashtags created solely by and for another developer on your team.


Build 2097 also contains the typical slew of bug fixes.

Learn how to specify an alternate location for per-user data, introduce yourself to VA Hashtags, make global hiding a little easier, check out the complete list of what’s new in build 2097, or download the installer.

One final note, build 2097 doesn’t appear on our downloads page because the build throws an exception for first-time users of Visual Assist. If you are reading this blog post, it’s a safe bet you are not a first-time user; you won’t see the exception. Our next build will fix the problem and will appear on our downloads page for all users.