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Soma on the Key Themes for Visual Studio 2010

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S. Somasegar (better known as Soma) is the Senior Vice President in charge of the Developer Division which makes everything from Visual Studio, the Expression suite, and application runtimes including the .NET Framework,  Silverlight, and more.

While in our last video with Soma, we talked about the platform support for Visual Studio 2010 including Windows Azure and Windows 7, in this video, Soma discusses the key themes for Visual Studio 2010. You'll see Soma demo using Visual Studio 2010 and the Managed Extensibility Framework to add a WPF-based extension to Visual Studio.

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  • Very interesting.
    However, where do I go to, to make feature suggestions?

    One thing about VS2008 that is a bug-bear, is not having dynamic code comments.

    To see what I mean, have a look at Netbeans IDE 6.X, and how it handles Javadoc comments.  As soon as you add a Javadoc comment, for say, a method, when ever you move the mouse over a reference to it, or in the members list on the left, the new comment pops up.

    Being able to do this without having to externally compile a help file, which I have not been able to do for VS yet, is a big help.  Especially with larger projects.

    I have done a lot of work in Java using Netbeans.  I am new to both C# and VS2008.  However, I am developing my current project in C# with VS2008, and I miss some of the very useful features of Netbeans.
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    vs2008 already does what you describe Smiley
    if you have a method, Foo, you can add a comment to it by typing three slashes : ///. this will genereate a comment like this: (note the 3 slashes instead of 2)

    /// <summary>
    ///
    /// </summary>
    /// <param name="arg"></param>
    public void Foo (String arg){}

    whatever you put in the summary tag will appear in the intellisense and what ever you put in each argument tag will appear in the intellisense for each argument. intellisense comments also show up if you mouse over the method Smiley

  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    btw, to compile a helpfile, go into the project proerties and go to the build tab. at the bottom you'll find a checkbox called XML documentation file:. check it and all the comments in the format i mentioned will get compiled into there.

    when you reference the dll/exe in another project, you comments will show up as long as that generated xml file is in the same directory as the referenced file Smiley
  • Thank you for that.  My lack of experience with VS.

    One thing though, have you seen what Netbeans displays?  If you have the cursor in a method name (a reference), and press Ctrl-Space, you get a window displaying all the information from the Javadoc comment for that method.  Parameters, See Also, Returns, with all the text you have included for each, within the comment.

    Furthermore, have you seen the Navigator window.  As you move the mouse over each of the class members, if any have Javadoc comments, you get this same window appearing.  Making it a lot easier to understand the code.  This window is for the file you are currently working on.

    The reason I am bringing this to your notice, is in the hope that Microsoft might add this functionality to VS.

    I love to program.  It is now, after over 20 years in the industry, just my hobby.  I love Java, as it is such a great language to write in.  However, for my current project, I needed native compiled code, and so chose to learn C# as it is very 'Java' like.  Almost like a marriage between 'C/C++' and 'Java'.

    Again, thank you.
  • Santosh Benjaminsantosh_b Benjy

    If I understand what you're asking, then this too has been in VS for ages. Intellisense shows you everything including comments about the class, method, property etc. Spend some time in the IDE and check out the features. IMO, except for the refactoring support which lags behind Resharper and RefactorPro by a long way, VS has got everything else.

  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    no problem Smiley most people here on channel9 and the msdn forums are happy to help out new VS users Smiley (some arent but never mind those)

    ive only really used netbeans for ruby development so im not that familiar wit the java experience
    you can invoke intellisense by hitting ctl-space (or possebly alt or * space in the default key mapping) to show members that starts with whatever you've written

    check out the edit > intellisense menu. you can change those hotkeys in the tools > options >environment >keyboard options Smiley

    VS doesnt show you all the docs at once like netbeans, instead, the docs for the method is shown if the cursor is over the method, and each paramater if the cursor is on the parameter.

    the parameters arent shown while the cursor is on the method body because the diffrent overloads may have diffrent arguments meaning diffrent things. experiment with typing . after a a string for instance and try starting to type the parameters to a method and see what shows up Smiley

    if you want something like the navigator window. you can use the two drop down menus at the top of the ide.
    the right one shows the the types in the current file (c# can have multiple types in a file) and the left one shows the members in the selected type

    also, you can check out the object browser (view > object browser) from there you can browse all the namespaces referenced in your project and also view the comments for classes and methods

    i also have a java background from my school days and ive been a c# dev all my prof life. you'll find that c# is more of a superset of java when it comes to functionality with events and delegates (although events are actually delegates) and linq and attributes and various other things Smiley

    you should note though that c# is not a native language. c# is compiled to byecode and then jitted to native code at runtime Smiley
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    you should check out the msdn docs on visual studio and c#
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/52f3sw5c.aspx

    ive learned pretty much everything i know aboud c# and vs from there Smiley
  • A follow-up to the topic here...what I loved about Java was that Java read the comments and spit out a very nicely formatted HTML help system.  .NET just puts it all in an XML document.  Is there anything built into VS2008 that will use that XML to generate an MSDN like help page?
  • Dan FernandezDan
    Yes, there is a tool that does this called Sandcastle that will automatically build HTML files using the MSDN style. Several product teams use this for their official documentation.
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    ive never tried it but there is this: Smiley
    http://ndoc.sourceforge.net/

    im not aware of any built in generator stuff, but that doesnt mean there arent any Smiley
  • Mark RendlePlayer42 It's good to be heckling again.
    I'd also recommend looking at either DocProject or Sandcastle Help File Builder, both on CodePlex, which provide a high-level UI for Sandcastle. DocProject integrates with Visual Studio, SHFB is a stand-alone app.
  • Mark RendlePlayer42 It's good to be heckling again.
    I think NDoc's dead now.
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    probobly.. Smiley just did some light googeling Smiley
    go with sandcastle :9
  • Herbie SmithDr Herbie Horses for courses
    Is there a *nice* way to integrate sandcastle into the build process?  In the same way as checking the 'generate XMl documentation' I really want a 'generate HTML Help from XML Documentation'.  Not having to use a separate builder to generate the docs you be nice ...

    Herbie
  • Allan LindqvistaL_ Kinect ftw
    while i havent used it personally and only looked at it breifly,
    http://www.codeplex.com/DocProject

    that player42 was talking about seems to have VS(or atleast msbuild) integration Smiley

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