Rainbows and brackets, with the new Visual Studio Extension, Viasfora. Your Text/*ML Editing Power-Up

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I think we're going to on this Visual Studio Monday thing, extensions, frameworks, etc as long as the cool projects keep coming... Maybe these kinds of projects are not as fun as world conquering quad-copter LEGO robots (but then again, was is?), but in the end these projects are even more important in that they make building those world conquering things so much easy, and well, fun!

Today's project by Tomas Restrepo is a Visual Studio extension that you can think of as your Text/*ML editing power-up. And you all know that when there's not only coolness but source too, well...!

Introducing Viasfora

What is Viasfora?

Viasfora is a combination of my 3 most significant previous extensions. Keyword Classifier, BetterXml and Line Adornments. It puts them all in a single, nice package that includes full customizability through the Tools -> Options dialog in Visual Studio, including the ability to turn individual features on/off.

So what does Viasfora offer? Check the website for the full details, but here are some highlights:

  • Current Line Highlighting, a native feature in VS2013, but supported on VS2010 and VS2012.
  • Custom highlighting of Control Flow keywords, LINQ-related Keywords and Visibility keywords for C#, C/C++, JavaScript and Visual Basic (new!).
  • Highlighting of character escape sequences in C# strings, which makes it real easy to spot them!
  • Custom highlighting of XML namespace prefixes in XML/XAML/HTML documents.
  • Highlighting closing element tags in XML/XAML/HTML documents in a different color as the opening element tag. This is one of my favorite features and one I often miss from Vim.
  • Matching (through highlight) of opening/closing element tags in XML documents (new!).
  • Tooltips for easy lookup of XML namespace prefixes.

Hopefully having a nice (if simple) website for the extension with all the information makes it easier for people to find and get interested in it. As with my previous extensions, complete source is available on the https://github.com/tomasr/viasfora/  repository.

Where does the name come from?

Sorry, I still suck at naming . The name Viasfora comes from my attempt of mixing the greek word "Diáfora" and, well, obviously VS for Visual Studio. It sounds catchy, I think!

Viasfora v1.1 Published

Tonight I pushed a new version of my Viasfora extension for Visual Studio. In this version, I fixed some features that were not working on Visual Studio 2013 due to the introduction of a new HTML editor, particularly highlighting closing HTML tags.

What’s exiting to me, however, is the new feature: Rainbow Parentheses:


This is a Visual Studio version inspired by one of my favorite Vim plugins. Features:

  • Supported for C#, C/C++ and JavaScript files.
  • Highlights {}, [] and () braces.
  • Supports 4 different nesting levels, format for each one can be customized through the Tools -> Options dialog (Rainbow Parentheses 1-4).


A Visual Studio 2010, 2012, and 2013 extension that adds miscellaneous (but useful!) enhancements to the VS text editing experience.



tomasr / viasfora

Viasfora is an extension for Visual Studio 2010, 2012 and 2013 that replaces my old extensions (BetterXml, KeywordClassifier and Line Addornments). It adds a bunch of new features as well as full customization through the Visual Studio Tools -> Options dialog.

Official Site

Visit http://viasfora.com/ for more information about this extension and installation instructions.


For building Viasfora, you will need Visual Studio 2010 SP1 as well as the Visual Studio 2010 SP1 SDK.

  1. Clone this repo.
  2. Launch a PowerShell console and execute .\prepare.ps1 to copy all necessary assemblies to the .\refs folder.
  3. Open the viasfora.sln solution in Visual Studio
  4. Build it!

Following the instructions above, the source compiled for me with no problems. One thing to note, since it extensions Visual Studio, you'll need to have the appropriate Visual Studio SDK installed. Otherwise Visual Studio will complain that the Project is not a supported type. You can get them here, Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 SDK, Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 SDK, Visual Studio 2010 SP1 SDK.

Once you have the right VS SDK installed and run the above mentioned PowerShell script, you should be able to build the project. For someone doing what I do here, there's few words sweater than "Build succeeded "...


The code is easy to spelunk and there's a good bit to see and check out...


So if you're just interested in a cool Visual Studio Extension that will power-up your text editing, you can download it here for free, Viasfora or grab the source and see it all...

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