VS2010: My Favorite Extensions

VS2010 - My Favorite Extensions
VS2010 - My Favorite Extensions

My favorite feature of VS2010 so far is the excellent extension support, which allows me to add in my favorite plugins from the Microsoft Visual Studio Gallery.

Since there are thousands of plugins in the gallery right now, I thought it might be useful to share the most useful extensions I’ve found (and currently use) so far:

In alphabetical order…

  1. AnkhSVN
    AnkhSVN is a Subversion Source Control Provider for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and 2010.
    AnkhSVN provides source code management support to all project types supported by Visual Studio and allows you to perform the most common version control operations directly from inside the Microsoft Visual Studio IDE.
    The Pending Changes dashboard gives you a unique insight in your development process and provides easy access to the source code and issue management features. The deep source code control (SCC) integration allows you to focus on developing, while AnkhSVN keeps track of all your changes and provides you the tools to effectively handle your specific needs.
  2. Code4Blog
    Code4Blog is a Visual Studio 2010 extension that allows to convert any code supported by Visual Studio IDE to HTML format with the same structure and colors. Main purpose of this extension is to prepare a code snippet to be published in rich documents, for example in blog posts, Microsoft Word documents or Help files. Some additional styling could be applied: max width and height of the code block, custom background (per code line), font family and font size, line numbering and others.
    Code4Blog is now published on CodePlex. You are welcome to work with the source code directly!
  3. JSEnhancements
    This extension provides outlining and matching braces highlighting features for Visual Studio JavaScript and CSS editor.
    Works both in JS/CSS files and HTML script/style blocks.
    Outlining is like in C# editor. It outlines {}’s, []’s and #region tags
    Brace highlighting is made from MSDN example.
    CodePlex page: http://jse.codeplex.com/
  4. PowerCommands for Visual Studio 2010
    PowerCommands 10.0 is a set of useful extensions for the Visual Studio 2010 adding additional functionality to various areas of the IDE.
    Visit the VSX Developer Center at http://msdn.com/vsx for more information about extending Visual Studio.
  5. PowerConsole
    This extension provides an extensible VS command window with default PowerShell integration. You can now script Visual Studio interactively in PowerShell, and enjoy familiar VS style syntax coloring and tab-completion.
    Prerequisite: Visual Studio 2010 RC (or above) + Windows PowerShell v2 (or above). After installation, open the new tool window from View->Other Windows->Power Console.
  6. Productivity Power Tools
    A set of extensions to Visual Studio Professional (and above) which improves developer productivity.
    (Tons more info at the VS Gallery Page: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/d0d33361-18e2-46c0-8ff2-4adea1e34fef)
  7. Regex Editor
    This sample was built to ease your pain when working with regular expressions.  It rehosts the editor in a dialog box and provides a basic language service to provide colorization, brace matching, sample testing grouping and selection tracking.  It shows re-hosting of the editor in a tool window, and provides a nice starting point for similar projects.
  8. VS10x Code Map
    VS10x Code Map is a Visual Studio 2010 extension that displays a graphical nested representation of the current editor window code (C# and VB.NET). It helps the developer  visualize type nesting, implemented interfaces, regions, member type and scope, as well as  quickly navigate to their respective position in the code editor.
  9. VS10x Method Block Highlighter
    Highlight entire methods with a colored-marker-like (standard green, yellow, cyan or magenta) background.

Introducing Remote Desktop Connection Manager

RDCMan In Action

Incredibly useful tool for managing multiple remote desktop (RDP) connections, and allows you to view, connect, and disconnect from groups of server connections as a whole or individually. If you use RDP often, this is well worth the download.  (And it’s free!)

Original article here:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2010/06/11/455115.aspx

Download RDCMan here:
http://go.microsoft.com/?LinkID=9733636

Clipdiary: Clipboard Manager

I previously recommended PhraseExpress for similar clipboard management functionality, but I’ve since switched to Clipdiary (available free via Clipdiary.com or Download.com) for a couple of reasons – first, that PhraseExpress would randomly lock up and prevent me from using my Enter key (weird, huh?), and second, because ClipDiary is super lightweight and does exactly what I want it to do. Here’s a blurb from their website:


The contents of the standard Windows clipboard change as you use it to copy and paste various types of information. But your data isn’t stored for a long time – when you turn off the computer or just copy another piece of information, the data is lost.

In most cases, that isn’t a problem, but have you ever needed the text you copied 30 minutes or an hour ago? Maybe your computer is acting up and the program you are using hasn’t saved the data, or maybe you copied some interesting information from a web page, but got distracted and forgot to paste it where you wanted? Or you may simply want to recall what you were doing on your computer a month or a year ago. There are many cases in which you might want to review your clipboard contents.

via Clipdiary is a clipboard manager for keeping the clipboard history.

Best Of 2008: Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008

From Lifehacker:

In the past year we’ve highlighted hundreds of Windows apps aimed at making your life easier, boosting your computer productivity, and powering up your PC.

For those of you who weren’t able to keep up, here’s a look back at the most popular Windows downloads of 2008.

Keep in mind that this list is based on the popularity of posts we’ve published in 2008 only, regardless of the original release date of the app. Many were brand new this year, while others were solid updates to popular software. Here’s the full run-down of the 12 most popular Windows downloads of 2008:

via Best Of 2008: Most Popular Free Windows Downloads of 2008.

LoseThos: Programming As Entertainment

Pretty cool stuff:

LoseThos is for programming as entertainment.  It empowers programmers with kernel privilege because it’s fun.  It allows full access to everything because it’s fun.  It has no bureaucracy because it’s fun.  It’s the way it is by choice because it’s fun. LoseThos is in no way a Windows or Linux wannabe — that would be pointless. LoseThos is not trying to win a prize for low resource usage or run on pathetic hardware.  Low line count is a goal, though.  It’s 100,000 lines of code including a 64-bit compiler, tools and a graphics library.  It’s strictly 64-bit and could be configured to function with 32 Meg or less RAM, but who cares!   Where do you get a x86_64 machine with less than 32 Meg RAM?  With no multimedia, it’s hard to run out of memory on a modern home computer.

LoseThos was designed from scratch with a clean slate and has no compatibility with anything else. Source code is ASCII plus binary graphics data.  It has a new language roughly based C/C++.  It’s more than C and less than C++ so, maybe, it’s C+. I took every opportunity to improve things once I made a clean break with the past.  That’s another reason LoseThos has value — it is innovative.

I started with a command line like this:
Dir(“*.*”);

I added default parameters from C++:
Dir();

I said, “parentheses are stupid.”
Dir;

Now, I have a language which looks a little like pascal.  It also doesn’t have a main() routine — any statement outside a function executes immediately, in order. The command line feeds straight into the compiler (not an interpreter) and it doesn’t have that bullshit errno crap for return values — command line commands are regular C+ functions.

(via http://www.losethos.com/)


Copy/Move Files Faster In Windows Vista

I found these programs on the interwebs last week and thought they might be useful; the first, TeraCopy, significantly sped up my file transfer speed in Windows Vista and seems a lot more intelligent than the built-in Windows Explorer copy/move dialog. The other nice thing about TeraCopy is that it seamlessly replaces the original Explorer dialog, so all you have to do to use it is just drag and drop (or Cut/Copy and Paste with the menu or keyboard shortcuts) like you usually would.

The second, Direct Folders, improves the File Open/Save dialog and adds a shortcut menu to any folder in Explorer.

  1. TeraCopy (http://www.codesector.com/teracopy.php)
    Copies files faster and smarter than Windows Explorer’s built-in copy function (this program replaces it) – asks you questions at the *beginning* of the copy operation instead of getting halfway through, then asking if you want to overwrite something.

  2. Direct Folders (http://www.codesector.com/directfolders.php)
    Makes it easier to navigate to a specified set of folders – gives you a shortcut list by double-clicking on the desktop, or the blank space in any Explorer folder window.

Open Camera RAW Files in Paint.NET!

Excellent collection of file type handlers and effects plugins for Paint.NET. Not the fastest ever at loading camera RAW images (takes about 5-8 seconds to load a CR2 from my Canon 30D), but it’s definitely helpful.

According to the website, it supports the following image types:

*.dcr DCR Digital Camera RAW Images
*.dng DNG Digital Camera RAW Images
*.eff EFF Digital Camera RAW Images
*.mrw MRW Digital Camera RAW Images
*.nef NEF Digital Camera RAW Images
*.orf ORF Digital Camera RAW Images
*.pef PEF Digital Camera RAW Images
*.raf RAF Digital Camera RAW Images
*.srf SRF Digital Camera RAW Images
*.X3F X3F Digital Camera RAW Images
*.crw CRW Digital Camera RAW Images
*.cr2 CR2 Digital Camera RAW Images

via Paint.NET – Megalo Effects & FileTypes Plugins

Windows Embedded Visual Style for XP

In case you’re looking for something fresh (and it’s signed by Microsoft, so you won’t need to hack anything to make it work)…

clip_image002

Windows XP users have not really seen a lot of love theme-wise from Microsoft since the release of the operating system. A measly handful of official themes have been released by Microsoft and the trend seems to continue for Windows Vista users. There is not really a reason to not to supply customers with fresh themes for their operating systems. If you look on the Internet you find many resources that cater to the needs of users who want to change the default themes.

Official themes on the other hand have the advantage of being signed meaning that there is no need to tamper with the uxtheme.dll file that protects the operating system from unofficial themes. Vishal over at Ask VG discovered a new signed Windows XP theme that is also compatible with Windows Server 2003 that can be installed without changing system files.

He discovered the theme in the Windows Embedded Standard CTP Refresh distribution and provided download links to it. The theme is supplied as a self extracting executable that installs the theme in the right location in Windows. The theme can then be selected from the Themes tab in the Display Properties.

(via ghacks.net)

Instant Eyedropper

This little tool is awesome. It’s like the eyedropper in Photoshop, except that it works on any pixel of your screen and gives you the hex code for the color in your clipboard. Very cool!

How it works

  1. Move the mouse pointer to the Instant Eyedropper icon in the system tray.

    Step One

  2. Press and hold the left mouse button and move the mouse pointer to the pixel whose color you want to identify.

    Step One

  3. Release the mouse button.

That’s it. The clipboard now contains the color code – in HTML format (or any other format that you have previously specified). It can be pasted and used in any text or HTML editor or the Color Picker tool of Photoshop.

(http://instant-eyedropper.com/)

Lifehacker: Shelf Web Pages Instantly (and Get Back to Work) with ReadItLater

logo

Yeah, I could really use this app. I’ve just been bookmarking links to my Bookmarks Bar in Firefox, then using Foxmarks to synchronize them to my home computer.

BTW, Foxmarks is teh awesome. You should really check it out.

riloptionsheader

Surely you come across web pages during the workday that are completely unrelated to actual work, but that you’d love to save for later—and the previously mentioned (and award winning) Firefox extension ReadItLater does just that really well. Once ReadItLater is part of your everyday workflow, it’s super-easy to park long articles or interesting tidbits you want to look at over lunch or at home in a “staging area” that’s available as an RSS feed, in your regular bookmarks, and even on other computers. ReadItLater may appear unnecessary to power bookmarkers who keep a “later” folder or tag, but on closer inspection it does offer features that make hitting the snooze button on a link much easier.

The Killer Feature: One-click Park

Without ReadItLater, to save a web page in your bookmarks in a “read it later” folder or tag, it takes a couple of steps. (Even with Firefox 3’s one-click bookmarking, you still have to tag or file the link.) With ReadItLater installed, Firefox gets a checkbox in the address bar next to the regular bookmark star icon. Click on that checkbox to automatically add the current web page to your ReadItLater list in one click. That’s it. Now you can get back to work.

(continued at lifehacker.com)

Visual Studio 2008 SP1

2008-08-25_104903

I’ve seen a *lot* of hits on my post “Visual Studio 2008 Is Pretty Damn Slow…“, which means that a lot of you are probably still experiencing speed issues with Visual Studio 2008. In regard to this, I thought it might be prudent to post information about the recently released Service Pack 1 for VS2008 and where to find it:

aa700831.VS08_v(en-us,MSDN.10)

Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 Downloads

Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 significantly improve the developer experience during the development process, and at runtime. These improvements address top issues reported by customers. For more information, see Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

Downloads

Additionally, the original hotfix which was intended to fix the speed issue (and is probably integrated into VS2008SP1) is available here:

And…

Here are all my posts related to this Visual Studio 2008:

How-To Geek: Using Symlinks in Windows Vista

I haven’t tried using my favorite XP junction tool, NTFS-Link, since I upgraded my home computer to Windows Vista, and I’m a little apprehensive since the filesystem has changed a bit. Nonetheless, if you are still using XP, NTFS-Link is an excellent tool for those of you already familiar with symbolic links via other operating systems, such as Linux.

Luckily, Windows Vista does include a command-line tool for creating symbolic links, similar to “ln” in Linux. However, it’s not quite as straightforward. Here’s the scoop from How-To Geek:

Using the mklink Command

The command that you need to use is mklink, which you’ll use from the command line. Just type it on the command line to see the options:

C:Usersgeek>mklink
Creates a symbolic link.

MKLINK [[/D] | [/H] | [/J]] Link Target

        /D      Creates a directory symbolic link.  Default is a file
                symbolic link.
        /H      Creates a hard link instead of a symbolic link.
        /J      Creates a Directory Junction.
        Link    specifies the new symbolic link name.
        Target  specifies the path (relative or absolute) that the new link

(continued via Using Symlinks in Windows Vista)

Download Squad: Quick Media Converter

This program looks awesome, and it’s comforting to know that both Download Squad and Lifehacker vouch for it. Check out the details; it might just replace MediaCoder for me…

quick-media-converter

Quick Media Converter is a Windows utility that will let you convert practically any audio or video file from one format to another. MPEG to H.264? No problem. WAV to OGG? Sure, why not.
Now let’s get something out of the way here. Quick Media Converter is basically just a fancy front end for the open source, command line FFmpeg media encoder. But it’s a really useful front end. The utility offers you two interfaces: an easy mode and an expert mode. In easy mode, you can choose from a number of predefiined formats. So just select the media files you want to convert, and click the Audio, Quicktime, WMV, DiVX, Xbox, PS3, or Wii button to create a file optimized for your system of choice.
In Expert mode, you have much more control over the code choices and settings. For example, in easy mode, there’s no way to convert a FLAC file to OGG. But you can do that in expert mode.

(via Quick Media Converter converts media… quickly)

DestroyFlickr

This is a super-slick Adobe AIR application which you can use to browse Flickr. Check out the screenshots below:

2008-08-13_163909

2008-08-13_164108

2008-08-13_164206

As you can see, it’s a pretty slick application. And, since you might be interested, you can find the photo in the screenshot above here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gmhennessey/2757101923/

DestroyFlickr, on the other hand, can be found here:

http://www.destroytoday.com/?p=Project&id=DestroyFlickr

I must say, it’s well worth the small download and simple install. Very slick. 🙂

Flickr Batch Download Tools

It surprises me that good flickr batch downloading tools are so hard to find! I’ve been on a kick lately, per suggestions from flickr advice articles, to archive and remove my point-and-shoot shots from my flickr photostream so that I can focus on my more artistic work.

To this end, I’ve been looking for a good tool to download my old photos, and have found three good candidates:

1. FlickrEdit (Java)

FlickrEditSunkencityHeader

From the looks of this application, it *should* be the one-stop shop for all of your flickr downloading needs, but for some reason, it consistently failed on my machine. After about twenty failed attempts, I gave up. Hopefully this is just a small bug, but I got dissuaded from using it very quickly. Nonetheless, it looks like a solid app, and it’s probably worth a look. (Please let me know if it works for you, and which version of Java you have installed – I can’t figure out what was wrong with it.)

2. Flump (Adobe AIR)

2742770656_8401a25013_o

Flump is a super lightweight, no-nonsense photo downloading tool. You just give it an account, a location to download, and a file mask. It will download all of the photos from that account. The downside? It will *only* download all the photos from that account. If you’re trying to only back up a selection of your flickr stream, you’ll have to wait until the downloading sequence gets that far. But, it’s still worth a look because it’s just that easy to use.

3. FlickrDown (Windows/.NET 2.0)

flickrdown-ui

FlickrDown is by far my favorite of the bunch. It’s super simple to use, gives you a great selection of your sets (and allows you to choose all your photos), and is quite solid. This is well worth the small download. Windows only, though. (Or, you might be able to rig it to run on Mono.)

Update: Just found this via Lifehacker: Flickr AutoDownloadr. Haven’t checked it out yet, but it looks promising.

Lifehacker Code: Better Flickr Extension

I’ve been using this extension for about a week now, and I can definitely say it’s been a big help to me in my flickr usage lately!

There are a ton of features that it includes, you can find out about all of them at the Lifehacker site linked below.

betterflickr0.3-header

Everyone’s favorite photo-sharing web application, Flickr, has had tons of ancillary applications and user scripts developed for it to tweak, mod and add to its functionality. Dozens of Greasemonkey user scripts have popped up that make Flickr better; so in the spirit of Better Gmail I’ve rolled a few of my favorites into a new Firefox extension called Better Flickr. After the jump, check out Better Flickr’s features and grab the download.

Better Flickr Firefox extension

Version: 0.3
Updated: July 1, 2008
Released: May 29, 2007
Compiled by: Gina Trapani, using Greasemonkey scripts by several authors, compiled using a modified version of Anthony Lieuallen’s Greasemonkey Compiler.

(via Upgrade Flickr with the Better Flickr Firefox extension)

VirtualBox: Free Virtualization Software

800px-VirtualBox

I’ve been using VMware Player for quite some time, and it’s quite good, but recently, I stumbled upon another free virtualization tool which also allows you to create new VM images (VMware Player only plays back VMware images created with a purchased version, such as VMware Workstation, or through a website such as EasyVMX: http://www.easyvmx.com/)

According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirtualBox):

VirtualBox is an x86 virtualization software package originally created by German software company Innotek and now being developed by Sun Microsystems as part of its Sun xVM virtualization platform. It is installed on an existing host operating system; within this application, additional operating systems, each known as a Guest OS, can be loaded and run, each with its own virtual environment. For example, Linux can be guest hosted on a single virtual machine running Microsoft Windows XP as the Host OS; or, XP and Windows Vista can run as guest OSes on a machine running OpenSolaris.

Supported host operating systems include Linux, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp, Windows, and Solaris, while supported guest operating systems include FreeBSD, Linux, OpenBSD, OS/2 Warp, Windows and Solaris.[1]

According to a 2007 survey by DesktopLinux.com, VirtualBox is the third most popular software package for running Windows programs on Linux desktops.[2]

So far, so good, with the exception of a little glitch I experienced while installing FreeDOS. Ubuntu runs quite well, and quite fast, as far as I can tell.

A particularly cool element of VirtualBox is the “Seamless Desktop” mode, similar to what is found in Parallels or VMware Fusion on the Macintosh:

750px-Virtualbox15seamless

Considering the level of functionality given for free, which is quite similar to the functionality you’d have to pay for in VMware or Parallels, I’m tempted to stick with VirtualBox for the near future and put it through its paces.

If you’re curious about VirtualBox yourself, you can find a copy here:

http://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads

and more directly, here:

Sun xVM VirtualBox 1.6 Download

Update:

Here are some links to download pre-made VirtualBox images:

http://virtualbox.wordpress.com/

http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=213555

Play Oregon Trail The Way You Remember It

Great article from How-To Geek about playing classic Oregon Trail on Windows…

33

2 I am a sucker for nostalgic computer games.  Oregon Trail was the first computer game I ever played on the Apple IIe system.  With the help of the Enhanced Apple IIe Emulator and some virtual floppy discs we can relive those golden memories on your current PC.  I am playing this on my Windows XP box.  I am not sure if it works with Vista.

The first thing you need to do is download AppleWin 1.14.0 This is a zip file so just go ahead and extract it where you like.  I just put it on my desktop.  Open the folder and double click on the AppleWin.exe icon to launch the emulator.  To start the virtual machine click on the Apple button on the upper right side.

(continued via Play Oregon Trail The Way You Remember It)