Visual Studio 2012 Delivers Rich Toolset for Windows 8, Web Development

By Jeff Cogswell  |  Posted 2012-12-04 Print this article Print

There are many other general improvements, some small but useful. For example, the code editor windows can now be "pinned" where they stay to the left for quick access. (I'm not sure yet how useful I'll find this feature.)

One interesting feature I'll likely use is that you can undock your editor windows and drop them onto your second monitor. Although you could always do that, previously the windows were separate and you had to manually switch between them, with only one maximized in front. Now you can combine them into a single tabbed window just like in the main editor area.

In addition, you can open a second instance of the Solution Explorer. If you move this over to the other monitor, you can double-click on files in it and they open in the new tabbed window in the second monitor. That's handy.

The next feature I tried took me a moment to figure out, but it's going to prove useful. If you do a find-in-files operation, as usual you get a list of results at the bottom in a tool window. But the new feature appears if you click on a line inside the results. That file containing that line immediately opens in the text-editor area.

But it's not "really" open; it's only a preview with a tab appearing on the right end of the tab bar. Click a line from another file and the preview goes away and is replaced with a preview of the new file you clicked on. If you want to keep the file open, there's a little icon on the tab labeled "Keep Open." Click it and the tab moves to the left and the file opens like any other file.

Another new feature is IDE search. On the Visual Studio title bar, toward the right, is a little text box where you can type in a feature search. (Think "search" on the Windows start menu). A dropdown menu appears below the search box with the results.

I typed "debug" and saw a list of items that contain the word "debug," including "start without debugging," (which is normally a menu item or command).  Selecting this causes the program to run. Selecting "debugging—edit and continue" opens up the edit and continue setting in the Visual Studio Options dialog box. The menu, therefore, includes many different elements—menu commands, windows and so on. I can definitely see myself using this so I don't have to search through piles of menus.

There are many more features than I can possibly describe here. But this is a summary of the ones I tried out. You can find more information on the Visual Studio section of Microsoft's Website.


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