Microsoft Launches Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio

Microsoft's Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio lets developers find and reuse millions of code snippets and samples from within the IDE.

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Microsoft announced the availability of its Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio, an extension that brings together the Visual Studio Sample Browser and Bing Code Search extensions to enable developers to find and reuse millions of code snippets.

The extension also enables users to find and reuse code sample projects from across the coding community, including the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), StackOverflow, Dotnetperls, and CSharp411 – all from within the Visual Studio IDE.

Microsoft delivered the new solution after receiving customer feedback that a more efficient in-product search experience would enable developers to not only find sample codes quickly while in Visual Studio, but would also have the capability to pull in relevant sample codes related to the developer projects themselves while coding, and include offline search, the company said in a post on the Bing Dev Center Team Blog.

With the Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio, a developer working on their solution and wanting to find a code snippet to plug in does not need to go out to the browser and search Bing through the search portal. Instead, they can just enter their search terms in the IDE and get samples right there. Additionally, the Visual Studio plug-in will replace placeholder variables and whatnot that occur in the sample code with the actual variables in use by the developer in their own code. It saves a lot of time for developers, Microsoft said.

The Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio focuses on delivering a more efficient in-product code search experience. Key features include new Visual Studio IntelliSense integration. While coding, a relevant code snippet related to your current API will be automatically displayed in the IntelliSense window, which is powered by Bing Code Search. Developers can copy the code or click the source URL to view where the code snippet comes from, or click “Search More” to find more code samples related to the API.

The Sample Browser feature provides one-click access to sample code. By entering programming needs into the Visual Studio toolbar, a developer receives a selection of code snippets and code sample projects -- complete Visual Studio demo solutions that developers can download, build and run.

And the offline search feature enables developers to search for code samples among local or downloaded sample projects even when disconnected from the Internet. Users can custom configure Visual Studio to index local sample folders through Tools/Options menu.

“We have an ambitious roadmap for Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio,” the Bing Developer Assistant team said in its post. “As we mentioned earlier, there are plans to support more programming languages in the Visual Studio IntelliSense window. In addition, we are investigating expansion of the tool into other developer experiences within the company; enterprise code search, compile/debug error assistance, and MSDN forum support.”

The Bing Developer Assistant for Visual Studio is available as a free download for Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio 2012, and Microsoft has committed to expanding it further as part of the Visual Studio developer experience, the company said.