A place for spare thoughts

22/02/2012

Visual Studio usability gem – Perspectives extension

Filed under: VisualStudio — Ivan Danilov @ 03:31

Back in VS 6.0 days there was a feature to manage environments of the Studio: what tool windows you have opened, their layout, toolbar configuration and position etc. It was very handy because when you write code – you don’t need bunch of windows dedicated to debug process like threads, watches, call stacks and the like. After VS 6.0 this feature was silently buried. Instead what you have now is just two configurations of layout: one for debug and one for non-debug times. And VS switches them itself without your intervention.

While these two could be enough sometimes, it is not always the case apparently. In the multi-monitor days it becomes even more true. If you’re actively writing code and looking at connected parts of codebase constantly – you want as much space for your editor windows as possible. Even on several monitors at once. If you have MSDN or stackoverflow opened in your browser and you’re trying to figure out how could they be applied to your situation – you want probably to see browser on the second screen, don’t you? But VS’ toolwindow will readily go on top of the browser instantly as you activate IDE. Arghhh! What can you do? Close toolwindow or dock it somewhere else (just to return it back manually when you no longer need browser). And there are several such scenarios that are forcing to shuffle windows forth and back constantly.

Today I found Perspectives. Basically it is what VS 6.0 had a decade ago – layout manager. It is somewhat buggy, but still can apply and save layouts wonderfully. With that functionality I definitely can tolerate several minor UI issues.

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