May 10, 2017

What’s New in Visual Studio 2017

In this blog post, I will attempt to cover some of the new features introduced with Visual Studio 2017.

Roaming Extensions

Most developers have more than one device that they develop code on, Keeping all of these environments in-sync with the extensions that you install in one environment or the other can become a chore. Visual Studio 2017 solves this problem by introducing roaming Extensions.

If you go to tools and extensions in Visual Studio 2017, you will notice that there’s a new node called Roaming Extension Manager. Here you will find the extensions that you installed using the same Visual Studio profile in a previous/earlier environment. You can now opt to install or uninstall, roam or stop roaming extensions that VS is tracking in the cloud for you.

Indent Guides

This is a cosmetic improvement on the IDE which was also available as a third party extension before it came baked into VS.

If you still haven’t upgraded to 2017 and would like to have this feature on the older Visual Studio IDE’s, you can download the extension at the Visual Studio marketplace.

If you don’t like this feature you can turn it off by going to tools -> options -> text editor (see screenshot)

Run to Click

This is by far the most useful feature I have found in the new IDE. Have you ever started to debug an application and wanted to move through a few lines quickly and go to a particular line? But you always had to set a debug point there so that execution would break at this location of interest. Finally, end up with a bunch of annoying breakpoints that are now pointless?

Visual Studio 2017 solves this problem by allowing you to run to a point in the code while debugging. See below screenshot.

When you hover over a line that the debugger can run to you simply click on the green “play-to” button to get to the line of code you want to get to.

Find All Reference

The find all references feature is greatly enhanced in VS 2017 which gives you the ability to navigate the results as a hierarchical tree, see example screenshot below.

You can group the results by the following grouping options. (available as a drop down in the toolbar)

  • Project then Definition
  • Definition Only
  • Definition then Project
  • Definition then Path
  • Definition, Project then Path

You can also change the scope of the search to the following options (also available as a drop down in the toolbar)

  • Entire Solution
  • Open Documents
  • Current Project
  • Current Document

Go to All

This new feature is similar to Resharper’s search feature (Ctrl+T) (If you are familiar with Resharper i.e), it allows for searching the entire solution for a keyword, you can filter the results for any file, type, member or symbol declaration.

Tip: you can prefix your search term with f to search for a file or t to search for a type. For example typing in “f Prog” would only bring up results that are files with a name starting with the letters “prog”.

List of prefixes supported.

  • f – File
  • t – Type
  • m – Member
  • : – Line (example :300 would take you to line 300)
  • # – Symbol

See screenshots below.

Example with a prefix.

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