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Some Visual Studio Tools

By Brian Dukes

Yesterday, version four of the Visual Studio 2005 SDK was released (as noted in this blog post, V4 VS SDK Targeting VS 2005 Released!).  While I don't plan on developing any Visual Studio add-ins or extensions, I noticed that the SDK included SandCastle, which is a tool to build documentation based on your inline XML comments.  If you're working with large or distant groups, it can help to compile some of your work into a readable API document, and SandCastle will do that for you.  You'll need to go to http://www.sandcastledocs.com/ to get an automation script or GUI, since this release doesn't include any interface.  

Also released recently was the March CTP for Visual Studio Codename "Orcas."  This release includes a number of pretty cool updates to the IDE, including the new web form editor and javascript debugging.  It is rather gigantic, requiring two Virtual Images, each involving somewhere from six to nine 700 MB downloads.  But, if you're interested, it's pretty cool to mess around in there and see what's coming.  Check it out here: Visual Studio Code Name "Orcas" March 2007 CTP.

While I was poking around Microsoft Download Center, I noticed two other interesting downloads.  The first is the Consolas Font Pack for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.  This is just a new "optimized" font for programming, which will automatically install itself as the default font for VS2005.  I think it looks pretty slick.

Lastly, the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 IDE Enhancements are a group of power toys including a Diff utility and Source Code Outliner.  I haven't had a chance to check them out fully, but a couple of them look like they might be useful.

Enjoy.

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