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Incremental Intellisense Improvements in VS2010

  • By Paul Kimmel
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Look at the Inherits System.IO.TextWriter statement in Listing 1. If you type System.IO. then Intellisense in Visual Studio 2010 will start with an alphabetic listing of members. When you start typing the listing is refined. If you type capital T, as in System.IO.T, instead of an alphabetic listing with members starting with T Intellisense will list all members starting with or containing a capital T. In Visual Studio 2010 a capital T will result in PathTooLongException,TextReader, and TextWriter. The logic here being what's the point of listing members that have no T just because they precede or follow members with T alphabetically.

Continuing the above scenario if you type System.IO.TW then the TextWriter method will be displayed because TextWriter is the only member with a capital T and W in that order (even though there are letters in between).


Intellisense has been incrementally improved in Visual Studio 2010. Instead of a associative alphabetic listing only members that contain the actual letters you type are displayed. If a member doesn't contain one of your letters then the member is filtered out.

The historical perspective on dual monitor debugging and tracing was added because in part this is the kind of thing that floats in my head. However, it may be interesting to newer developers to learn something about the ongoing existence of older solutions and contrast those to how much things have improved. Programmers used to have to memorize everything before Intellisense, and debugging was a painstaking process of manually examining code and write line statements. Integrated debuggers and trace windows are a relatively new invention, spanning a period of less than one person's career in computer science.

The sample code was added just so you'd have some code to chew on to play with Intellisense. The console redirect technique is a nice tool to keep around and it is fun to play with, but you can use any code to explore the changes to Intellisense. (The console code was originally published as "Redirect I/O to a TextBoxWriter in .NET" in April, 2006.)

About the Author

Paul Kimmel is the VB Today columnist for CodeGuru and has written several books on object-oriented programming and .NET. Check out his upcoming book Professional DevExpress ASP.NET Controls (from Wiley) now available on Amazon.com and fine bookstores everywhere. Look for his upcoming book Teach Yourself the ADO.NET Entity Framework in 24 Hours (from Sams). You may contact him for technology questions at pkimmel@softconcepts .com. Paul Kimmel is a Technical Evangelist for Developer Express, Inc, and you can ask him about Developer Express at paulk@devexpress.com and read his DX blog at http:// community.devexpress.com/blogs/paulk.

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This article was originally published on December 18, 2009

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