I love seeing more affordable add-ins that are a great value. SlickEdit recently announced a set of add-ins that are both priced at $49 and both provide a number of compelling features. In this article I am going to cover some of the highlights of the Editing Toolbox.
Aliases and Acronyms
One feature set I particularly enjoy are the Aliases and Acronyms. Acronyms are simple code expansions, you can type a couple of characters and then hit Ctrl+` and it will fill out the entire word. It kind of like a micro-code snippet but it is much easier to use than the built in code snippets in Visual Studio. An example aliases is "cxn" which will expand into SqlConnection. This isn’t a ground-breaking feature but it can be very useful, especially since it is easy to create additional aliases:
Aliases are basically the same idea, but they work inside of the Open File dialog. For instance you can type up in the open file dialog and then Ctrl+Space and it will fill in the path to your user profile. This is much better than typing out "C:\Documents and Settings\James Avery" or hunting through the file system with your mouse. You can also set your own if you have common paths you constantly have to navigate to.
A couple years back I took a pass at writing an add-in to evaluate regular expressions, but it has fallen by the wayside. I am glad I didn’t put too much time into it because the Editing Toolbox provides a slick Regex Evaluator. Not only can you test your regular expressions but you can also search RegExLib.com. It also includes a nice quick reference to common regular expressions and a way to save frequently used regular expressions in your own library:
These are just two of the features I enjoy, the editing toolbox includes much more:
- Quick Profiling – A way to use trace statements to perform quick code profiling, useful for loops and small profiling jobs but not a replacement for a full featured trace tool.
- Code Navigation – Quickly jump to symbol definitions and uses.
- Comments – The add-in makes it easy to wrap comments, change comments to blocks, and reflow comments.
- Icon Extractor – Makes it easy to pull icons from existing applications.
- Code Annotations – A simple way to store comments, tasks, and bug information without modifying your source file.
- Auto Code Doc Viewer – The Auto Code Doc Viewer generates and lets you quickly view the documentation generated from your inline XML based comments.
Overall I think the add-in is definitely worth the $49 and provides a number of features I haven’t seen in competing add-ins. One of the most pleasant surprises is how solid the add-in is. I have gotten used to many add-ins being unstable and causing the IDE to slow down or crash, I didn’t experience any of this with SlickEdit.
Disclaimer: SlickEdit provided me with a free copy of the add-in and are an advertiser with my advertising network The Lounge.