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CodeSMART G2 for Visual Studio: A product Review
by Phil Eakins | Published  05/06/2006 | Software Reviews | Rating:

Whilst Developing

When typing code there are two helpers  both configurable - an AutoText Manager which completes a command sequence from a  short cut entry (ie mb will provide a MessageBox.Show skeleton) and a SmartComplete function which will attempt to complete a keyword/code block whilst typing.

This is the AutoText Manager:

Standard comments are not ignored and an editor is supplied along with a selection to start with, ie type headers and 'embrace' comments (Created by ...., Modified by ...., etc). Microsoft naming standards are supported and applied although they are fully editable through the Naming Standards Manager.

Copying and retention of code snippets on a personal (and, apparently, a team wide) basis is supported, code copying is via the clipboard but code can be created and edited directly into the Snippet Manager and is easily saved in and retrieved from a user modifiable filing system. Specimen code snippets are provided for VB, C# and C++. The filing system is also defined for, but not confined to, HTML, SQL and XML.

So, now a gripe!

I prefer to code with liberal sprinklings of the 'Me' keyword. SmartComplete assumes that I want a MessageBox and hitting the full stop (period) key completes the insertion. The SmartComplete Manager does not help, I could disable the 'MessageBox' insertion as a whole but not control what inserts it. I eventually found the answer in the AutoText section of the CodeSmart Control Panel where there is an impressive list of AutoText triggers, including a period. So, uncheck the period trigger. No difference! I had to disable the whole MessageBox insertion through the SmartComplete Manager to cure the problem. Having said that, SmartComplete is a very useful tool in that it will insert block templates as well as completing individual keywords, and is fully configurable/editable so that new entries can be added and redundant (ie VB.OLD) ones disabled or altered.

Setting the main properties of WinForm controls is made a lot easier with the NewControl manager, just fill in the details and the job's done. The manager can use the correct naming conventions, and, as can be seen, will take the name from text input, or vice versa, or even not. A very useful Designer Explorer with which to drill down into controls already on a form and to change their properties compliments this.

Having created forms and controls, their 'vital statistics' , ie type, name, text and tab index are available as a tooltip style popup when hovering the cursor over the form/control, so no forgetting what you called it! A bit of a bugbear is that this tooltip will pop over menus and system windows (ie Task List or ToolBox) where they expand into the design pane, and thus (and very annoyingly) obscuring them. This cannot be corrected so far as I can see, although the 'feature' can be turned off.

There is a Word style spell checker, US English by default, a further dictionary pack can be downloaded as a self installing .exe file which contains UK English and a further 9 European languages. Once checked, double clicking on an offered misspelling will go directly to the offending line.

There are templates for properties (with member variables) subs, functions, classes and methods (ie constructors and destructors) and a 'Common Object Operations' option that will insert a number of methods, including the ultimate deep clone method to which I referred in my Copying and Cloning article.

Management of code is taken care of with two tools, the Code Flow Explorer and the Code Explorer (which expands the VS Solution Explorer), both of which dockable and will go directly to a code block or line when double clicked.

I could go on (and on) as there is so much to explore and I keep finding new things, but I really must bring this to a close. So now to the…

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