I have now used the application in anger for a couple of months. Am I impressed? Do bears use the facilities behind the bushes in the woods?
This isn’t a ‘Wow’ experience and a flashy bit of kit you’d use once, twice and forget – it’s software that integrates into the background, always there and always available. However, it will change the way you work, if, like me, you’re not a touch typist. You really do need to keep an eye, or preferably two, on the screen.
Several of the functions are ‘added value’ versions of Visual Studio’s (ie extended find and replace, outline manager functions and block commenting) and most of its functions simply automate what can be done with two fingers and a keyboard. There’s more to it though and there needs to be to justify the price tag (see below).
There is a comprehensive help system and, although I haven’t used it, there is on-line support promised to registered users.
It must be said that, in view of the fairly hefty price tag of 249 USD (142 GBP) for a single user licence, going up to 2599 USD (1485 GBP) for an unlimited world-wide site licence, this software is not primarily aimed at the casual programmer or cash strapped student. However, coding shops of whatever size really should take a close look at it.
An evaluation copy can be obtained from AxTools on request through their web site, but in view of the take-up VB/C# 2005, could they be persuaded toward a single user ‘Visual Studio Community Edition’ though?
If I can add a couple of personal wish list items, there are places (ie the Insert New Class Manager) where the ability to browse for existing classes or functions would have been very useful. Secondly, it would be nice to have the methods, properties or whatever inserted through the relevant manager, at the cursor position rather than at the end of the class even though I can 'Sort' these afterwards into a more correct position.
There are problems, I’ve mentioned those I’ve come across and there may well be more I haven’t yet found, but do I recommend it? Yes!
I must add here that I have no connection directly or indirectly with AxTools nor have they sought to influence what I have written. I am not being rewarded in any way for writing this (other than with a copy of the software kindly supplied for these purposes).