Review: CodeRush 1.1.1 with Refactor!

CodeRush for Visual Studio .NET 1.1.1
Developer Express
Las Vegas, Nevada
(702) 262-0609

CodeRush exists for a single purpose: to make you more productive in Visual Studio .NET. The product won't be for everyone, but if you're the sort of developer who prefers to use the keyboard for everything, you'll probably find it a wonderful assistant. At the root of CodeRush is a template system that expands keystrokes into code. For example, type ms within a C# class module (but outside of any existing member; CodeRush is very context-sensitive), hit the space bar, and you get:

public string MethodName()

With MethodName highlighted so you can just keep typing the name of your method. It also drops an anchor between the curly braces; click Escape and you jump there, ready to start on the method body. Want a property instead? Type ps, hit space, and you get:

private string propertyName;
public string PropertyName
		return propertyName;
		propertyName = value;

The PropertyName is highlighted, and as you change it, the other three occurences change to match. This one comes with two anchors, which you can collect from the stack one at a time to fill in both the get and the set.

There is much, much, much more here. You get smart cut and paste that knows what to do with code blocks. You get amazing video game graphics that clue you in whenever CodeRush does something to your code, as well as some other times: click the little icon it puts after a break in logic and you get an animated arrow showing you where the program flow goes next. You get easy searching for members in scope. You get visual indications of which if matches which else. You get icons for visibility, with two clicks to change from, say, private to protected internal.

All of this is fearsomely customizable; you can control which templates do what, which context they're activated in, what the shortcuts are, and even create your own. There's a floating tool window to remind you what your choices are as you dig in to start learning the overwhelming richness that's already there; some of the templates that ship with the product cover serialization, control structures, and namespaces (type isdsc plus space and get Imports System.Data.SqlClient - it knows about every standard namespace).

And now they're testing a refactoring piece which, like the rest of CodeRush, works with both VB and C#. Developer Express subscribers can already download a copy; otherwise you can read about it at It is very fun to watch the parameters to a method actually animate around the page as you reorder them, and it looks like this will be a useful tool as well.

You can download an evaluation copy from the Developer Express Web site. If you're doing heavy Visual Studio .NET work, it's certainly worth a look to see if it fits your development style.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.



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