Visual Studio 2005 Powertoys, Part 2

Ed Tittel revisits Powertoys, the community-inspired widgets that are both fun and useful to Visual Studio 2005 developers.

Last December, I wrote another Visual Studio 2005 tip that introduced the subject of Powertoys for that platform. In the meantime, the developer community hasn't been idle by any means. In fact, a return trip to the GotDotNet Developer Powertoys Site will turn up numerous additions to the collection of original items I documented last year.

Read on for an abbreviated listing of some of the items you can find alongside a complete, annotated inventory of the original Powertoys for Visual Studio .NET 2003 (one item I've already covered that you'll find there is the CR Documenter, so I'll skip it in this go-round). As always, you can visit the Powertoys Weblog for a complete listing of all the items posted to the Microsoft Developer Network site.

Of the many tools you'll find at the blog site, here's a subset that you might find particularly interesting:

  • Consolas is a new font designed for the Visual Studio 2005 editor, intended for use in programming environments or other places where a monospaced font is needed. This font has been optimized for ClearType so that it is more comfortable to read on a PC display, especially for large amounts of text.
    More on Visual Studio 2005 add-ins

    New Visual Studio release means new Powertoys

    CodePlex: A Microsoft way of sharing code

  • Puretext 2.0 is a utility that removes MS Word formatting from text before pasting it into Visual Studio or other applications. It's a much faster and cleaner text santizer than the tried-and-true method of cutting and pasting text into Notepad to degunk the unwanted formatting codes.

  • A set of Powertoys for Visual Studio from the developer solutions team that includes MsBee, an addition to MSBuild that allows users to build managed apps in VS 2005 that target the .NET 1.1 Framework. It also includes the Managed Stack Explorer, a compact tool that lets you monitor .NET 2.0 processes and stack traces, as well as the TFS Administration tool which lets you manage users on TFS, SharePoint, and SQL RS through a single common user interface.

  • HelpStudio Lite, lifted from the VS 2005 SDK, which provides a free, lightweight versoin of Innovasys full-blown HelpStudio product. It's recommended for those who extend Visual Studio 2005 by creating packages, controls, or add-ins, and enables developers to create and include Help content as part of those extensions. HelpStudio light is an authoring environment that can also compile help files to the hxs format, for easy integration with VS 2005.

  • The Treemap Visual View of hard disk contents makes it easy to see what's out there on your drive, and to organize or delete drive contents. Definitely worth checking out!

    I could go on and on in this vein, but you should have a pretty good idea that you're onto a source of free potential goodies for your Visual Studio 2005 environment. Start browsing and grab whatever looks good to you.

    Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail etittel@techtarget.com with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!

  • This was first published in June 2006

    Dig deeper on .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 development

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