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Visual Studio 2005 Powertoys, Part 1

Here Ed Tittel describes several Powertoys, which are community-inspired widgets for Visual Studio developers. is a great source for all kinds of .NET and Visual Studio 2005 related code, information, and resources and is worthwhile for developers to get to know in its own right. But it's also the home for Visual Studio Powertoys, a collection of community inspired and developed widgets that developers often find not only interesting and fun, but also occasionally downright helpful and useful in their work.

If you visit the Visual Studio 2005 Core Community Powertoys home page, you'll find pointers to a single pilot project available there -- namely, the HelpTopicOnlineFinder. This handy little widget searches for user-entered help topics online, and is easy to use to determine if online changes to a given help topic have been posted recently. It's something that any application with a built-in help system can benefit from including, and represents the kind of thing that makes a very good Powertoy indeed.

Other links outside the site point to some equally great Powertoys, including the following:

  • Peter Provost's ShellNew extension for Visual Studio Solutions lets developers right click to add a new solution to any folder instead of having to step through the various windows and selections that Visual Studio normally requires.

  • CR_Documenter is based on code that Lutz Roeder developed and Josh Ledgard turned into a Visual Studio 2005 tool window add-in. It lets developers see what XML document components look like when rendered in the form of end-user documentation (Legard's version requires DXCore, a free download from Developer Express, so please grab it if you don't already have it as well).
    More on Powertoys
    Visual Studio 2005 Powertoys, Part 2

  • Visual C++ Powertools is a whole slew of interesting items that Josh Ledgard (who runs the Powertoys site) found on the GotDotNet site itself. These include a directory change monitoring tool (Delta), a server directory finder (FindDir), a dependent module tree diagramming tool (Depends), and a Service Pack Checker (SPCheck) that checks the origin of all kinds of system components, among a whole lot more.

    For many more such goodies, check out the Powertoys Weblog at MSDN. Now that Visual Studio 2005 has been officially released, look some for these Powertoys (and more) to be "officially released" on the MSDN Web site as well. It's a sure-fire way to find great, free code widgets for the Visual Studio .NET environment! Definitely worth spending some time digging into, anyway.

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

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