Visual Studio Add-Ins: CodeRush

Every so often a software package comes along that drastically changes your life. Makes it easier, makes you more productive, and is fun to use. For me, that product was CodeRush.

CodeRush is a code authoring tool that works with both the 2003 and 2005 versions of Visual Studio .Net. Note I say code authoring, not code generating. With a code generator, you give it some input and it whirs and grinds and boom out comes a big hunk of code.

CodeRush on the other hand helps while you are writing code. For example, let’s do something like a C# switch statement. First, let’s see we have a parameter passed in named Switcher. I’ll set a local variable to it:

      int localSwitch = Switcher;

Next, I’ll copy the localSwitch variable to the clipboard. Now I’ll type in the word switch, and hit space. When I do, this is what you’ll see:

      switch (localSwitch)

      {

        case 0:

 

          break;

      }

CodeRush made the assumption since I had a variable already in the clipboard, that’s probably what I wanted to switch on. It then constructed the basic swich for me, including braces, my break and what you see above. It also placed my cursor right on the L in localSwitch with the variable highlighted, so that if it’s not what I wanted all I have to do is start typing.

That’s just one example, CodeRush has hundreds of built in templates that will make your coding faster. In addition, when you buy CodeRush you also get it’s sister product RefactorPro. RefactorPro makes that critical refactoring stage of development so much nicer.

Let’s take a tiny example. Suppose you need to change the order in which two parameters occur in a method. Not only will RefactorPro simply let you drag one parameter in front of the other, it will then search through your code and automatically update all references to the method for you.

There are way more features then I could cover in a single, or even a week’s worth of blog posts. Instead, I want you to go look at their training videos, which you will find here:

http://www.devexpress.com/Products/NET/IDETools/CodeRush/training.xml

or http://shrinkster.com/jx0

There’s no charge to watch, no special software, and they’ll give you a great idea on what CodeRush and RefactorPro can do for you.

For a complete product overview you can visit:

http://www.devexpress.com/Products/NET/IDETools/CodeRush/Index.xml

or http://shrinkster.com/jwz

If you asked me what could I name that was negative about the product, about the only thing I could point to is the price. At $250 (US) it’s not cheap. However this product has saved me so many hours it’s well worth the money. If you work for even a small company it shouldn’t be a great effort to get them to cover the cost.

If you asked me what the best thing was, I’d say the support. Developer Express runs it’s own news server, and the developers are right in there as often as they can, answering questions, and asking the users what features they want in the next release. I’ve never seen any company provide the level of support DevExpress does with this product.

The best part of all this is you can discover CodeRush for yourself, for free. You can look at the training videos and newsgroups, then download an evaluation version which you can run with no restrictions (it’s not crippleware). Last I checked they asked you to send an e-mail to their support staff and they’d send you the details.

CodeRush is a great tool that I can’t recommend enough. It has made me so much more productive, and with a minimal amount of effort I think you will be to.

Standard disclaimer, I don’t work for DevExpress, make no money off sales, or receive any compensation what so ever, I just think it’s a cool developer tool!

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