In reference to my previous post ‘Whole Tomato Visual Assist X Review’. Just a few short days after I posted my review, I was contacted by Whole Tomato’s Director of Marketing to discuss what I had written. Kevin was kind enough to spend his time going over the points I made to get a better understanding of the issues I found. Before the call ended, he asked if I would be willing to work with their team and go over some of the features I discussed in my post with the intent of helping them to make their product better for .NET developers. Of course I agreed.

I received an email from Kevin with an outline of features that he would like me to reevaluate and was kind enough to provide me with a license. I appreciate the gesture and I will be more than happy to review the specific points he sent to me.

There have been two releases since I spoke with Kevin about my post. There are a lot of bug fixes but I don’t see anything specific to the issues I pointed out (maybe next release?). However, here are the following points that Kevin has given as to why Visual Assist X is a great tool for .NET developers.

Here is a (possibly incomplete) list of reasons a .NET developer would find Visual Assist X useful with Visual Studio 2010 (as you point out, there are even more reasons to use our software with earlier versions of Visual Studio, such as automatically highlighting references to the symbol at the text caret.)  As you also correctly observed, C/C++ users will find even more reasons than these to use Visual Assist X, but I have limited the scope of the list to those that I think .NET developers would find interesting.  I have omitted a few points you already discussed in your article.

Enhanced syntax coloring:
Although you found this feature annoying (and admittedly, there have been some quirks with dark color schemes), many of our users love this feature, as they can quickly scan code to see where other methods are called.  Additionally, our ability to italicize stable code allows a developer to see what code is inherited in a class vs. new code defined in the class, and the ability to display local variables in bold differentiates between class variables and local variables.

VA Snippets: 
The Visual Studio 2010 Snippet manager does not allow you to create or edit snippets. You may only import snippets you’ve created externally in a text editor.  Our
powerful and simple-to-use VA Snippets are easy to create and edit.  You can include reserved strings which are expanded with environment variables, date/time, symbol context, etc.  See http://www.wholetomato.com/products/features/vasnippets.asp for the full list.  Your article incorrectly states that an entire line must be selected to use “surround with”.  To see a correct example, highlight some text in an .asp/.aspx./.html file and click the Insert VA Snippet toolbar button (which looks like {}-> ), then choose “anchor (selected)”.

Comment selection:
Highlight a portion of text and press the * key to get /* */ comments in C#.  Press / to get // comments.  Native Visual Studio always inserts //, even when you have an inline selection that should get /* */.

Open File in Solution:
type a substring of a file in your solution and quickly locate it, no matter where it is in the file structure.

Find Symbol in Solution:
type a substring of a symbol in your solution and quickly locate its definition.

Enhanced listboxes: 
Filter IntelliSense listboxes by member classification (such as method, property, event) and by visibility (public, private, protected).  Bold non-inherited items to see code this class implements vs. inherited code.  Show non-inherited items first in the list.  Shrink the list as you type.  Control these options via VA Options | Advanced | Listboxes.

Improved Find References:
Highlight color shows where a variable may be modified (lvalue) or where it is read only (rvalue).

Smart Suggestions:
Specific code suggestions triggered by a symbol’s type.  For instance, when calling a method, suggest local variables matching the type of the method’s parameters as arguments to the method.

Hovering class browser (located on the VA View panel): 
See information about a class simply by hovering over an instance of the class.

VA Outline:
Navigate a file quickly at a bird’s-eye level. Reorder code by dragging and dropping in the outline. Refactor by right-clicking.

VA Navigation bar and List Methods in File:
quickly see the surrounding context in deeply nested constructs (e.g. myclass.foo.if.if.while).  Press Alt+M or expand the dropdown to see all methods in the file.

Open Corresponding File (Alt+O):
quickly switch between designer and code-behind files.

Spell check

If nothing else, this is an example of a company caring about its products and its customers. Find the latest release of Visual Assist X by visiting Whole Tomato

I’m going to take some time and work through a few projects using the features pointed out just to make sure I give it enough effort to be fair in my review. Stay tuned.

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