By Andrew Sutton
Express currently have v1.1.4 of CodeRush available for download. Currently CodeRush costs around $250 and there is a 60 days money
back guarantee. There is a fully functional evaluation download available from
the CodeRush Download Page. This
appears to be fully functional until a set date when some of the features are
deactivated. CodeRush is one of those products that
is categorised under the generic title of productivity tools. It comes as a
Visual Studio (VS) add-in and installs many new features into VS. It works for
both C# and VB.NET.
The download was just over 6MB. I
was able to register as a user of CodeRush as a Microsoft
VB MVP. I had to register an
email address and I received a login ID and password. As a registered user I
could download CodeRush using Developer Express’s MyDevExpress download web application. The installation
took less than 5 minutes. I opted to update both my 2002 & 2003 VS
installations. The installation detected that I had 2003 open and prompted me
to close it.
When I fired VS up for the first
time after the installation there was a new menu called devExpress available on the menu bar of
CodeRush is configured via the devExpress, Options
screen. There are three modes you can run CodeRush
in, New User, Advanced and
Expert. The difference is that certain options are
hidden from you in the more basic modes. I’d advise you start off in New User
mode, just until you get a feel for the product.
features are created as Plug-Ins. It is possible to create your own Plug-Ins
that add to CodeRush’s
feature list. Some CodeRush plug-ins are listed on the CodeRush Community web page.
There are a far too many features CodeRush has to offer to list them all this review so I
will highlight a few of my favourites.
- Regions. You can colour code collapsed and expanded regions. This
makes it much easy to quickly identify which code is expanded and
- Flow Break Icons. These are icons that appear at the end of lines that contain
flow break key words like Exit For, Return etc. When you click on the icon a circle
appears in the code window that shrinks to a point centred on the next
line that will be executed.
- Structural Highlighting. This displays vertical lines in the code window that match up
code blocks. E.g. If .. Else .. End If. Especially useful when a code
block takes up more room than can be displayed on the screen at once. You
can configure the colour of the line for each type of code block.
Advanced Selection Tools
- Select Embedding. This feature
provides an extra entry, when you right click on a selection in the code
window, called Embed Selection. This brings
up a sub menu with a list of options for embedding code around the
highlighting code. It comes with configured entries for things like Try..Catch,
but you can also add your own entries.
- Markers. Markers are similar to Bookmarks but work in a slightly
different way. Markers are stack based which means you always navigate
back to the last marker added. Markers can also be placed at row, column
Templates are a way of associating
key press shortcuts to insert code into the code window. There are many
pre-generated templates that come with CodeRush. The
template insertion is activated by a shortcut activation key. The default
shortcut activation key is the SPACE BAR. E.g. pressing c<SPACE BAR>
activates the class and constructor template which
inserts the following code at the cursor:
Public Sub New()
The main problem with templates is
remembering all the shortcut codes.
You can, of course, also create
your own templates.
CodeRush has many features that really do enhance your productivity with VS.
The help that comes with CodeRush is pretty
comprehensive and has, so far, enabled me to solve most of my queries. There
are CodeRush Newsgroups available for posting questions on
and these I have found to be very responsive.
My initial reaction is to give CodeRush 4/5 although I might well have to re-evaluate this
upwards once I really get to grips with all the functionality. One of CodeRush’s problems is that there are so many options it is
a little daunting to use it to start with.
I shall certainly be using it as a
default VS add-in for the time being and I look forward to seeing how I get on
with it in the next few weeks.