Configuring IDE Options
Spending a lot of time customizing the IDE has never borne much fruit. Generally, barring a few specific changes, the default settings for the IDE work reasonably well. When you identify a specific need, look it up and make the change.
In this section, I will briefly cover configuration options and point out a few interesting ones. Later in the book, if we need a specific setting, I will tell you about it and how to modify it.
All configuration settings discussed in this section refer to the values in the Options dialog box. The Options dialog box uses the folder metaphor for navigating views.
The Environment options contain general configuration and IDE settings organized by the following subviews: General, Documents, Dynamic Help, Fonts and Colors, Help, International Settings, Keyboard, Project and Solutions, Task List, and Web Browser.
Many of these configuration items are options that you can set once and forget. A few interesting General options include the At Startup combo box on the General tab. You can instruct the IDE to start up showing the start page, the last loaded solution, the Open Project dialog box, New Project dialog box, or an empty environment each time you start Visual Studio. Selecting the Show New Project dialog box at startup provides the behavior most similar to the default VB6 behavior.
From the earlier section on TODO Comments and the Task List, you know that you can add comment tokens in the Task List subview. Comment tokens, like TODO, instruct the IDE to add that item as a task to the Task List.
You may also find it useful on occasion to modify your Internet Explorer options while developing in .NET. From the Web Browser subview, click the Internet Explorer Options button to open the same configuration dialog box displayed when you select Tools, Options in Internet Explorer.
Source Control Options
The Source Control folder contains General and SCC Provider subviews. This tab contains information about the source control you are using. For example, if you are using Visual SourceSafe 6, this view will contain login information and describe source control- related behaviors relative to Visual Studio.
If you choose Options, Source Control, General, and then select Get Everything When a Solution Is Opened, this setting ensures that you have current files from source control. Selecting Check In Everything When Closing a Solution will ensure that source control is updated with your latest changes.
Text Editor Options
The Text Editor folder contains several subviews, many of them language-specific. Select the Basic subview to turn on automatic word wrapping and reference line numbers in your code.
When Word Wrap is checked, any text that exceeds the virtual edge of the page represented by the screen real estate available to the code editor is automatically wrapped. You won't need to add the line continuation character for code, and you won't need to add a remark token for wrapped comments.
Windows Forms Designer Options
The Windows Forms Designer page has options for the number of pixels between dots shown on a form at design time, Show Grid, and the Snap to Grid option, checked by default.
GridSize indicates the pixel spacing between dots on designers if the Show Grid option is True. Snap to Grid indicates whether the designer should move controls to the nearest grid position or not.
Visual Studio Analyzeravailable in the Enterprise Editionprovides users with a visual view of distributed, multitier applications. Analyzer is a profiler, as well, helping you find and resolve performance bottlenecks and find out what is going on inside and outside of your application. The Analyzer view allows you to configure options related to Visual Studio Analyzer.
Database Tools Options
The Database Tools view allows you to configure general options for the Database Designer as well as specific options for SQL Server and Oracle.
The Debugging options contain general information for managing integrated debugger behavior.
In the Debugging, General subview, the Use IntelliSense to Verify Breakpoints option is checked. This feature ensures that breakpoints are valid. If a break is invalid, the IDE places a question mark inside a red dot in the left margin and adds an item indicating there is a problem in the Task List.
The General view also contains a Confirm Correct File Was Found When Finding Source option. This option is unchecked by default. If checked, it will display a dialog box asking you to confirm that the correct source file was found when debugging.
The Debugging, Edit, and Continue subview has several options all checked by default. The Enable Edit and Continue option is designed to allow you to modify code while debugging and continue debugging after you have modified the code; unfortunately this feature is currently only available in Visual C++.
HTML Designer Options
HTML Designer options contain choices indicating which view you want the Designer to open in, Code or Design view, and horizontal spacing and grid settings.
The Projects subview contains configuration options related to Visual C++ for the most part. You can, however, access your Internet Connection Settings from the Web Settings subview.
XML Designer Options
The Schema Designer view contains one setting. You can elect whether to start the schema pages in schema or XML view.