It is impossible to use Visual C++ 2008’s IDE, as nothing really works there – no IntelliSence, no refactorings, nothing. The same sad story can be told about the Visual Studio’s XAML editor – it just sucks (by the way, you get much better experience by using Visual Studio’s XML editor to edit XAML files). So, finally I got really tired of this, and decided to do something.
I went through quite many packages, and settled down on two – Visual Assist X for Visual Studio by Whole Tomato ($249 retail) and ReSharper by Jetbrains ($349 retail, although Euro price is 315€, weird).
Visual Assist X is super-great for C++. In fact, it is “Visual C++ IDE made right” kind of tool – fixes all problems existing in VS and adding a lot of nice extra goodies that can really improve your productivity: working IntelliSense, refactorings, code outlining and browsing, searching for symbols, code coloring, etc. etc. etc. Some of the abovementioned features are available for C# and VB.NET as well.
ReSharper is doing similar things for C#, VB.NET and XAML, as well as for ASP.NET, XML, MS Build scripts and NAnt. Finally you can browse XAML files and have the ability to quickly jump to referenced resources!
So far so good. These tools can work together on one Visual Studio 2008 setup seemingly without major issues. The only bad thing I have noticed is their “competition” for IntelliSense in C# – both are showing their pop-ups and it is a bit annoying. This problem is not seen in XAML, as VAX is not supporting XAML, and in C++, as ReSharper is not supporting C++. So far I couldn’t resolve this issue, as I do not see any configuration settings that would allow me to switch off IntelliSense for C# in one tool or another. In the end of the day, it is not major issue and I should say these tools work very well together.
I do not understand, why Microsoft cannot do something similar to what these tools are doing straight out of the box? If Microsoft’s team cannot do this on its own (because they are busy developing one more piece of useless fancy marketing crappy feature), then I do not get why they cannot buy e.g. Whole Tomato? If they were ready to waste billions on Yahoo (which would give them what advantage? and please, do not tell me about advertisement business – I do not understand why Microsoft being software house should go to Internet business “just because”), then they should rather spending miniscule fraction of that cost and get real boost for all the developers that use their unfinished tools and technologies (WPF, VS2008, Blend, you name it). Just my 2 cents…
UPDATE The abovementioned issue with conflicting IntelliSense pop-ups can be partially resolved by switching off IntelliSense support in ReSharper (Options… and then Environment > IntelliSense > General page).