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Thomas Althammer posted on September 05, 2011 17:26

One thing I am missing in many development environments is good code navigation. Most IDEs have a class browser and combo boxes to help you find item instances and member implementations. But I am often missing the big picture of the file or section I am working on. I am looking for a convenient yet compact overall code overview.

SQLWindows has the Outline which represents a hierarchical structure of a project. I looked around and found a cool alternative for Visual Studio a while ago, called Source Outliner (see The Outline is Back). That's pretty cool and darn helpful to get around.

But my programming life has become even better, thanks to Michael Kiss from AxTools. He is the author of VS10x Code Map, a Visual Studio 2010 extension that displays a graphical nested representation of the current code editor window. See this:


VS10x Code Map - Code Visualization for C# and VB

Isn't that cool? Nested types are put into expandable sections and marked by different colors. You can see distinctive icons with overlays and simply click around while the left view is synced with the code editor window. 

The speed is amazing and it provides a fantastic overview. It is very easy to understand complex code structures and navigating around becomes real fun. Plus, there are more goodies inside: favorite items can be highlighted, a persistant history is provided and you can quickly access code parts by named bookmarks or filtering.

It is simply amazing how much you can do in the .NET world, by just adding another tool from CodePlex. Check it out: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/1c54d1bd-d898-4705-903f-fa4a319b50f2


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