CodeRush Xpress for Visual Studio 2008 version 3.2.1 cheat sheet
06/18/2009, Phil Gilmore
I've been a CodeRush fan since I bought my first copy from Eagle Software for Delphi many years ago. I recently downloaded CodeRush Xpress for Visual Studio 2008, version 3.2.1. I have constructed a cheat sheet for it which is available for download on this server. In addition to publishing the cheat sheet, I thought I'd write a small review of the product.
I'm busy these days so I didn't get a chance to get cozy with it right away. That's a point I want to make. I installed it but was able to work with it present but without it causing me any problems. Most other add-in packages require immediate attention just to tone down the overbearing features that don't work the way you want them to and hinder your productivity. CodeRush Xpress did not do that. In fact, I didn't find a place where CRXP could be configured at all. I had to go to the help file to figure out how to use it. This wasn't inconvenient, but the fact that it didn't clutter up my Visual Studio menu was a pleasant surprise.
The help file was very well constructed. Everything was grouped intuitively, every topic was covered, easy to find, easy to browse, and very succinct. "To do this, press these keys, this is what you'll see" is the flow. And every feature where applicable has a screen shot. Very nice. A+ on the documentation.
After reading the help file, I knew I would need to build a cheat sheet to remember all the hot keys, as most of the features are hot-key driven. Many are available in the context menu, but I'm a keyboard guy anyway.
So I've created the cheat sheet and was further surprised by how often I was using these features. CRXP is the free version with fewer features than its commercial sibling, but very functional, aesthetically impressive and with unprecedented usefulness.
I do have one small complaint about the product. It creates a lot of files for itself in the source folder for each of your products. You can safely delete them, but they sure clutter up your source control tools. They appear to be cache files (among other things) so it's probably best to leave them where they lie if possible. I'm using Subversion, so I can easily add an Ignore flag on the root folder and the problem is solved. Other systems may not be so tolerant. These files seem to be project specific, so there may not be a better alternative.
Here is a screen shot of the pocket reference cheat sheet. The standard cheat sheet contains additional comments about each feature and is larger. Both fit on a single printed letter-size page (the pocket reference can printed and be trimmed to just over a quarter of a letter-size page).
With that, I leave you with a recommendation that you download, install, learn and use the product, and a short wish list for the talented folks at Developer Express:
- Remove DX* files when issuing a CLEAN SOLUTION operation.
- Regular expression support in the class nav and file nav dialogs, especially ^ and $ anchors.
- The quicknav has a popup tooltip window with details about the item under the mouse cursor. I'm a keyboard guy. It would be nice if the arrow keys could invoke this tooltip window as well.
- Drop marker. I was very disappointed to see that this feature was withheld in the Xpress edition.
- A "Clear All Markers" feature. I often hit escape too many times while clearing intellisense windows and find myself jumping around unexpectedly through the code to page markers I didn't know were there (dropped by the file nav feature).
- An "About" dialog (or node in the options tree) to tell me which version I have installed.
- Update the documents to tell me about the configuration dialogs!
- More granular breaking points in Increase and Decrease Selection. For example, I should always be able to click on a symbol, increase selection and highlight just that symbol. If that symbol is a method parameter, selection immediately includes the entire parameter declaration, including the type. It does not select Just the current symbol.
Addendum: I have revised my wish list somewhat. I had not discovered that the context menu in the QuickNav and FileNav dialogs had a link to open the Options window. Here, you can configure many things, including markers and shortcut keys. Since then, I have removed the configurable shortcut keys feature request.
You can download CodeRush Xpress 3.2.1 for Visual Studio 2008 here:
You can download my CodeRush Xpress 3.2.1 cheat sheets here: