Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Visual Studio Tip: From comment to task

We all know that Visual Studio allows us to write comments in our code(it would be strange if this wasn’t possible). But you may or may not know that if your comments startwith a certain keyword (token), they become Task items. The standard one is the TODO comment, like the following.

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This produces an item in the Task List, which can be used to remind oneself of what to do. This is powerful in keeping the developer on-task for what has to be done while allowing him/her to focus on a train of thought by pushing “details” into comments. When it’s time to get back to that TODO item, all one has to do is find it in the Task List and double-click it, which will jump you straight to the line of code for the task. Once you’re finished the task, all you have to do is delete the comment, and it’s removed from your Task List.

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What makes this even greater: it’s possible to add your own comment/task list tokens! For example, because I’m a strong believer in the power of code reviews , I could add a token called “TOREVIEW”. That way, I can be reminded later on that I wanted to let a colleague have a look at my code.

To add a new token go to Tools –> Options. Choose Task List from the Environment node. Type the name you want to add in the Name textbox on the right, the Add button will become enabled. Click Add to add the token to the list.

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