Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Microsoft Web Essentials: a must have Visual Studio Extension for every web developer

With the release of Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft also updated some of their Visual Studio extensions. One of the extensions I like a lot are the Web Essentials tools and although the live of a web developer becomes a lot easier in Visual Studio 2012, there are still some missing features. Web Essentials 2012 tries to fill this gap.

So what’s new in this version?

  • Option dialog: Now it becomes possible to set the most important options through this dialog.
  • JSHint for JavaScript: JSHint is a really good way of making sure your JavaScript follows certain coding guidelines and best practices.
  • Better LESS and CoffeeScript: The LESS editor has been updated to truly take advantage of LESS. This includes:
    • Support for @import directives
    • Intellisense across imported .less files for Mixins and variables
    • All the validation from the CSS editor now shows up in LESS
    • Both CoffeeScript and LESS now uses the official compilers
    • Compiles and creates a .css/.js file when a LESS/CoffeeScript file is saved in VS
  • JavaScript regions: I’m not big fan of regions, but if you are a believer; Javascript regions is now also a part of the 2012 version
  • Re-embed base64 dataURIs:  allows you to keep your base64 dataURI’s up-to-date with the original image file as it changes.
  • Vendor help for @-directives: Vendor specific validation and Smart Tags are now also available for @-directives.
  • New performance validation: Three new validators have been added that analyses the CSS for general performance issues. They validation the following:
    • Small images should be inlined (base64 embedded)
    • Don’t use the universal selector (the star)
    • Don’t over qualify ID selectors

Of course the list of new features, bug fixes,… is a lot longer, have a look at Mads Kristensen blog for all the info.

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