Creating Item Templates in Visual Studio 2017

Many times when you are adding a new item to a project you probably find yourself changing the generated item to line up with your coding or company styles. Often this includes a copyright, perhaps the ordering of members in a type or even completely replacing the item with something else, like an enum. Visual Studio is designed to be extensible. Item templates allow you to create your own templates and have them available in VS so you don’t have to keep making the same changes over and over again. In VS 2017 templates are even easier to create than before. I will discuss how easy it is to add new templates in this article.

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DbLimitExpression Exception

Recently I was writing some code for one of my personal projects and I ran across this error in the first Entity Framework call I made – System.ArgumentException ‘DbLimitExpression’ requires a collection argument. Haven’t seen that one before. For anyone running into this issue here’s how I figured it out.

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Office 2016: Selective Installation

A while back I posted about the Office 2016 release and why I wasn’t going to run it. One of the biggest complaints I had was the fact that there were no setup options. It installs everything whether you use it or not. Fortunately that has now changed, sort of. This post is discussing the steps you can take to install only the apps you want to install. It still is not perfect, it still makes no sense whatsoever and it still doesn’t make me want to recommend Office 2016. But at least I can now run it without all the wasted space.

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Writing a Context Provider for CodeRush for Roslyn

Several years ago I wrote an article about creating a custom context provider for CodeRush. In that time CodeRush Classic, as it is called, has been replaced by CodeRush for Roslyn which relies on Roslyn. Now seems like a good time to update the provider. Rather than having to read both articles I’m going to repost the old article with updated changes for Roslyn. The code is semantically similar but had to be rewritten to use Roslyn.

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Generating _PublishedWebsites in TFBuild

We have slowly been migrating our XAML builds to TFBuild. After having blogged about how we created custom build tasks we were finally ready to start transitions our builds. At our company we have basically 3 different kinds of builds – ASP.NET apps, console applications and REST APIs. Using XAML builds our deployment process was configured to look for the _PublishedWebsites directory for ASP.NET apps but that doesn’t get created in TFBuild. Hence I spent some time looking for a solution.

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Create a Build Task for TFBuild, Part 2

In the last post I demonstrated how to create a build task for TFBuild that showed the build variables. I also demonstrated how to wrap the task in a build extension that could be installed in TFS, on-premise. In this post we’ll add another task to the extension. This serves two purposes. Firstly it demonstrates hosting multiple tasks in a single extension. Secondly it demonstrates a more common build task, versioning assemblies.

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Custom Naming Styles in Visual Studio 2017

One of the great new features in Visual Studio 2017 is the ability to define naming rules for code and then let the IDE notify you when they are violated. Depending upon what options you choose the IDE can suggestion, warn or flat out fail compilation because of violations. In this release the options are limited but since the rules are using Roslyn, the options can only improve in later releases.

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Identifying Slowdown in Visual Studio 15 Preview 5

As Visual Studio has become more extensible there are more and more extensions that developers like to install. Unfortunately not all of them are well behaved. The more extensions you install the more likely VS will crash or slow down. When this happens most people tend to go to the forums and complain about VS bugs and/or performance. Yet the culprit is likely an extension. Up until VS 15 preview 5 there has been no easy way to diagnose this. Generally, when responding to a forum post, a user is recommended to run in safe mode to eliminate the chance that it is an extension. But doing this doesn’t really help narrow down the problem that much because: 1) the problem may not occur very often and 2) many extensions are critical to doing real development.

In VS 15 Microsoft has finally added some performance monitoring to VS. VS has had perf monitoring for a while but none of that was visible to the average user. In VS 15 you can now go to Help\Manage Visual Studio Performance and get a window that provides some basic information about extensions and tool windows, the two most likely causes of a slowdown. This window allows you to see if an extension or window is slowing things down. If so then you can disable it and report the issue to the author. Hopefully this will cut down on forum posts but we’ll have to see how this feature evolves until release.