Add Reference Search with Visual Studio 2010 Pro Power Tools

My absolute favorite feature of Visual Studio 2010, so far, is the javascript Intellisense support via the <reference> tag. Add the following line to your .js file and you get jQuery Intellisense.

    /// <reference path="/scripts/jquery-1.4.1.js" />

My second favorite feature, so far, was just added with the Visual Studio 2010 Pro Power Tools just released by Microsoft the other day. It is the Add Reference Search feature. Behold…


There are a bunch of very cool features added by this small but powerful extension pack, but not having to scroll through a list of assemblies to find the one I’m looking for is a godsend.

You can read about all the goodies on the download page, but two other honorable mentions are:

Ctrl+Click is now the equivalent of right click and selecting Go to Definition. Booyah!

Ctrl+Alt+] on a selected block of assignments will align the = operator making your code block far more readable.

I highly recommend this extension. Thanks Microsoft!

Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 Missing or Hidden Dialog Controls on VMWare

This is an oddity with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 installed on the a virtual machine that I’ve run into that perhaps one in a hundred other VMWare Workstation users might run into. I’m running VMWare Workstation 6.5.3 on a Windows 7 x64 box with 8GB of RAM. In turn, I’m spinning up a Windows 7 x64 virtual machine with 3GB of RAM and two cores (a primary reason for buying the VMWare license over Virtual PC). And of course, I had 3D graphics acceleration turned on, because who wouldn’t want some acceleration, right?

But here’s what the New Project dialog and other “add” dialogs looked like (note: I’ve reduced the size of these as the nitty gritty details are not as important as the visualization of the controls, here you don’t see them and later you will):


Note the black (or rather dark blue) abyss at the bottom of the dialog. As near as I can tell, the normally light blue section was gone and inaccessible visually. I’m not certain, but I surmised that it was still there as I was able to tab into the darkness and then out of it again.

After trying various Windows 7 video personalization settings, I then tried increasing video memory in the VMX file, but that was a non-starter. Then an odd hunch led me to try this:


Once I saved that 3D graphics setting unchecked and spun up the virtual machine, I noticed two things. First, the virtual machine seemed more responsive. Second, and more importantly, controls were back in sight. This pleasing view is now what I see (minus my crudely drawn red circle of course):


There was a moment when I thought to blame Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 for this anomaly but of course some brief thought and sparing a brain cell or two for reasoning and cognitive function resulted in the conclusion that something with video driver and perhaps Windows 7 or Windows in general or just my machine did not like some video setting. Happily, the 3D graphics checkbox was the first thing I tried to disable on the VMWare settings and shazam, it worked.

If you run VMWare Workstation and have problems with Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 in your virtual machine with missing or invisible controls in certain dialogs and other UI elements, try disabling the 3D graphics option. I still highly recommend VMWare Workstation over Virtual PC, though I must admit that I have not tried Windows Virtual PC in its latest incarnation for Windows 7. The last time I tried it was in the VPC 2007 edition. If you believe the latest version has come up to par with VMWare, I’d love to hear from you.

Dabbleboard and Naked Objects for .NET

I've recently been looking for simpler and more effective tools for collaborating with geographically distributed teams. The first order of business is to find something better than a whiteboard that can be shared amongst multiple users. After some brief searching, I found Dabbleboard at This gem was just recently launched and I'm impressed. The image below was created using the free version of the tool online in just a few minutes. I highly recommend that you give it a try.


The next order of business is to find a better way to prototype a business application that will allow us to define data and business logic in code and sharing that in a prototype that will allow users to interact with the business model without having to build a complex UI prototype and without having to map business objects to the database. While wandering around a site called InfoQ I found through Markin Fowler's blog, I ran into Naked Objects for .NET. I was dubious at first but spend some time watching the videos and wandering around the site. I like what see.

I'm just beginning to use these two tools in a real effort to determine whether they will really make my job and life easier. I am hopeful and impressed with what I've seen so far. The drawing I've created and included in this post illustrates how the Naked Objects technology might be used in what I'm building for my employer. I'm not sure if it represents exactly what will happen in the future but the guys at Dabbleboard have certainly made it easier to envision and to share with my colleagues no matter where they are.