Microsoft has recently announced the line-up of Visual Studio 11 products. And it seems that the next Visual Studio Express edition is going to support only a subset of target platforms – Windows 8 Metro, Windows Phone, Web and Azure. If that’s the case, then you won’t be able to build regular desktop apps (from console to WPF) with the starter edition pack. That’s right, you need to buy a $500 product to create a basic console app. It’s unclear whether the SDK and compiler tools will be freely available or not (that’s how it works now – you install .NET Framework SDK and get a bare C# compiler for free).

Obviously, the community got really disappointed. However, there is a small chance to convince Microsoft that they need to change their licensing policy – you can vote for the new ticket at Visual Studio UserVoice forum (its name is weird and mentions C++ only, should be more generic IMO). It already got more than thousand votes in a few days. Note: while there are a bunch of haters in the comments, you can also find some valid points, like developing the open-source libraries scenarios. So go ahead and express your opinion.

I work at several projects at a time, and I have different settings/requirements concerning the code style for each of them. The main issue is ‘Tabs vs. Spaces’ option – the first project requires using tabs, the second – spaces. It’s obvious that going Tools -> Settings -> … is not an option for everyday use. Sounds like a good task for the automation macros, right?

  1. Navigate to Tools -> Macros -> Macros IDE (or use Alt+F11)
  2. Create new macros in Project Explorer (Project – Add Module)
  3. Write a method that changes the indentation settings:
Public Module TabsModule
    Public Sub ToggleTabs()
        Dim currentSetting As Boolean = DTE.Properties("TextEditor", "CSharp").Item("InsertTabs").Value
        DTE.Properties("TextEditor", "CSharp").Item("InsertTabs").Value = Not currentSetting
    End Sub
End Module

Now you can use Macros Explorer (Alt+F8, also you can dock it as one of your panels) to quickly change settings (by double-clicking on the corresponding item name in the macros tree)

Macros Explorer displaying the created macros