Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
Illustration by Richard Downs

Using IntelliSense effectively


Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

with Walt Ritscher

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Video: Using IntelliSense effectively

IntelliSense is one the most helpful features I can think of within Visual Studio. When you are writing code, it gives you instant, automatic, context-aware help. I really can't imagine working without its helpful suggestions. There are some IntelliSense features that are powerful but less intuitive, however. In this movie, I will illustrate the countless ways in which IntelliSense helps you write your code. To show you IntelliSense, I have to have a code window open. So I'm going to go into Visual Studio and open this UsingIntellisense project, and I'm going to open this Programs.cs file.
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  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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Watch the Online Video Course Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
8h 9m Intermediate Nov 16, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training, author Walt Ritscher demonstrates how to use Visual Studio 2010 Professional to develop full-featured applications targeting a variety of platforms. Starting with an overview of the integrated developer environment, the course covers working with code editors, navigating and formatting code, and deploying applications. Also included are tutorials on running performance and load tests, and debugging code. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating a Visual Studio project
  • Building the user interface
  • Binding to an RSS feed
  • Coding with IntelliSense
  • Creating rich Internet applications with Silverlight
  • Building Windows applications with Windows Forms
  • Integrating with SQL Server
  • Working with Microsoft Office applications
  • Understanding extensibility in Visual Studio
  • Working with data, ADO.NET and datasets
  • Using source control
ASP.NET Silverlight Visual Studio
Walt Ritscher

Using IntelliSense effectively

IntelliSense is one the most helpful features I can think of within Visual Studio. When you are writing code, it gives you instant, automatic, context-aware help. I really can't imagine working without its helpful suggestions. There are some IntelliSense features that are powerful but less intuitive, however. In this movie, I will illustrate the countless ways in which IntelliSense helps you write your code. To show you IntelliSense, I have to have a code window open. So I'm going to go into Visual Studio and open this UsingIntellisense project, and I'm going to open this Programs.cs file.

I've already got some code in here, which I'll use later in this demonstration. For now, I'm just going to declare a variable of type book. Book is one of the classes that I have inside this application. So I'm going to typing "var b = new", and I'm going to start typing the word "book". I don't even need to get the capitalization correct. I'll type "bo", and you can see that this IntelliSense dropdown shows that there are four types that meet my requirements: Book, bool, Boolean. The last one is a bit of a stretch, but you can see that in the middle of the word is the word Bound, and that has Bo in it.

To write the rest of my code I'm going to press Tab, or I'll go back here. Now I backed up a couple of letters, and I don't get the automatic dropdown. To force the dropdown again, I can use one of my favorite keystrokes inside Visual Studio: Ctrl+Spacebar. Hold down the Ctrl key, tap the Spacebar, and there's Book. The reason Book is selected is because it remembers the last word that I used in this IntelliSense window. Now I'm going to type the open parenthesis, and you see what happened? I didn't have to type O and K. I just had to type the open parenthesis.

It's also works with things like semicolon. We'll come back here. Do a Ctrl+Spacebar. Book is selected. Now, I'm going to type the semicolon, and you see it finished typing the word "Book" and then put my semicolon in. Force yourself to make a habit of learning these shortcuts. Next, I'm going to call a method on the console class. So I'm going to close method called WriteLine. Now it just so happens that the author of the console class wrote 19 different versions of the WriteLine function. So the IntelliSense knows that there's 19 different versions of the WriteLine each one varying slightly by the type of parameters they have, and it's showing me that there are 19.

I can click on this down arrow to refresh my memory what these different methods are. For example, this one takes a one value of type char. I also get some specific text down here telling me more about this function. Let me delete that line of code. Next, I'm going to show you something called Smart tags. "var x = new". And I'll start typing a class that doesn't exist, like the Barn class. There is no Barn class here.

So the IntelliSense engine is going to warn me that I have done something stupid by putting the red squiggle there. If I hover my mouse over it, it says, "The type or namespace Barn could not be found," and give me some suggestions of what to do. That's because it's examined all my types and can't find the definition of Barn anywhere. Now if I select the word Barn, you will see that I get this thing called a smart tag. Now, smart tags are kind of hard to activate. You have to move your mouse over this, click here one time, and then I'll see this dropdown menu. It says, "Would you like to generate a class for the Barn." I'll show you how to generate a class later.

Let me just show you how to use this Generate new type. I'll click here, and I get a dialog, and it's asking me the access scope for this new type, what kind of type I want: class or struct or an interface or an enumeration-- I think I'm going to choose struct-- and then what file to create barn.cs. Then I'll click OK. Now you notice that my red squiggle goes away. I now have a new file in my Solution Explorer. And if I pop that open and take a look inside, you'll see that there is a public struct Barn in there. Now let me return back to the code I was working with a second ago.

I'll go back to Program.cs. I also have a green squiggle here. That's because I've declared this variable, but I haven't used it anywhere in my code--suggesting that either I forgot to do something with it, or I should erase this line of code, because I'm not using anywhere else in my application. Next, I want to show you something called autocompletion. Let me delete this line of code, and I'm going to type in "var x = new". Now watch carefully what I'm going to do. I'm going to type a capital S and then a capital L. This is really neat what's going on here.

There is a type available that has a capitalized letter S and an L for SortedList, and it's picked that out of the list. There is no word that starts with SL, so it's showing me the SortedList. Now all I need to do is press one of those keystrokes I showed you earlier. Space, Tab, Enter. I'm going to press the Tab key, and it stubs in that new SortedLlist. This also works if you have your own variables. I will come over here and say "var ReallyBigNumber = 9".

Then down here I'm going to type in "RBN", and it's finding that in the list. Even when I only had typed RB, it shows me that there's really big number, and there is something called EncoderReplacementFallbackBuffer. So I'm going to type in N, and now I'm going to press Tab key to have it finish typing. Let Visual Studio do the typing for you, and it'll save you lot a keystrokes. Next, I want to show you something called generate from usage. I already have a real customer class over here, but I'm going to sabotage my application by coming over here and removing this customer class, which of course will break my code.

Now I get the red squiggle, and I get the smart tag. I am going to come over here to my smart tag and choose Generate Customer, which adds this new file, Customer.cs. Now here is the neat part. I can go down to the first name and right- click on that or click on the smart tag. Sometimes it's hard to get these to pop up. So I can force them to show by using Ctrl+Period like that. I find that easier than trying to mouse over it. So I'm going to say, generate a property stub. I am going to click on this one and do Ctrl+Period. Do the same thing two more times. Ctrl+Period.

Then on line 26, this is a function call, because of the parentheses. So when I do Ctrl+Period down here, it says, "Would you like to generate a method stub for Save." Now all of my squiggles go away, and if I look inside my Customer.cs file, you'll see that it's stubbed in some properties and a method. Now I've still got some work to do, but I no longer have my IntelliSense errors over in the other file. My last demo is going to be showing you how to work with these using statements at the top of my code window. You might recall that using statements are there so that I don't have to type all of the names of the class down here in the code section of my window.

What I can do in Visual Studio is I can right-click up here and choose Organize Using. Then I can sort them in alphabetical order. Or what I'm going to choose is I'm going to sort them in alphabetical order and also remove any usings that I'm not currently using. So that removed three of the four using statement I had at the top of the page. I can't say enough good things about the IntelliSense support inside Visual Studio. It's a feature that I simply couldn't live without, because it is so helpful when I write my code.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training .

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Q: Which edition of Visual Studio 2010 do I need to follow along in this course?
A: The course is taught with Visual Studio 2010 Professional, but can also be used with the Premium or Ultimate editions. The Express editions of Visual Studio, including Visual Basic 2010 Express, Visual C# 2010 Express, and Visual C++ Express, are not covered in this course.
Q: I'm attempting to download the exercise files for this course, and my virus protection is blocking me from unzipping the downloaded file. Are the files corrupted?
A: The alert is a false-positive message. Your antivirus software is detecting the active code included in the exercise files, which in some ways resembles viral code. There is nothing to be alarmed about and you can ignore the warning. This is common among coding courses and environments.
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