Building a Real Toolbox

I’ve never believed the Toolbox in VS had the right name.  It’s
more of a component holder box.  I did
some thinking recently on what a “Real Toolbox” would be for a developer.  I’d
love to know if anyone would like something like this or if there are any adjustments
you would make to these scenarios.  

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John is working on several projects with a group of 8 other developers.  John
is stuck on a difficult problem and hopes that one of his friends has a code snippet
that points his in the right direction.  He
opens the Real Toolbox and selects the Friends Tab.  First
he sees the complete list of macros, add-ins, commands, and snippets that his friends
have that he hasn’t installed.  He chooses
to filter the list so that he just sees his friends snippets.  Once
the list is filtered he browses the list of snippets to find out that john has just
the snippet that helps his overcome his project. 


John is looking for a quick way to search for all instances of the word currently
under the carrot in the editor.  He opens
the Real Toolbox and switches to the “installed tools” node.  He
discovers a macro entitled “FindAllCurrent”.  He
hovers over the title and gets a tooltip description that says “This macro searches
your current project for more occurrences of the current word in the editor. “.  John
opens a file in the editor, sets the carrot in the middle of a word, and click on
this tool in order to try it out. The macro runs and John is satisfied that he has
found what he is looking for.  John right
clicks on the tool and chooses “Add Tool to Favorites”.  This
macro is added to the favorites tab of his toolbox.  He
also decides that he wants to define a keybinding to run the macro so that he doesn’t
have to click on the macro each time.  To
do this he right clicks on the macro and selects “Create Keybinding” and is presented
with the keybindings options page that has the macro command created for his.  He
picks a keybinding and closes the options dialog. 


John is writing a rich client app in C#. He decided that he doesn’t like the code
formatting that comes with Visual Studio by default.  John
opens the Real Toolbox and switches it to search mode.  He
searches for “Code Formatting”.  In the
results list he is presented with a set of macros, add-ins, and command line scripts
that match his query. He chooses to view more details on a code formatting add-in
for visual studio.  A browser is opened
in visual studio and he is taken to the gotdotnet workspace home for the project.
He downloads the latest release and installs the add-in. He also adds the add-in to
his favorites list and will receive notifications when new versions are available.  Now
John can format code to his liking.  


Anyway, that was the brainfart I just completed that was started in my spare
time a few months ago at linuxworld. 

- josh