Monday, May 7, 2012

Visual Studio Keybinds Front-End Engineers Use

After being in Microsoft land for the past year (I joined RESAAS, primarily a .NET shop), I've grown attached to Visual Studio. It's an amazing IDE. In the last 5 years, I was primarily on Mac OS X with TextMate/Vim so I grew used to using keybindings to increase productivity. With Visual Studio, I realized that the only way to be productive is to use keybinds! Visual Studio without keybindings can make it almost impossible to use as the menus are nested beyond 2 levels. That said, I use Visual Studio for JavaScript and HTML. Everything else like SASS, CoffeeScript, and NodeJS, I use Sublime Text 2.

Below are a few different keybinds I use on a regular basis. I'm sure that these will change in the future once Windows 8 launches and every developer will have Visual Studio 2011 in their hands!

Key Bind Description
Control + , Go To File - When you're working on a large code base, it's easier to just navigate to the file.
Control + Shift + F Search Solution - Quickly find any string in the solution or project
Control + M -> L Expand all braces - When opening up certain files that have collapsed views
Control + Shift + B Build Solution
Control + Pause/Break Stop Build
Control + W (custom keybind) Close currently opened file
Control + K -> D Format document (braces, alignment, etc)
Control + Shift + S Save all documents in solution

With the above, I'm sure there's more keybinds that can be integrated, such as, binding JSLint/JSHint, or auto-running Chutzpah (JavaScript test runner), or getting the current directory's git status.

I thought I'd share out a few of the keybindings I use on a day-to-day basis in Visual Studio that help me be productive.

Good luck and have fun,
Jaime Bueza

Jaime Bueza is a software engineer in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He has developed web applications for Nintendo, Starbucks, Bacardi, Nike, Electronic Arts, Ritchie Brothers, Kiwi Collections, Cox Communications and Microsoft. When he's not developing useful software that constantly evolves with business requirements, he's writing open source software and helping developers in the Windows Azure NodeJS community.