Thursday, December 21, 2006

I need a better "Go to definition" in VS2005 (similar to Eclipse)

I wish MS could implement a little smarter/better "Go to definition" feature. Today it almost works as it should. The "Go to definition" feature is used to go to the row where something is defined (a method, a variable, etc). Which is very handy if you are maintaining a project without any code documentation at all. But unfortunately the function will be confused if there are two methods that are named the same, but have different arguments. (It is called method overloading) Visual Studio 2005 is an "ok" IDE, but it is no way near Eclipse.

With VS2005, it will instead of moving the cursor to the method, it will move focus to a "Find symbol results" view where it displays those methods that have the same name. VS2005 could very easily look into the code and find out the type of method arguments and move focus to the method I wanted to see. But apparently it can not distinguish between an int and an ArrayList.

Try the below code in Eclipse and VS2005, and try to go the correct method that is used in "anotherMethod". (In Eclipse use "Open declaration"). Eclipse will move you directly to the correct method (method(int,ArrayList)), while VS2005 will just show a simple search result.
public void method(int i, int j)
{
}

public void method(int i, ArrayList list)
{
}

public void otherMethod()
{
int i = 2;
int j = 2;
method(i, j);
}

public void anotherMethod()
{
int i = 2;
ArrayList list = new ArrayList();
method(i, list);
}
To me it feels like Eclipse is developed by developers for developers. VS2005 is developed by someone for developers. If they had used the IDE on a daily basis they would understand that the current "Go to definition" is not properly implemented. They should be able to do a better implementation than this semi solution.
Another good example of that VS2005 is not developed by developers, is the lack of unit testing understanding in VS2005,
which I already blogged about.

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