12 Visual Studio Extensions that enhances your productivity and code

I love to be a productive programmer.  I spent a lot of time finding the best tools that can help me in my daily job.

The following Visual Studio extensions are the best in the matter of saving time. I have at least twenty installed.

Here is a list of the most important for me:

Productivity Power Tools

Productivity Power Tools is an extension pack of multiple extensions:

  • Align Assignments – the code assignments will be aligned. The code will be more readable.
  • Double-Click Maximize – when you double-click on a window, it will maximize.
  • Copy As Html – this extension is useful when you copy a lot of code from Visual Studio.
  • Fix Mixed Tabs – if your file has spaces and tabs, this extension will offer to fix it.
  • Match Margin – this will highlight on the scrollbar the use of a variable.
  • Middle Click Scroll – you will be able to scroll using the middle button of your mouse.
  • Peek Help – you get documentation information about a class when you press ALT+F1.
  • Shrink Empty Lines – this will remove empty lines.
  • Solution Error Visualizer – it will enhance the solution explorer by showing the errors.
  • Time Stamp Margin – in the output window you get a timestamp for each line. This will help you to see when something occurred.

I usually install this extension because it enhances my Visual Studio.

Probably, you won’t use every day every feature, but it is useful to have them.

Gulp Snippet Pack

Gulp is an automation toolkit that enables you to do different tasks. Gulp is based on JavaScript, so it has a very easy learning curve.

Gulp Snippet Pack contains a couple of code snippets for your Gulp file. This will help you to write easily a Gulp file.

Gulp Installed Snippets in Visual Studio
Gulp Snippets

For example, create a gulp file and type the first snippet gulp, and press TAB twice. It will import the gulp object and will create a task:

var gulp = require("gulp");

gulp.task("name", function () {

});

All you have to do is to write your code in the task function.

Tweaks

Tweaks for Visual Studio is an extension that comes with a lot of minor fixes that will help you.

For example, one of the coolest features is that you have the possibility to reopen a window that you closed.

Bundler and Minifier

Bundler & Minifier is a mandatory extension for web developers. This extension will add contextual menus that enable you to bundle and minify assets files like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML.

Bundle & Minifier Menu

A configuration file will be created and there you can change the options:

[
  {
    "outputFileName": "wwwroot/js/site.min.js",
    "inputFiles": [
      "wwwroot/js/site.js"
    ]
  },
  {
    "outputFileName": "wwwroot/css/combined.css",
    "inputFiles": [
      "wwwroot/css/bootstrap.css",
      "wwwroot/css/site.css"
    ],
    "minify": {"enabled": false}
  }
]

Add Any File

Add New File extension gives you the possibility to create any file type directly from Visual Studio.

Until this extension, if you had to create a git ignore file, Visual Studio didn’t have the option.

Add any file allows you to create any file type, even files without extensions like the Docker file.

Add New File Extension

ZenCoding

ZenCoding is an extension that allows you to write HTML faster.

You can write the tag names of HTML elements and using a special syntax, you can generate a lot of HTML.

div>h1#title{Shopping list}+ol>li.item*3

If you write the above code and press TAB twice, you will get:

ZenCoding code example

ReSharper

ReSharper is one of the greatest extensions for Visual Studio. This is a product offered by JetBrains. Trust me, it’s worthwhile, so you will save more time by using this product.

If you install ReSharper, probably you won’t need another extension. It will enhance Visual Studio with a lot of cool features:

  • More code snippets, code generators, and templates
  • It analyzes your code and gives you suggestions on how to change it to be more readable and avoid bugs.
  • Extended IntelliSense
  • It allows you to convert code sections. For example, loops can be converted to LINQ syntax.

HTML Snippet Pack

HTML Snippet Pack is an extension that will import snippets for the most popular HTML tags.

If you develop in ASP.NET Core, then you will need this extension.

HTML Snippets Pack

JavaScript Snippet Pack

If you have to deal a lot with JavaScript, then you probably have HTML in JavaScripts strings. In this case, I recommend you to use HTML for JavaScript. This extension will colorize your HTML that is inside of a string.

Image Optimizer

I also recommend you to use the WebP file format, which is more optimized than PNG and JPEG images. A great extension is WebP Toolkit. It offers you the option to convert the images to WebP format.

Editor Enhancements

Mads Kristensen created the extension Editor Enhancements, in order to offer additional options like HTML and URL encoding.

This Visual Studio extension can remove the empty or the duplicate lines. You can also sort the lines ascending or descending.

Same as the Tweaks extension, this one will help you from time to time.

SonarLint

SonarLint will analyze your code in order to find bugs and security vulnerabilities. Practically, it enhances the default Visual Studio code analyzer.

This extension is open-source. It also offers you the possibility to test the code on a server. This means that your continuous delivery pipeline will benefit from this.

Conclusions about Visual Studio Extensions

Most of the extensions are for free but there are solving only a couple of problems. For an extension that can solve anything like ReSharper which has a ton of features, you have to pay.

In my opinion, if you don’t pay for a product like ReSharper, make sure you install these three extensions:

  1. Productivity Power Tools
  2. Tweaks
  3. Editor Enhancements

These extensions solve general problems, that each programmer has.

Don’t forget to search in the marketplace for other extensions for Visual Studio.

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