I want to share a couple of useful Visual Studio plugins that I'm using daily when working on the ContextKeeper. Those are mainly fitting in the "deep work" category and help to move a little faster when you're in the zone. There is noticeable compound effect when you start using them.
Better visual cues during coding session
- RockMargin - replaces VS vertical scrollbar with current text overview that works as scrollbar at the same time. Where the magic happens: in source files of up to a few thousand lines, it's really easy to navigate through the code using the file's thumbnail view, and it's super compact compared to the default VS map mode scroll bar which takes up way too much space. If you are using or have ever tried to use the default map mode but you have given up, just try using RockMargin and you will be pleasantly surprised:
- unfortunately, there is no official build for VS 2022 but someone prepared PR. If you don't want to compile it yourself you could use my VS 2022 build which already includes this PR. To get RockMargin looking better when using VS Dark theme, I recommend changing colors, Tools->Options->RockMargin,
- Git Diff Margin - displays live Git changes of the currently edited file on Visual Studio margin and scroll bar,
- Viasfora - adds rainbow braces, keyword highlighting and some XML improvements. For VS Dark mode I recommend using Viasfora's dark light theme (Tools->Options->Viasfora->Export/Import->Load Theme). VS 2019 version is available here,
- Iconizer - shows icons on tool windows tabs (if possible) which greatly improves tabs discoverability. It's faster to recognize familiar icon than to read text.
More dense coding playground
- Shrink Empty Lines - more visible code shrinking lines that contain neither letters nor numbers by 25% vertically, allowing more lines to be displayed in the editor. The VS 2019 version is here,
- not a plugin but useful trick: set smaller font size: 8 px and use JetBrains Mono font.
- StopOnFirstBuildError - stops a solution build immediately if one project fails to build. Build for VS 2022 could be compiled from sources or use my build for VS 2022,
- Farticus - A broken build you didn't notice? Not anymore, thanks to random fart sound (22 different options!). It will not only save you time but also put a smile on your face, practically everyday. Just try it 😁.
Making context switching painless
- ContextKeeper (my own plugin) - remembers last opened files, pinned tabs, documents state (line&number) and position. It automatically saves and restores context when switching between Git branches and has relative paths support.