July 16th 2021 was the first ContextKeeper beta release. It was late Friday when I had finished release note. Later it was sent to the 67 people who joined the beta program. The next week on Tuesday there was official "Hello World" blog post announcing version v0.71. The initial vision from 2015 came to fruition.
They were 12 releases through last 9 months including some major new features like:
- v0.8 - automatic snapshot switching when changing branches and later first build for VS 2022
- v1.0 - continuous auto-saving branch snapshots
- v1.3 - Git worktree support
- v1.6.26 - snapshot stashing
From the beginning, the most expected feature was definitely automatic snapshot switch when changing branches which is also highly voted on the official VS forum.
The core foundation for future versions is already built. And I think I've only implemented about 10-15% of what I want to achieve with the plugin. The plans are really bold and ambitious. Some of them includes introducing features that doesn't exists in any other IDE on the market. Moreover Visual Studio session management support haven't improved for years and with ContextKeeper I want to deliver completely new quality and create the new standard in this area.
The goal is to build ultimate contexts manager for Visual Studio that will significantly improve your daily work. I'm inviting you to join the ride and be sure to invite your friends 🚀
The roadmap for 2022 includes major milestones, like support for:
✅ relative paths and machine-independent snapshots restore process (update: relative paths implemented 1st June)
✅ storing snapshots outside of the solution folder
✅ search dialog (update: implemented 15th April)
The bookmarks, breakpoints and relative paths are those big missing puzzles that I always wanted to include. Now it's the time to lift off ✈
Adding support for relative path and machine-independent restore process will remove last obstacle from sharing your context between different dev environments and also inside your team. It will unlock potential to e. g.:
- switching between laptop and workstation
- faster onboarding developers to new tasks, taking over responsibilities
- sharing mental models of the project across team members
- fixing complex bugs easier using targeted mental snapshots
And last but not least on the 2022 roadmap is 🔥:
- first version for Visual Studio Code with unique ability to load snapshots created in ... Visual Studio 😉
The Visual Studio Code plugin will have basic features at first, and gradually I will try to add more complex ones, to close features gaps between those two IDEs. The VS Code API is a little limiting compared to Visual Studio, but I will do my best to overcome any obstacles, and push VS Code APIs to its limits.
Breaking news, from the last minute. I just have found out, when I finished writing, that finally API access to "Open Editors" have been implemented by VS Code Team. The GitHub issue was closed just 1 day ago (21 April). It was created in 2016! It's really huge milestone making possible to provide almost full support for VS Code using official API 🚀
Beta program will continue and the plugin will remain free during the beta phase. I don't have any specified date in mind when beta will end. I thinking about different options to secure financial stability for the future development. Since January 2021 I'm in full-time, bootstrapping mode funding the development. It wasn't an easy decision to go 💯 in, but since 2018 I was actively preparing to make the jump.