The Beta Program will be discontinued gradually, starting from installations made more than 4 months ago. If you started using ContextKeeper in November 2023 or earlier, the Beta Program License will expire for you 26th February. Don't wait until last second and secure your license today as long as preorder's pricing is available!

The first public ContextKeeper release was in July 2021. It was a long road, but here we are, after 2.5 years. There is no VC or Private Equity fund behind it. It is only one guy, with big vision and unstoppable passion to make it come true. ContextKeeper is fully boostrapped using my own money, and also by you - the users that joined License Preorders in 2022 and 2023. It's not just individual developers who buy ContextKeeper, but also companies such as ISD Group or Emerson. You are in good company!

The 2024 will bring a lot of new features to ContextKeeper and you will be surprised how much more useful the whole experience could be. It is the only the beginning and I have only scratched the surface with the current ContextKeeper version. The power of context will be given in your hands, and there is no tool on the market that will be even remotely close to ContextKeeper upcoming releases in 2024. And I am really serious about that πŸ’ͺ "Stay hungry. Stay foolish".

Not convinced how much value ContextKeeper brings? I've got you covered.

Below, you'll find a table comparing extensions that work with VS 2022. I've included free extensions, with the exception of Task Canvas, which is a paid one. I've invested several hours in testing Favorite Documents, Workspace Manager, and Task Canvas to get a clearer picture of how they all stack up against ContextKeeper.

Features supported ContextKeeper Task Canvas Favorite Documents Workspace Manager
Automatic session switching when changing Git branches βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
Restores full Visual Studio's original documents state βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
Tabs order βœ… ❌ ❌ unreliable
Tab groups (including horizontal/vertical orientation) βœ… ❌ ❌ unreliable
Document windows positions & size (including floating windows) βœ… ❌ ❌ unreliable
Breakpoints βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
Bookmarks βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
Last selected tab for every window βœ… ❌ ❌ unreliable
Last active tab among all opened βœ… ❌ ❌ unreliable
Visual Studio independent restore engine βœ… partially ❌ ❌
Multiple document windows βœ… ❌ ❌ unreliable
Multiple monitors support βœ… ❌ ❌ unreliable
Relative path (portable sessions between environments) βœ… limited limited ❌
Maximized/Normal state for document windows βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
Source control ready sessions files (diffable JSON format) βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
Continuous session auto-save for branch snapshots βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
One-click append files βœ… ❌ βœ… ❌
Pinned files βœ… ❌ βœ… unreliable
One-click session update βœ… βœ… ❌(only adding) unreliable
One-click restore βœ… βœ… ❌ ❌
Shareable session's file between teammates βœ… βœ… ❌(one file for all sessions) ❌
Last opened files βœ… βœ… βœ… unreliable
Line & column for every file βœ… βœ… βœ… unreliable
Non-solution (external) files βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌
Not based on the (broken) IVsUIShellDocumentWindowMgr βœ… βœ… βœ… ❌
Still in an active development (updates in 2024) βœ… ❌ ❌ ❌
Price $149 $49 Free Free

Task Canvas

I must say, I'm a bit surprised by how Task Canvas, the only paid competitor, performed in the comparison. It was built with a different workflow in mind, which is why it lacks in certain areas. However, it's still quite powerful and presents an interesting concept with its independent task canvas (separate, physical tab). Kudos to Sergey for trying something different. I'll take a closer look to see if there are any elements from this concept that could add additional value to ContextKeeper. What are your thoughts on this?

Favorite Documents

It appears that the most popular extension is based on the simple VS API - VsShellUtilities.OpenDocument(). Unfortunately, it lacks more sophisticated use cases. Nonetheless, it's still better than relying solely on Visual Studio's default state engine and the inherently flawed .suo file.

Workspace Manager

The spiritual successor to the (broken) approach of Save All the Tabs, utilizing the IVsUIShellDocumentWindowMgr.ReopenDocumentWindows() API. Unfortunately it is nothing more than wrapper for the default Visual Studio state engine, which which has had persistent, unresolved issues for years. It's unreliable, sometimes functioning properly but often failing. My experience with it has been similar to Save All the Tabs, which I tried using with mixed success in the past.

The fail of the Save All the Tabs extension, to deliver a stable and reliable restore mechanism, really push me to work on the a truly independent session restore engine. I distinctly recall my thought process during that time -

If it doesn't work, I'll at least give it a shot and try to build it. There's nothing wrong with failing, but if I succeed, man, one day it'll be a big deal! I will try to make it the state of the art session manager Visual Studio never had, but always deserved.

Later, the engine has become the heart of ContextKeeper. It has taken thousands of hours and years of work to bring it to a state where it is a true pleasure and an enjoyable experience to use, and to have the session manager that Visual Studio has always deserved. πŸš€ Cause there ain't room for more than one King πŸ‘‘ in this town.

What's more today?

  • unique access to the Lifetime license (only the first 5000 licenses), both personal and business(!), including commercial license for using ContextKeeper, forever, including all future version upgrades, including plugin for Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code πŸ”₯ (when available). No subscription fees, unlimited use time and free upgrades,
  • lately Visual Studio celebrated 25th Birthday. I’m sure in 2034 it will be still the major player on the IDE market. I have long-term strategy to create successful business, focused on the next-gen tooling for developers and the ContextKeeper is a key element of this strategy. By long term, I mean at least a 10+ year time horizon. Surprisingly, it’s not so long. NCrunch plugin has been on the market for 13 years, and Resharper for more than 15 years. Both are VS plugins. By investing today, you’re making a real, lifetime deal. No bullshit. Let’s compare how much ContextKeeper will cost you over the years for Personal Lifetime license:
    • $349 / 5 years = $70 / year
    • $349 / 10 years = $35 / year
  • ContextKeeper was born from my pure passion for optimizing daily dev workflow. When I’ve started my software developer career in 2005, I had always this big dream, to create a product that others will love πŸ’– and to have the opportunity to work on something that I really care about πŸ’ͺ - devs tooling, neuroscience and cognitive psychology which are big parts of the overall ContextKeeper vision,
  • there is a real value behind the offer which you probably recognizes instantly - in the world of subscriptions, especially for devs, Lifetime license is a unseen gem πŸ’Ž

How to convince management in a company?

If you’re the only one using ContextKeeper in the company, it is high time ⌚ to introduce it to your colleagues, and ask management to buy business licenses for your team.

I have a great example from our business customer:

One of the first emails:

After your email, I started to reconsider and started talking to the management in the company I am working. Currently, there is the possibility, that the company will get one or multiple licenses.

I checked your list and had a quick look at the alternative extensions myself.

As I said in my earlier email, the automatic Git branch switch is really comfortable, but not exactly mandatory. Apart from that nice feature, for me, the biggest selling point for the ContextKeeper was that it also stores breakpoints and bookmarks and does apparently also store more window / context information (like last selected tab, order, position etc.).

and later:

after showing your extensions to my colleagues, the company I work in just bought multiple lifetime business licenses for me and other interested colleagues.

So if you enjoy πŸ’– using ContextKeeper, please show it to your colleagues, share with them how much value it delivers, among other wonderful features, and talk to the management about buying business licenses.

Your dev team will forever owe you πŸ™ - πŸ’― guaranteed.

Free or discounted licenses for startups, students, open source projects, Microsoft MVPs etc.

If you any of above groups please leave your email here, confirm it in your email client and reply to the first email that comes next providing some additional context.

    The ContextKeeper Promise - πŸ’― satisfaction or full refund within 90 days

    If you’re not satisfied for any reason within 90 days you get a full refund, period, no questions asked. If you’re not amazingly happy, I don’t want your money. Without any asterisks or fine prints. You can give any reason or no reason for the refund: you don’t like something, you need the cash back for something else … You can refund and get your cash back.

    πŸ™ Thanks for your support!

    Piotr Karczmarz,

    Founder & CTO