Dear Visual Studio People....

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...when I try to edit a program that is running (something which I do rather a lot these days - I think it's because I'm getting old) I get this "helpful" message.

It would be even more helpful if the dialog contained another button I could press to stop the application and return me to the code that I'm trying to edit. 

Update

It turns out that this has already been requested on UserVoice. If you go here you can upvote it. Please do. I'd love to see the feature.

File Comparison in Visual Studio

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Today I found out something that I didn't know that Visual Studio could do. It can perform file comparison. This is really useful if you've made a tiny change to a file for a very good reason at the time, but have completely forgotten where the change is, or why you made it. I never do this kind of thing myself you understand, but I've heard that some programmers make this mistake from time to time. 

There are lots of file comparison tools out there of course, along with quite a few plugins, but it's nice to see that Visual Studio can do it right out of the box. 

The only problem is that that finding the function is a bit tricky. You have to use the Command Window (which you open using CTRL+W, followed by A) or by selecting it from the View menu (take a look in the "Other Windows area if you can't find it). 

Once you've got the command window you can type in the command Tools.Difffiles followed by the names of the two files you want to compare. There is some rather neat auto-completion of filenames which makes it a bit easier to navigate to the files that you want, and I love the idea of being able to type three f's in a row in a meaningful context. 

Anyhoo, the comparison window that you get is rather nice, and it works well. 

Visual Studio 2017 and Python

Visual Studio 2017 came out yesterday. And today I downloaded my copy. I was keen to find out what was happening with the Python support. 

What can I say? I like Python.

Anyhoo, Python is not in the release version of Visual Studio 2017, which is sad. But, you can still get all that crazy Python goodness (along with Intellisense and a lot of other neat stuff) by going here and following the link to download a pre-release version of Visual Studio 2017 with Python built in (which actually works alongside your "proper" install). Which is great.

Visual Micro Still Rocks

I bought Visual Micro a while back. Not that I really needed to. The free version is actually plenty powerful enough for day-to-day use. It was just that I thought the product was so good that I really should support it.

For a registration you get a key that works on three machines. I've been through a few machines over the years (as you do) and last week I found that my key didn't work for my desktop. I emailed them, they cleared the key and I'm back in business again. Thanks folks. 

If you are in any way serious about embedded development you should get this tool. The free Arduino SDK is OK for a while, but you'll fairly quickly hit limitations that will grate, and with Visual Micro you get all the lovely intellisense support and general niceness that comes with developing code in Visual Studio.

Visual Micro now works with all the esp devices and pretty much anything Arduino shaped as well. It's got some very interesting debugging support too, but I tend to rely on code instrumentation (print statements) when I'm writing embedded code, so I don't use it very much. Go get it. 

VS 2015 Intallation Tip

I spent a big chunk of today trying to get Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition onto my machine. It put up a bit of a fight, I kept getting an error saying I needed up upgrade my installation when I'd built a project. I've no idea what the problem was.

But I do know how to fix it.

I installed Visual Studio from the ISO image that I downloaded from here. For previous, failed, installations I'd used the web installer. I'm wondering if there were some network shenanigans causing problems during the install.

The wonderful news is that I took my entire Snaps framework (a bunch of programming aids you are going to hear a *lot" about soon) and ported it from Windows 8.1 universal app to Windows 10 in about six minutes. All I had to do was copy the source files into an empty Windows 10 project and it built first time. This is completely awesome.