Where did my solution go?!?!

I believe Visual Studio 2005 was the first version to require you to have a solution for your projects. This concept was a move in the right direction (see Projects and Namespaces), but did not come without its own problems. As a general rule, I start every new project with a blank solution - NOT by just simply creating my first project. Once you add a project to the solution, something interesting might happen. Your solution might disappear. There is a setting in Visual Studio called "Always show solution". This is turned off by default so that is why your solution disappears. To turn this on, go to Tools->Options and select "Projects and Solutions". Now this is yet another problem, this setting (along with many others) is hidden by default. To show this setting, you have to check "Show all settings" in the options window.

What file am I looking at?

Once you start dealing with complicated solutions with multiple projects you will very often have many files open all from different proejcts. One other nice feature is that Visual Studio can "track" which file you are editing in the Solution Explorer. This means as you navigate through your open files by using the tabs at the top of the window, the solution explorer will automatically scroll to and highlight the file you have selected. To turn this on, go to Tools->Options and select "Projects and Solutions" then check "Track Active Item in Solution Explorer".

C:\Documents and Settings\Doug\My Documents\Visual Studio Projects\HelloRealWorld...Really?

While I generally do like to use my "My Documents" folder, I usually customize my personal workstation so it points to somewhere like D:\Doug\My Documents. However, I still don't like the default location. Once again, for complicated projects you are going to have some overhead just for the project structure. For example, you would have something like {[[Project Root]]\[[Project Name]]\Main\Source\[[Solution Name]]\[[VS Project Name]]\[[Folder Within Project]]}. Imagine having C:\Documents and Settings\Doug\My Documents\Visual Studio Projects\ as {[[Project Root]]}. It gets nasty quickly. I use something like C:\VS2008 and set this under Tools->Options and "Projects and Solutions" then "Projects location".

Turn on those line numbers.

Even though you can double-click on an error and it will automatically take you to a line, if all of the lines are already on the screen you can find them much more quickly if the line numbers are visible. To turn them on, go to Tools->Options and select "Text Editor". Then check the "Line numbers" box.

I don't like the web designer

I am a programmer, not a web designer. I don't want a visual representation of my page. I want to see HTML. Also, it loads much faster and I can always switch to the designer if I need it. To make this the default behavior, go to Tools->Options and select "HTML Designer" then select "Source View" under "Start pages in".

Last edited Jul 2, 2009 at 3:04 AM by douglampe, version 3

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