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Visual C# .NET 2003 IDE Changes

Visual Studio .NET 2003

Prashant Sridharan
Microsoft Corporation

January 1 2003

Applies to:
   Microsoft Visual C#™ .NET 2003

Summary: Visual C# .NET 2003 improves upon the many innovations and capabilities of Visual C# .NET 2002. In addition to language changes as outlined in the "Visual C# .NET 2003 Language Changes" white paper, Visual C# .NET 2003 incorporates many new enhancements that make writing and debugging code significantly easier. These new additions fall in four categories: IntelliSense® improvements, debugger improvements, build system improvements, and the ability to build applications for mobile devices. (2 printed pages)


IntelliSense Improvements
Debugger Improvements
Custom Build Steps
Device-Based Development

IntelliSense Improvements

Building on the acclaimed Visual Studio® IntelliSense engine, Visual C# .NET now includes numerous enhancements that assist developers in writing code, including:

  • Automatic interface implementation expansion.
  • Help with overriding members of a base class.
  • Assistance in writing delegate-based or event-driven code.
  • Most frequently used lists in IntelliSense statement completion windows.
  • Assistance with instantiating classes when using the new keyword.

First, IntelliSense automatically stubs out interfaces and expands abstract members of base classes when a class or interface is declared in the inheritance portion of a C# class declaration. When writing code to inherit a class or implement an interface, a ToolTip will appear asking if you want to automatically implement the interface or abstract members.

Once the ToolTip is accepted and the Enter key is pressed, the abstract and interface members are automatically injected into the code.

Further, if a programmer inherits from a base class and attempts to override a method of that base class, IntelliSense will provide a list of overridable methods.

IntelliSense will now assist in the creation of functions that can be assigned to a delegate or event. When code is written to add a function to a delegate, a ToolTip appears asking if an appropriate function should be created.

When you are using statement completion to write code, IntelliSense will now track the most frequently used items and automatically highlight them first as you type. For example, if the WriteLine method is used more often than the Write method, it will be highlighted first.

Finally, when programmers attempt to instantiate a class using the new keyword, IntelliSense will prompt for the automatic completion of the statement with a ToolTip.

Debugger Improvements

In an effort to improve the debugging experience, Visual C# .NET 2003 now displays arrays and hash tables in a more usable, visual manner when debugging. In so doing, programmers can more readily examine data as their code executes.

Further, the Visual C# .NET debugger offers programmers the option to hide code from the Windows .NET Framework, presenting their code in a much more readable format.

Custom Build Steps

Programmers can now customize how their application compiles and builds for faster development and reduced build cycle times. With the custom build steps feature in the Solution Properties dialog box, solutions can execute user-defined instructions before, during, and after the build process.

Device-Based Development

Visual C# .NET users now have access to smart device programmability features in Visual Studio .NET. Using the same programming methodology for creating device-based applications as for creating Windows-based applications, developers may drag and drop visual components onto a Form and visually author applications for Windows CE .NET-based devices. Using the .NET Compact Framework, a subset of the .NET Framework, programmers can access data, consume Web services, and more.


Visual C# .NET 2003 delivers greater productivity for the code-focused developer. Whether it's writing code faster with IntelliSense or obtaining exacting control over how an application is built and deployed, programmers now have a superior array of tools that make writing code faster and easier. With support for more advanced debugger visualizations, discovering and fixing errors in code is much simpler.