The Rain and The Shade

March 17, 2012

Visual Studio Add-in for code review

Filed under: C# Coding,Code Quality — ovaisakhter @ 9:16 am


We do use static code analysis on our code and use Resharper as well which I am not sure where to place category wise but surely it is the best tool next to visual studio a developer can have. Although these tools have made the life of  the Architects lot easier,  a manual code reviews (if I may say it so) are still very relevant.

Some while back I had to do a code review for a decent sized project.  For some one as Lazy as I am it is a struggle to write down the review reports. It is a pain to write down the context information like project, file, line number and then some selected text to for each defect report. I  Googled for a  tool which can make my life easier, but most of the tools I found were a bit to complex for my need and on top of that most of them were coupled with some particular source control (not to mention they were not free also).

The Add-In

Eventually I thought of writing a very simple version myself. Here are the requirements for this simplest version

  • should be able to show it in visual studio
  • should be able to write a description of the issue
  • should get the context following context information
    • Solution Name
    • Project Name
    • File Name
    • Line Number
    • Selected Text
  • should be able to append these reports to a text file

In this post I will try to introduce you the addin and its capabilities which are not many and how to install it. I will explain a bit more about the code in my next post. I will how ever put a link to the source code in the end if you want to look at it.

Once you install the plug in you get a menu item in your tools menu “Code Review” once this item is clicked a visual studio tool window is loaded with the code review form. You can dock this window in visual studio for easy access. Here is how it looks like after docking.


So the plug in offers you some very basic capabilities. Once loaded you can select a text file where all of your review will be saved. You can go to a file and may be select some text and on the window start writing an issue description and puff the above mentioned context information appears in the context box. once done with the description  you can click the append to file button and the description along with the context information will be saved in the text file.



and when you click append to file here is what is saved to the file

Code Review Defect Report
this code generated by visual studio really stinks, well not really I am just doing to create a fake code defect report
Solution: C:\Users\Ovais\documents\visual studio 2010\Projects\Wisdom.VisualStudio.Tools\Wisdom.VisualStudio.Tools.sln
Project: Wisdom.VisualStudio.TestApplication
File: Program.cs
Line: 19

Selected Text: Application.EnableVisualStyles();
Application.Run(new Form1());



I have not made any fancy installation setup with this so you will have to do the following steps manually

  1. Copy the contents of the to a folder on your computer e.g. c:\Wisdomplugins
  2. in the visual studio go to tools menu and then select options
  3. in the options dialog select Environment/Add-in/Macros Security
  4. Click the add button and provide the path of your newly created folder.
  5. restart the visual studio and with a stroke of luck you will see the menu item in the tools menu

I have only tested this on the English version and I am pretty sure it will not work on any other language Smile.

You can get the code for the Add-in from the following location.

As I mentioned I will explain the code of the Add-in in a later post. So if you are interested stay tuned.

Happy reviewing!

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