Quick Tip – Multi Project Solution in VS11

I’m using Visual Studio 11 since it was released as Beta. What can I say, I really get the new design and layout (monochrome and gylphs) which not every developer appreciates. But beyond design and layout I really like the new search feature and the navigation features added in the Solutions Explorer section.

Going to the quick tip, if you have created a project in Visual Studio 11 Beta and would want to add another project under the same solution you would get this:

Solution explorer without add new project

Yes no option to add new project! Normally (like in VS 2010) you will use the solution explorer to add a new project but there is no option on VS11 Beta.


Solution explorer in VS2010 with Add Project option


To add another project just go to File – New Project – Choose any Template. On the same window at the lower portion you can find the Solution option. You have the option to Create a new solution or Add to solution.

Solution option under file-new project

This is where you can add existing projects to your solution. Note that this option is also available in Visual Studio 2010.

Solution Explorer not showing the Solution file?

If the solution is not showing in the solution explorer check if the Always show solution is enabled in your Visual Studio

Visual Studio Options screen

Go to Tools – Options – Projects and Solutions – General – Tick the Always show solution option.

There it is, a quick tip on working around Visual Studio 11. Enjoy VS!




Build Metro-style Applications – Where to Start?

Build Metro-style Applications – Where to start?


Microsoft created WinRT(Windows RunTime) API and this will be built-in to the Windows 8 system. Although Windows 8 can still run the Win32 applications we use now, I’d like to believe that majority of the applications will switch to Metro-style soon. If Windows 8 is released today I would use it and I would not want to go back to Win32 setting. There is a big difference on how things work and flow in Windows 8.

Here are some points on how to get your hands on developing Metro-style apps.

Tools you need:

You need Windows 8 Consumer Preview and the Visual Studio 11 Beta to work on developing Metro-style applications. My previous post on Windows 8 installation options can (I hope) help you with setting up your Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

If you think Windows 8 Consumer Preview is not worth your time, you can still take a look and develop Metro-style applications by downloading the Windows 8 SDK and the Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express Beta. The VS express is free version of Visual Studio created by Microsoft.

The main website for information about developing Metro-style applications is in this website – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps

C# Roadmap

Building Metro-style applications does not require that the developer should use C#. In fact, Microsoft made the WinRT API to be compatible with HTML/CSS/Javascript and DirectX/C++. The diagram below was discussed during Build conference last year and I think it would best describe the WinRT compatibility with non-C# development languages.


I know HTML/CSS/Javascript but I will go with the C# route this time since I almost always use the language on our projects. With using C#, you also need to know about XAML. If you know Silverlight and WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), the approach is very very similar. You already have the advantage on skills on how everything work on XAML and WPF so less learning curve.

File-New Project-Metro-style

Like other project types, you can create and run a Metro-style application in a few clicks in Visual Studio. File-New Project-Metro-style will show you Metro-style templates you can use with your application.

MetroStyle VS11 NewProject
Visual Studio 11 – Metro Style Templates

You can also check the sample applications (Download Sample Pack) which is available for download. I really like the sample applications since they show the basic features you need to know on developing Metro-style applications and then point you to the exact feature and xaml file involved in the example.

Metro style apps sample gallery
Sample apps gallery


The Code52 group created the My Finances WinRT Sample Application project and the WPF Metro-Style Scan Application project so developers can contribute and be involved with WinRT and Metro-style application developments. It is recommended to be involved with open-source developments to share and contribute in some way to an ongoing project. Code52 creates a new project every week so the project does not get very complicated for others to be involved and new ideas are fresh every week.

Code52 Projects List
Code52 Project

I believe Windows 8 applications are needed to be developed now and be ready once the Windows 8 is released this year. This is a great time and opportunity for developers to learn and be involved with Metro-style application development. Got it?


Quick Look on Visual Studio 11 Beta

Less is more cup RS

Quick Look on Visual Studio 11 Beta

Aside from releasing a consumer preview of Windows 8, Microsoft also released Visual Studio 11 Beta version recently. As a .Net developer, I use Visual Studio more often than any other IDE so I am interested to know what is new. I do not think VS2010 is broken by any means but any enhancements are welcome.

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Install

Visual Studio 11 Installer

Quick Info on How To Get Visual Studio 11 Beta:

Installer for Visual Studio 11 Beta below:

Visual Studio 11 Beta Installer – https://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/11/en-us/downloads

System Requirements:

– Supported Operating Systems: Windows 8 Consumer Preview
– Supported Architectures: 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64)
– Hardware Requirements:
– 1.6 GHz or faster processor
– 1 GB of RAM (1.5 GB if running on a virtual machine)
– 5.0 GB of available hard disk space
– 5400 RPM hard drive
– DirectX 9-capable video card running at 1024 x 768 or higher display resolution

Visual Studio 11 Impressions

I will mention my top 3 favorite enhancements on this beta version but feel free to check the Visual Studio blog post made to introduce Visual Studio 11 Beta


The most obvious change for this version is the color and layout of the toolbars. My first reaction is this is very similar on how Xcode theme is. Xcode is the IDE for developing Objective-C projects. There is very limited use of color on the toolbars and the icons. This is a major change from the icons in Visual Studio which are usually presented like the toolbars you can find on other Microsoft products like Microsoft Office (Photographic icons). I like the monochrome theme and totally get why the Visual Studio team would say that this will make the developer more focused on the code. I do not see any value on adding another section of options presented in colored icons if I can just use the quick search to find them using their name (more on quick search next).

Visual Studio 11 Beta  IDE

Visual Studio 11 Beta Monochrome IDE

Visual Studio 11 Beta  Xcode IDE

For comparison, here is the Xcode IDE

Quick Search

On my Mac, my favorite tool and mostly used feature is the Spotlight (Apple button + spacebar). You can type in the name of the application or file you want to go to and there it is with a few keyboard strokes. On Visual Studio 11 Beta, they also added the same feature on searching for your build files and for searching commands and configuration options. No more coursing through each menu option from File to Help just to look for toggle for a specific option. This will really help improve efficiency and help save time for developers.

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Menu Explorer
Visual Studio 11 Quick Search Menu (Ctrl + 😉

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Solution Explorer
Visual Studio Quick Search Solution (Ctrl + Q)

Image QuickView

Another really useful enhancement added is the image quick view on solution explorer. You might say this is a minor feature but its very useful when you are building your UI during coding or you need to debug and find what exact image you need to reference on your code. No need to double click, just hover and see the image. Neat!

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Solution Explorer Image Preview
Image Quickview right on Solution Explorer

There are other features in the Beta version of Visual Studio 11 and I’m sure there will be changes with the final release. The Visual Studio team is in the right path on adding these features. Happy coding!