I don’t remember when or where I first saw an editor with syntax highlighting. But I do remember that I was ‘blown away’ by it. It was immediately obvious that it was going to make code easier to understand and syntax errors easier to spot. I would now hate to have to program without it. So I was interested to try version 1.1of CodeKana, a recently released C/C++/C# syntax highlighting add-in for Visual Studio.
Codekana features include:
- Finer grained syntax highlighting than VS2005 provides.
- Highlighting of non-matching brackets and braces as you type.
- Easy switching between header and body files.
In the code below Codekana colours the if/else/while blocks differently and visually pairs the braces:
I have only been using Codekana a few hours, but I am already impressed. I find the ability to quickly switch between C++ header and body files particularly useful. VS2005 only appears to allows switching body to header, not header to body (doh!). You need the dexterity of a concert pianist for the default Codekana keyboard shortcut (Ctrl-Shift-Alt-O), but it can be customised. I changed it to Ctrl+. (dot) .
Codekana also has other features, such as the ability to zoom in/out on code. This is quite ‘cool’, but I’m not sure yet whether it will be of much use. Time will tell.
I am new to VS2005 and I have yet to try out other add-ins, such as Visual Assist, but Codekana certainly seems to have a lot of potential and is excellent value at $39. I look forward to seeing what other features get added in future versions. Find out more and download the free trial here.
Disclosure: The author of Codekana is a JoS regular who I have corresponded with in the past and was kind enough to send me a complimentary licence.