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Find ALL References in Amethyst 2

Yes, I really mean ALL References!
by Dermot Hogan
Thursday 20 December 2012.

I’ve used Visual Studio for many years now, and over several versions it’s always seemed to me that the Find All References tool could be improved – but it never really has been. So in Amethyst 2, we’ve implemented our own improved version.

There are three aspects that I don’t like to the standard Find All References tool:

- If I’m investigating a problem, I often go down a search ‘trail’. I search for one thing, say a ‘foo’ then I find that I need to search for a ‘bar’. Then a ‘snafu’ and so on. But possibly the problem is somewhere in the ‘foo’ searches – but I’ve lost that and the only search I’ve got visible is the last ‘snafu’ search.

- When I navigate to a search reference in C#, say, I cannot easily see where the reference is in the code. The code is visible all right, but there’s no clear marker indicating exactly where it is.

- I can’t filter the searches by assignment. I often want to see just the places where the variable is assigned to – not the places where it is referenced. This isn’t a problem is you have a handful of references, but it’s a PITA when there are hundreds of the things.

So the first thing we’ve done is keep a history of the searches you’ve made - and you can navigate between them using either a drop-down combo or backward/forward navigation buttons.

The searches are also stored in the Amethyst ScratchPad: clicking on the search will re-execute the search, so that you can quickly locate and run a previous search.

When you navigate to a search location by double-clicking on the search entry in the Find All References tool window, note the arrow in the left margin of the code window. It makes the location of the search item much clearer.

To filter by assignment, just set the Filter assigns combo to ‘yes’:

Since you can’t have too much of a good thing – you can have as many independent Find All References tool windows as you want! Just click the Copy Results button and you have an independent duplicate of the Find All References tool window.

This is a preview of the forthcoming version of Amethyst 2 – our ActionScript/Flash IDE for Visual Studio 2012 and 2010. If you buy Amethyst 1.0 for Visual Studio 2010 now you will be entitled to a free update to Amethyst 2 when it is released. See the Amethyst 2012 announcement for more information.

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