Yesterday the ReSharper Twitter Account tweeted about a Zen Coding Plug-in available as a PowerToy. If you’re not familiar with Zen Coding, check out this link. I received a couple of emails from people asking about the PowerToys and what exactly they were, and to be honest, I wasn’t really surprised. I don’t think many have actually heard of them. So I decided to follow Hanselman’s advice of minimizing key strokes, thus the post.
What are they?
The Power Toys are a series of plug-ins that have been written by the ReSharper developer team, and have been used in fact internally as samples of ReSharper’s API.
Where can I get them and how do I install them?
You can download the PowerToys for ReSharper 5 from the Early Access Program page (for previous versions, see What next?), which is here.
Unless there’s some API change, there are normally compatible from one build to the next, but just to be safe, download the one corresponding to the nightly build you have.
They are packaged up in a zip file that contains MSI installers for each individual plug-in, as well as a PowerToys Pack which includes them all (and you can pick and choose which one you want during the installation process). Best option is to just pick the full pack. Each MSI is also suffixed with a version, 8 corresponding to Visual Studio 2005, 9 to 2008 and 10 to 2010.
The zip file also contains another zip with the source code, which you can compile and install, if you don’t want to use an installer. If you’re doing this, compile them and place them under the %Program files%\JetBrains\ReSharper\Bin\Plugins folder. Normally best to create a folder for each plug-in (If you’re just interested in having the source but prefer to use the MSI, the installer will also install the source for you).
Once you install them, they should appear as plug-ins under the ReSharper menu:
As you can see from the list, there are quite a few goodies in there, not only Zen Coding!
The PowerToys are not only valuable in terms of the functionality they provide, but also serve as an example of how to write ReSharper plug-ins and interact with the ReSharper API, but they’ve never been released passed Early Access Programs. That is one reason 4.5 PowerToys are not available.
However, we want to change that. We not only want to make them available, but also to document them and offer them as a true OSS project, where the developer community can contribute to them, be it with additional features, bug fixes or providing completely new plug-ins.
This is something that I personally think would be valuable for the community. If you like this idea or have other suggestions, please feel free to give me feedback.