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InfoQ Homepage News Major IntelliSense Changes Planned for VC++ 10

Major IntelliSense Changes Planned for VC++ 10


Major changes are planned for IntelliSense in Visual C++ 10. To begin with, the NCB file will be replaced with a SQL Server Compact database. Currently the entire NCB file needs to be loaded into memory, an expensive proposition in large projects. SQL Server Compact, an in process database, is expected to provide much faster access times and will make it easier to change the file schema in the future.

A new IntelliSense parser is also planned. By default, this parser only scans actual source code files, ignoring any included headers. This will greatly speed up parsing, but will result in a lot of misunderstood code. Hint files containing common macros will help alleviate some of this. Also, when a file is opened in the editor it will be fully parsed including headers.

In the long run the VC++ team is considering options for a shared SQL Server database. Jim Springfield writes,

It would allow you to lookup code that isn’t even on your machine. For example, you could do a “goto definition” in your source and be taken to a file that isn’t even on your machine. This could be integrated with TFS so that the store is automatically updated as code is checked in, potentially even allowing you to query stuff over time. Another idea would be to populate a SQL database with information from a full build of your product. This would include very detailed information (i.e. like a BSC file) but shared among everyone and including all parts of an application. This would be very useful as you could identify all callers of a method when you are about to make a change to it.

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