Bringing Visual Studio's CodeLens Into Focus

| by Jeff Martin Follow 11 Followers on Mar 20, 2014. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

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One of the most popular features shipping with Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate is CodeLens.  CodeLens provides meta-information about the source you are working with while you edit it.  When used in conjunction with Team Foundation Server (TFS), several useful stats are provided on the fly:  unit test results, change history, and work item history.  To this functionality the forthcoming Update 2 to VS2013 will add a new ability called Incoming Changes. 

Incoming Changes is intended to make working with multiple branches on TFS easier.  Another field is added to the CodeLens status (helpfully labeled “incoming change”) which when clicked (or accessed via hotkey ALT+6) will produce a tool tip with several new pieces of information:  the name of the branch a change occurred on, which changeset it is accessed on, the author, and a datestamp.

Why is this helpful?  Well it provides insight as to changes that are happening in the source tree while are working on your section.  Perhaps their work has no bearing on yours, but if it does negative collisions can be avoided.  Code diffs can also be performed to compare the upcoming change with the contents of the file in your editor.

The level of detail is configurable, so if you are interested in the full change history of intermediate branch merges you can enable them to be shown.  (The default is to hide them.)  The overall CodeLens feature itself is also configurable under the Options menu.  Incoming Changes and the other indicators CodeLens offers can be individually enabled/disabled as desired.

For a complete illustrated walkthrough, Microsoft’s Mathew Aniyan has provided an article describing Incoming Changes in detail.  To try out the feature for yourself, you will need Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2 RC and Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate with Update 2 CTP2 applied. 



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