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InfoQ Homepage News Visual Studio 2022 - 17.9 Preview 3 Brings All-in-One Search Improvements

Visual Studio 2022 - 17.9 Preview 3 Brings All-in-One Search Improvements

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Last week, Microsoft released Visual Studio 2022 17.9 Preview 3 version with significant enhancements to the Code Search, also known as the All-In-One Search, feature. Now this preview update significantly improves the search experience, enabling developers to explore any word or character string throughout their solution. Other changes are related to Xcode 15.1 support, additions to Microsoft Teams toolkit and other bug fixes.

The search feature extends to include local variable names, words in comments, parameter names, or any other character string embedded in the codebase. Users seeking a more specialized text search encounter are advised to explore additional options available in Find in Files, with shortcuts Ctrl+Shift+F and Quick Find (Ctrl+F), which also provide expanded functionalities.

In the default Code Search interface (Ctrl+T or Ctrl+,), exact text matches, such as comments and local variables, are now included, with a note that text results are deprioritized compared to files, types, and members.

As explained in the original blog post, developers can access a text-only view by employing various methods. They can click on the text (x:) button located below the search box, prefix the search query with x:, utilize the keyboard shortcut Shift+Alt+F, or navigate to the menu option Edit > Go To > Go To Text

Within the text-only interface, developers can further customize their search using options to toggle Match caseMatch whole word, and Use regular expressions, conveniently located on the right side of the search bar.

(Different options on the search bar for text-only experience, Source: Microsoft DevBlogs)

Notably, full-text support in Code Search is now a default feature in the Preview channel, starting with version 17.9 Preview 2. However, as reported the feature may not be universally enabled in Preview channels; users can manually activate it by navigating to Tools > Options > Environment > Preview Features > Plain text search in All-In-One Search, with the note that this improved feature will also be accessible in the main release with version 17.9, available as a preview feature.

Furthermore, the development team revealed that the full rollout may require user activation in certain instances, as indicated by the discovery that the feature might not be fully deployed by default in Previews channels. Users are encouraged to proactively enable the feature through the provided manual steps if necessary.

The community's feedback on this release is mostly positive. Some users suggested useful features for developers that are currently missing, like a search for endpoints and filter options, and a way to ignore lines with comments. Another user liked the new search features but found having multiple of them not intuitive or friendly. Community members also suggested having a single search and replacing the panel with tabs for a better solution. 

Other notable changes include Xcode 15.1 Support and API fixes, the addition of Teams AI Bot template within Microsoft Teams Toolkit, and general bug fixes. Developers interested in learning more about this and other releases of Visual Studio can visit release notes for other updates, changes, and new features around the Visual Studio 2022 IDE.

Lastly, Microsoft and the development team encourage users to provide feedback and share suggestions for new features and improvements, emphasizing their commitment to constantly enhancing the Visual Studio experience.

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