Next Visual Studio XML Tools

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Microsoft XML Team posted a series of screencasts unveiling some new features in Visual Studio Orcas 2008. Short ones, but to the point, without blablahblah. I particularly like XML Editor ability to generate stub XML document from XML schema in just one tab click. Oh, and XSLT debugging is getting better and better. Data breakpoints is a great feature.

Ok, done with sweet part. Black hat on. XSLT debugger still must be run using separate obscure button, called "Debug XSLT", which even has no keyboard shortcut. Hitting F5 will obviously start debugging C# or whatever actual project is. That sucks.

Every debugging menu item works for XSLT debugger, except well, "Start Debugger". I made this mistake zillion times - working on XSLT, want to debug, hit F5, getting C# debugger. Oh, wait, no I meant this button, where is it? That's wasted time. But come on, you are in C# project, that's why F5 starts C# debugger.

My solution to the problem is dedicated XSLT project type for Visual Studio I'm building in the IronXSLT. Separating is good here. The whole project is XSLT-centric, including of course F5 button. In XSLT project F5 will naturally start XSLT debugger.

Another painful point. Derek says his favorite XML Editor feature is "Go to definition":

One of my favorite 'hidden' features is goto-definition. Position the cursor on an element in a document with an associated schema, and F12 will jump you to the part of the schema that governs that element. I occasionally get some very complex customer schemas. F12 can also be used to navigate with-in a schema, from an element declaration to the declaration of it's type, or to the base type declaration. When the schema spans megabytes and multiple files, this is invaluable.

Call me a freak, but I hate "Go to definition" feature in Visual Studio XML Editor. Not because I think going to the definition is bad idea, but because it fools me too many times. It's useful feature when editing XML, but terrible joke when editing XSLT. And 80% of time spent in XML Editor I'm editing XSLT. Huge XSLT stylesheet, call to some template: <xsl:call-template name="go-find-me-template"/>. I want to see the template. Click on "go-find-me-template", F12 - Boom - XSD definition for xsl:template element. That sucks.

I mean it's not fully done. XSLT Editor must override "Go to definition" command and provide meaningful implementation. Currently it's wrong. Nobody wants to see XSD schema for XSLT. It's like when hitting F12 on a variable in C# code being shown C# grammar rule.

Again, I'm going to fix it in the IronXSLT. Not sure if I can override default "Go to definition" command, but at least I can provide my own, which will actually be useful in XSLT.

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