Wednesday, December 28, 2011

VSColorOutput - Visual Studio Output Coloring Extension (Think "Adding color to the Build/Debug Output window text")

Blue Onion Software - VSColorOutput - Visual Studio Output Coloring Extension

VSColorOutput provides color highlighting for the build and debug output windows in Visual Studio. I wrote it to highlight trace output in debug output window. I found it made it easier to find trace messages I was interested in during debug sessions.

It also highlights build errors and warnings. Here's an example:



Download and open the VsColorOutput.visx file. VSColorOutput supports Visual Studio 2010/2011. You can also find it in the Visual Studio Extension Gallery. To uninstall, go the Tools|Extensions page, find VSColorOutput in the Installed Extensions and click uninstall. Registry entries are not removed so later installations will reuse these settings.

How does it work?

VSColorOutput hooks into the the classifier chain of Visual Studio. This allows VSColorOutput to monitor every line sent to the output window. A list of classifiers, consisting of regular expressions and classifications is checked. The first matching expression determines the classification the line of text. If no patterns match, then line is classified as BuildText.

From here, Visual Studio does the heavy lifting of mapping the classification to a color. Colors are stored in the registry.




CodePlex - VSColorOutput

VSColorOutput is a Visual Studio 2010/2011 extension that adds color highlighting to Visual Studio's Build and Debug Output Windows. Errors are in Red, Warnings in Yellow, build headers are Green.
Custom match patterns can be added. Colors can be modified.

Developed in C# and NUnit.


This is one of those extensions that prove hindsight is 20-20. That the first time you see this you go, "Wow, that should SO be in VS"

And the best of all? The source is available too. :)

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