Microsoft extends open source push with developer productivity tools

Microsoft's open source push continues as the company has open-sourced its Visual Studio Productivity Power Tools and made them available on GitHub.

First released in 2010, the tools serve as extensions for improving developer productivity. "Making the current set of tools available to the community is important to us, and we hope it will also inspire developers with concrete examples of what can be achieved with extensions of their own," said Justin Clarebert and Michael Dick, Microsoft senior program managers for Visual Studio, in a jointly issued bulletin. Microsoft encourages contributions to the tools as well.

Tools being open-sourced include:

  • Align Assignments, for aligning assignment statements
  • Copy As HTML, which puts raw HTML onto a clipboard in plain text format
  • Fix Mixed Tabs, which warns when a file contains both tabs and spaces
  • Ctrl+Click Go to Definition, for clickable hyperlinks to symbols in code
  • Match Margin, which highlights textual matches of token in Editor
  • Middle Click Scroll,  for scrolling quickly through a document
  • Peek F1, which provides help content inline
  • Structure Visualizer, for visual cues syntactically signifying code blocks
  • Syntactic Line Compression, which improves screen usage
  • Timestamp margin, which adds time-stamp data to Output window in debug mode

Microsoft plans to make other Productivity Power extensions available as open source in the future.

This move continues Microsoft's efforts in recent years to boost its profile in open source, where the company had once been widely viewed as an opponent. Microsoft earlier this month joined the Eclipse Foundation for open source tooling. It also has offered ChakraCore, the core of its JavaScript engine, andits .Net Core framework via open source.

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