Development environments, in short: IDE (Integrated Development Environment) often offer many useful tools, widgets, extensions, etc. in a sometimes unmanageable framework. If you just want to program quickly, you don’t necessarily need them, but for longer-term projects they make the work much easier.
One tool I would not like to miss is the Task List.
What do I need this for?
The benefit is relatively easy to see: you don’t always have the time and leisure to expand every function to its full extent. Often one prepares one’s code with methods that are supposed to serve a purpose later, but one does not want to interrupt the current writing flow and continues hacking the basic framework. A TODO here, a HACK there, you will find your approaches easily later.
The use of a task list is also extremely useful in a team: If you are not working alone on the program and, for example, are preparing the code for someone else, you only need to add comments at the appropriate points and a second person will know where to add or change something.
Open and use the task list
In Visual Studio it can be easily displayed under View -> Task List and docked as a window into the environment at the desired location. The list itself can be filled with TODO comments. For this simply
// TODO do impressive stuff here...
and it appears in the list. The entry is non-case sensitive, so it doesn’t matter if you write the ToDo, TODO or tOdO.
However, the task list in Visual Studio goes beyond simple TODO clauses and can be extended as required. Predefined terms for Visual Studio are:
- TODO – specifies a task to be solved
- HACK – indicates a workaround
- UNDONE – indicates a reversal or reset of previously changed or updated code
It is also easy to define simple terms. How to do this can be read on the Microsoft site (click here for more information).