Visual Studio Orcas Class Designer

Unfortunately I’m not about to divulge Microsoft’s plans for the Visual Studio Orcas Class Designer but rather discuss some enhancements that I’d really like to see included in the Orcas release of this wonderful addition to the Visual Studio environment. If you agree with any of these suggestions then I would encourage you to surf on over to the MSDN Product Feedback Center and then vote on the suggestions. The FDBK numbers below are hyperlinked to the suggestions within the Product Feedback Center.

FDBK24225    Display Custom Attributes on Class Diagrams

Class diagrams should show custom attributes adorning the types shown within class diagrams, including those adorning the fields, methods, properties, events, etc. Custom attributes could be shown within the class diagram using either a language specific notation (e.g. [Serializable] in C# and in VB) or in a language neutral notation not too dissimilar to UML stereotypes.

FDBK23744    Visual Differencing of Class Diagrams

With most UML tools I’ve ever used from IBM/Rational Software and other vendors, there hasn’t been an ability to perform differencing at the diagram level although this would be an exceptionally powerful feature. I’ve seen this feature implemented in IBM/Rational Software Architect 6.0 although this is the only tool that I’m aware of that provides support for visual differencing

FDBK23695    Class Designer Interface Realization Association

It would be nice when the interface is shown on the class diagram in its class form rather than the lollipop notation for a dashed realization association to be shown and optionally hidden if the diagram becomes too chaotic.

FDBK23743    Support for Design Pattern Wizards in Visual Studio Class Designer

This was a feature that was really useful with Rational XDE for Visual Studio 2003, the ability to apply design pattern wizards for the Gang-of-Four design patterns; especially if the wizard infrastructure allowed for extensibility with other pattern wizards provided either by the developer themselves or by Microsoft and third parties.

FDBK11348    Visual Debugging using Sequence Diagrams

Not directly related to the class designer which shows static code structure, but what would be an excellent debugging tool (similar to the Visual Trace tool in Rational XDE for Visual Studio 2003) is the ability to generate sequence diagrams showing the execution path for a set of types that are ‘watched’ in a given debugging session.

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