Tag Archives: Visual Studio

C++: The oldest new kid on the block

TastyNobody could have failed to notice the recent resurgence of interest in the C++ programming language. In particular, the recent Build conference was the most we’ve seen Microsoft talking about C++ for several years. Why has a language that’s been languishing in the “prehistoric irrelevance” category for so long suddenly come back into vogue?
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Calling MSBuild tasks with F#

The other day I was trying to understand some strange behaviour in msbuild with regard to how it resolves referenced assemblies. I thought I’d try directly invoking the tasks that are used during the build, specifically ResolveAssemblyReference, so that I could experiment with them in F# interactive. It turned out to be pretty straightforward.
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Generating and plotting random numbers

For a while now I’ve been planning to write a blog post about pricing financial instruments using Monte Carlo techniques in F#. As part of this I needed to generate normally distributed random numbers, and while putting together the code to do it I realised it was interesting enough to warrant its own post.

I’m making use of a few F#/.NET idioms to make the process easier. For instance, sequences (.NET’s IEnumerable) are used as the source of uniformly distributed random numbers. Also, to verify that the resulting numbers are actually normally distributed, we can easily use existing WPF/silverlight controls to visualise the values direct from within Visual Studio, in a manner similar to this previous post – but without having to write the plotting code ourselves.
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Installing Windows SDK breaks F# Visual Studio integration

Beware! If you install the Windows SDK – perhaps to get access to the interesting looking WPF performance tools – you’ll find that it hoses your F# Visual Studio integration. I found that it causes intellisense tooltips to stop appearing, and the integrated F# interactive to crash Visual Studio. Both of these issues are a real pain; especially the inability to see the inferred types “live”, which is pretty much essential for F# development – where the focus is on compile time correctness.

I remembered seeing a post on that Windows SDK blog that I’d come across relating to a similar issue with the XAML editor (I’ve been doing some work with WPF recently, more on that in a later post) so thought I’d try the steps they recommend, in short, re-registering TextMgrP.dll:

regsvr32 "%CommonProgramFiles%\Microsoft Shared\MSEnv\TextMgrP.dll"

…and all my problems went away. Hope you find this useful.

Visual Studio Toggle Brackets Macro

After using a F# heavily for a while, I often found myself wanting to add brackets (or rather, parentheses) around some text. This is normally when adding a type specification to an argument in order to be able to use dot notation, e.g. going from:

let typeName t = t.Name

which causes “error FS0072: Lookup on object of indeterminate type based on information prior to this program point”, to the correct:

let typeName (t:Type) = t.Name

(These are obviously simplistic examples!)

So I broke out the Visual Studio macro editor for the first time in a while, and put together something to toggle brackets around the currently selected text. It’s naive, but, combined with Shift+Alt+Left Arrow to select the previous word, it’s effective:

Public Sub AddBrackets()

Dim s As Object = DTE.ActiveWindow.Selection()

If s.Text.StartsWith(“(“) And s.Text.EndsWith(“)”) Then

s.Text = s.Text.Substring(1, s.Text.Length – 2)


s.Text = “(“ + s.Text + “)”

End If

End Sub

Copy this text into a module within your macro project, and assign a suitable keystroke using Tools|Customize|Keyboard.