I am participating in Google Summer of Code again this year and I am working on VB .NET support for SharpDevelop. In the .NET world VB .NET is one of the most used languages. SharpDevelop has only support for VB 2005. With VB 2008 and 2010 Microsoft has introduced a lot of new features previously only available in C#. In comparison to its C# support, SharpDevelop's VB .NET support is rather poor, but VB has a bigger userbase than C#.
VB .NET is especially interesting to people with little programming experience, because it is easy to use and easy to learn. Combining this with powerful tools available in an Open Source IDE like SharpDevelop makes it even better.
What I plan to do
- code completion "when you type"
- code snippets
- refactorings and code generators
- block statement highlighting
- improved syntax highlighting
What I am working on
Currently I am working on getting the foundations for all these features ready. Basically I am adapting the parser and code completion engine to the new VB syntax constructs. After this is done I will start working on better code completion support.
Martin is working on ReSharper features for SharpDevelop. I will be closely working together with him this year, to make all features available to VB .NET users too.
A first preview of the block statement highlighting:
All block starts and ends will be highlighted when moving the caret on the end or start tag. It is not finished yet, because there are still bugs and modifiers are not yet highlighted.
Please give feedback on my work, because your feedback helps to make it even better. You can try the VB .NET features here. (Take a look at the VB .NET branch.)
If you ever missed any feature (in Visual Studio or elsewhere), please
comment this blogpost. If it is good, I will implement it.