Code search tool – Entrian Source Search7
I’m always on the quest for better coding tools, and a new one I’ve been playing with for the last couple weeks is a code search tool called Entrian Source Search. It is a Visual Studio plugin that maintains an index of your code base for rapid search results. Not free – $29/dev after a 30-day trial.
How does it work?
When you open a solution for the first time, you are prompted if you want to create an index and if so which path(s) you want to monitor.
I especially liked the option to “Share another solution’s index”. It is those little details that show a project’s maturity.
Why not just use the built-in Find in Files?
- Indexed searches are exceptionally faster
- Highlighted results are easier to skim
- A results grid that shows the matches in the same place instead of just dumping them at the end of a path
- When folders/files/lines are repeated, the entries after the first are grayed out a little which is a nice visual cue of repetition
- Right-click context menu with several convenient refinements/actions
- More keyboard shortcuts (the way to my heart)
- Searching your code base (instead of your solution) will pick-up all those hard to find usages in configuration files, reflection usages, etc. that may get missed otherwise. Yes, you can configure Find in Files to search folders – but have you?
See for yourself:
What about other tools on the horizon?
I’ve been using TextCrawler for a long time, and it is still my tool of choice to run a search without bringing up Visual Studio. It is free and runs quick, but the UI could use some love (e.g. keyboard shortcuts, respond to window size changes). This tool is unfortunately not very active (sad trombone).
What I’m really interested in watching is Sando. I’ve been trading e-mails with its lead David C. Shepherd and they come to the search game with an intent to go far beyond a simple grep. Out of ABB Research and with the help from some developers in the community they are building an engine that prioritizes search results, offers auto-completion and is focused on research-driven functionality. Sure it will support an exact match search like the others (*yawn*), but what it does that makes it stand apart is fuzzy searching like a true search engine. The concept is amazing for discovery in a new code base, or all of those times you can’t exactly remember what you called that method. It currently only searches code files within the solution which is a deal breaker for me, but I’m excited to see how the product evolves as it is very active and growing. If you’re looking for an open source project to join (besides CodeMaid of course 😉 ) – then I would definitely encourage you to take a look at Sando (source on CodePlex) and be a part of its future. It is available on Visual Studio Gallery if you want to give it a whirl or check out their new website for more details.