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Visual Studio adds ability to edit code in All-in-One Search

Just one more wafer-thin feature to pop in Microsoft's swelling dev suite

Microsoft has added the ability to edit code while in Visual Studio's All-In-One Search user interface.

The feature is included in Visual Studio 2022 17.3 Preview 2 and follows changes to search functionality in the development suite. At the start of the year, Microsoft introduced indexed Find in Files to speed up the already rapid searching (compared to Visual Studio 2019 at any rate).

The indexed Find in Files fired up a ServiceHub.IndexingService.exe process on solution load or folder open which scraped through the files to construct an index. Worries that the indexer would slug performance like certain other Microsoft indexing services were alleviated somewhat by the use of Below Normal operating system priority.

In April, with Visual Studio 17.2 Preview 3, a new All-In-One search experience turned up, which merged both the existing Visual Studio Search and Go To functionality into an unhelpful pop-up window in the IDE.

It's fair to say the idea was not universally well received as users requested that the Visual Studio team "stop wasting [their] time with searches," remarked that they "don't understand what is wrong with the current search," and wondered "if the VS team works on anything other than adding new searches."

Slightly ominously, one user said that they "would prefer if Visual Studio just follows how VS Code has implemented its search."

Visual Studio Code is the open-source elephant in the room, considerably less weighed down by the requirements of its sibling's legacy. VS Code regularly tops the charts of favored developer tools, with the full-fat Visual Studio trailing behind. As one user noted last month: "I will open VS only for the good old Winforms designer…"

So what to do? Keep on adding stuff to Search, of course! The new feature is intended to allow developers to edit code directly in the search window via the familiar editor experience (think IntelliSense and Quick Actions). One can configure the code/results arrangement to be vertical or horizontal or simply turn off the code preview altogether.

The new search experience remains a preview and must be enabled via Tools > Options > Environment > Preview Features. Having taken the functionality for a spin, we can confirm it works at described and was positively handy when it came to dealing with massive solutions. However, we doubt it will do much to stop developers jumping ship for something a bit less bloated when presented with the opportunity. ®

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