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Visual Studio Extension Tracks Project History

A new version of the extension adds support to Visual Studio 2012; it originally supported only Visual Studio 2013.

 

Microsoft has created a Visual Studio extension that provides history tracking for projects. The extension could end up saving developers lots of time due to its ability to roll back to earlier versions of a solution.

The "AutoHistory" extension was first released several weeks ago. In its original incarnation, it only worked with Visual Studio 2013 projects. The latest update, released Monday,  adds Visual Studio 2012 support.

A blog posting from Mark Wilson-Thomas, a Visual Studio program manager, explained how the extension works:

"...whatever you do to your projects and solutions, it silently and efficiently tracks the changes you make to any files that you have opened in the Visual Studio Editor. Then, when you find yourself in need of back-tracking to an earlier version of one or more of your files, you can find your way back to it."

Once installed, the Auto History tool can be found in Visual Studio in View/Other Windows/Auto History. Every five minutes, it takes a snapshot image of all files in your solution open at that point in time. It also takes snapshots on opening, closing or reloading a file.

AutoHistory doesn't interact with source code control systems like Git. But it even has benefits there, Wilson-Thomas blogged: "For a source code control user, the extension is useful because it keeps a history of your files between Source Code Control checkins".

In version 1.1 of AutoHistory, users reported issues with loading and installation, which was traced to a "strong name validation" failure. That problem was solved with version 1.2, which also added Visual Studio 2012 support.

AutoHistory, according to the download site, doesn't support Visual Studio Express, and doesn't save snapshots to disc until Visual Studio is closed. Thus, Microsoft warns, "...it is not a substitute for saving your work."

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.

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