Bing Developer Assistant Released

Bing Developer Assistant takes code searching to another level, searching well over 19M code samples, and adds contextual help and better error resolution from within Visual Studio.

A stable version of the Bing Developer Assistant has been released, according to a blog post from Shabbar Husain, a rogram manager with the Bing Experiences team. The developer-oriented search tool was percolating in beta testing since August, and adds a number of newer, more expanded features, such as contextual help and improved error resolution.

Bing Developer Assistant originated as a project called Bing Code Search from the Microsoft Dev Labs portal, a community built by Microsoft that offers early work-in-progress views of projects from Microsoft's Developer Division. The solution was renamed when the team melded Bing Code Search with another project, Sample Browser, one of the more popular Visual Studio Gallery app that originated from Dev Labs that centralizes browsing of code samples from MSDN that has a social media component for sharing samples with other developers.

The version of BDA released this week adds Bing Contextual Help that can be accessed through the VS code editor through a right-click menu. Once the menu is invoked, a Bing search is performed that displays code samples and related links to MSDN resources, as well as StackOverflow, Dotnetperls, and Csharp411. The contextual help expands to another new feature, the Contextual Compile Error Assistant, wherein a developer just right-clicks on a compilation error in an Error List window to view Bing Contextual Help for that error.

While errors could be copied/pasted to another search engine like the more popular Google, Husain writes that the idea here is to streamline the process without the developer having to step out of the programming environment: "You often manually modify the query to include all the relevant context like Visual Studio version, .NET version, project type, and language. All this work takes you out of your code and into the chaos of search results."

While it's not explicit, BDA works with C# only. It's integrated right into the Visual Studio IDE, and is available in the Visual Studio Gallery for Visual Studio versions 2012 and 2013.

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