Microsoft and Developer Express are announcing availability of Refactor! for Visual Basic 2005, a free plug-in that provides refactoring to Visual Basic 2005 developers.
Refactoring enables developers to simplify and restructure source code, thus making it easier to maintain. "It's a way of moving code around and doing certain automatic edits to the code that enable you to take code that you've worked with for a while and reshape it in such a way that it makes sense," said Jay Roxe, product manager for Visual Basic at Microsoft.
Microsoft found that refactoring was a sought-after feature by developers, but the company decided two months ago to seek out a third party, Developer Express, to provide this functionality, Roxe said. "[Developing the technology ourselves] would have taken significant engineering time and probably would have jeopardized other features on the [upcoming] product," he said.
Visual Basic 2005 is part of the Visual Studio 2005 platform, which is due to ship later this year. Developers, however, can use the refactoring plug-in with beta 2 of Visual Studio 2005.
The Developer Express plug-in was described as very intuitive by Roxe. "It works directly in the editor. It's very graphical in terms of how you perform the various operations," he said.
Refactor! for Visual Basic 2005 can be downloaded at Microsoft or Developer Express.