Until the release of Visual Studio 2010 and the Oslo Modeling platform, dealing with your code visually is either the province of 3rd party tools or you can choose to use the Class Diagram tool in the current edition of Visual Studio.
Until recently I had been favoring the latter approach. Technically, I still am, but I just stumbled into an addin that greatly extends the reach of the tool. PowerToys for the Class Designer and Distributed System Designer is freely available from CodePlex.
After installation, the Class Diagram tool is enhanced with several new features, including:
- Pan/Zoom window for the Class Diagram (similar to Visio and other applications)
- Find in diagram search
- Use the Windows Forms designer/layout commands to align modeling elements
- Floating property grid for your class
- IE-like mouse scrolling
- Double-click to create comments in the diagram
- Optionally display a positioning-grid in the designer
- Export diagram for the web
- Documentation tool window (for XML Documentation)
- Content Filtering
- Highlight all members of an interface displayed on the lollipop
- Drag inheritance and association lines from one diagram item to another
Overall, the features provided greatly enhance the functionality provided by the Class Designer. Click here to download or learn more about the tool.
A couple of screenshots taken from the product’s documentation:
Figure 1- Floating Properties Window
Figure 2- Pan & Zoom Window