How Snip-It Pro handles snippets better than Visual Studio

I recently got the following email about Snip-It Pro:

It would be interesting to me (as a Visual Studio user) to see a comparison of Snip-It Pro and the out of the box Code Snippet Manager that is part of visual studio...Why should I use Snip-It Pro?

Great Question.

Snip-It Pro was built using Visual Studio and it is my preferred editor of choice. There are actually two types of snippets in Visual Studio and I have problems with both of them.

The first one is Intellisense Snippets. These types of snippets are way too difficult to create. Take a look at this tutorial. You need to create an xml file with a specific schema and then import it into Visual Studio just to get it to show up. If you want parameters in your snippets, the xml is even more complex.

With Snip-It Pro, all you need to do is drag text to the folder you want to create the snippet in. If you want parameters, just surround the text with double square brackets.

With Visual Studio, when you want to use these Intellisense snippets, you either have to remember a shortcut to the snippet or multi-click through the entire list of folders every time you want to use a snippet. (right click, insert snippet). This leads to lots of clicking, even if all you want to do is see what snippets you have available.

With Snip-It Pro, you can leave your folders open and easily what snippets you have available and don’t have to reopen folders every time you use them. You can assign a hot key in Snip-It Pro as well, but it will work in any application, not just Visual Studio.

The other type of “snippet” in Visual Studio, are the text snippets you get by dragging text into the toolbar in Visual Studio. This style of snippet is closer to the UI of Snip-It Pro, but it is very rudimentary. You can change the name of the snippet, but not much else (and changing the name of the snippet makes using it the only way to see its content). You can’t have multiple levels of folders, or parameterize the snippets themselves. Plus there is no good way to share or search these snippets.

With Snip-It Pro you can nest folders as much as you want since the folders themselves are just file folders in Windows. You can even point to snippets on a network share so your entire team can work with the same snippet collections.

Snip-It Pro allows you to specify more than just the content of the snippet. You can tag it with key words, add notes and comments, even add a reference url (which can automatically be added as a comment when your snippet is used). You can even search your entire code library in seconds using the built in search feature.

And I haven’t even mentioned the biggest strength of Snip-It Pro against any type of Visual Studio snippet:

“Snip-It Pro works with almost any application, Visual Studio Snippets only work in Visual Studio.”

As much as I love Visual Studio, it is not always the right tool for the job. I personally use Visual Studio, SQL Management Studio, Expression, Dreamweaver, Textpad/Notepad++, Microsoft Office almost every day, and other tools as well. Snip-It Pro works with all of them. I like having all my code snippets in one place.

Snip-It Pro even works with most web browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox. You can just drag and drop code you find online into a Snip-It Pro folder and it automatically tracks where it came from so when you go to use it, you can go back to the original site for guidance.

We also have a couple of other features that Visual Studio doesn’t have:

  • Clipboard Monitoring – Snip-It Pro tracks the windows clipboard, turning everything you cut or copy into a snippet
  • Integration with Snipplr – Browse and Favorite snippets on this code snippet sharing site and they will show up in Snip-It Pro. You can even publish directly to Snipplr right from Snip-It Pro.
  • Automatic Commenting – Automatically comment a unique ID, reference url, the user ID and date time a snippet was used. 

Hopefully that answers that great question.


Why you need a Snippet Management Tool

Want a Free Snip-It Pro License Key?