15 January

Code completion suggestions via IntelliCode comes to C++ in Visual Studio 2019

Last week, Microsoft announced in a blog that IntelliCode code completion suggestions will come to Visual C++ in Visual Studio 2019.

There are some common usage patterns that occur after coding for some time. For example, an open stream will be closed eventually. When a string is used in the context of an if-statement, it is usually to check if the string is empty or has a certain size. Developers identify and use these coding patterns over time. IntelliCode already knows these common patterns and can suggest them to the developers as code.

With the help of machine learning, IntelliCode trains over thousands of real-world projects which includes open-source projects on GitHub. So, IntelliCode will be of most help to developers when using common libraries like STL. IntelliCode saves time by putting most used items on the top of the IntelliSense completion list.

On using the IntelliCode extension for a while, starred items will begin to appear at the top of Member List. They are IntelliCode recommendations.

In a future release of the extension, Microsoft will give C++ developers the ability to let IntelliCode learn from their own code. They are also considering adding C++ IntelliCode support to Visual Studio Code. This is a welcome feature for developers, as it saves them time.

A comment on Hacker News reads: “That’s very nice and I’ll probably be using it a lot, after VS2019 will stabilize (it’s just a preview now). However, the fact that this thing works so well, says a lot about the design of C++ standard library. They should have encapsulated the pair of iterators into a single structure, and implement implicit casts from vectors/arrays to that object. Requiring to type begin/end every single time is counterproductive.


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