Something really cool happened today!
A new tool called Sitecore Rocks has been released in a CTP (Community Technology Preview) version – a early sneak peek. The tool, although a little rough around the edges, really shows a bright new future for Sitecore development, a future where we as developers do not need to muck about with browsers interfaces, only to connect our code, .NET pages and user controls into Sitecore. Now we can stay within in the tool we use and like, Visual Studio.
Together with the Team Development for Sitecore module from Hedgehog, this tool looks to be a must-have in the Sitecore developer toolbox.
In short, Sitecore Rocks is a Sitecore editing environment in Visual Studio. The environment naturally does not contain the complete set of features of the Sitecore content editor, but is focused on the features we as developers use. This includes for example:
- Quick and easy navigation in the content tree and on the item editor.
- Multi-item editing.
- Linking Visual Studio project to Sitecore, and automatic creating of layout related items in Sitecore from your .NET files.
- Live Sitecore log viewer.
- Job viewer allowing you to examine running tasks in Sitecore.
- Edit rich text fields in Visual Studio HTML editor/designer.
- Easy interface for layout management.
In my view, the tool is very nice and definitely a vision of what’s in store for us as developers, but the tool is still in the early phase and still has a lot of unused potential. Personally I feel that one of the most promising features is the ability for everybody to extend the functionality, and hopefully this will create a flood of shared source plug-ins with really useful features. Of the top of my head, I can mention countless possibilities, so drop a comment if you have a lot of time on your hands 🙂
The tool is available through the Visual Studio 2010 Extension Managers Online Gallery – just open it up in Visual Studio and search for “Sitecore” – or download Sitecore Rocks from the MSDN: