Visual Studio 2012 Find/Replace With Tagged Expressions

If you ever wanted to do some heavy duty find/replace options in VS 2012, you’ll find yourself needing to use the Regular Expressions option.

One of the most useful things you can do with it is called Tagged Expressions, or backreferences.

Unfortunately, nearly all the online documentation on this is completely wrong.

So I’ll just give a little example.  I’m doing some refactoring, and I have lots of blocks of code that look like this:

Using com As New SqlCommand("SomeCommandNameHere", conn)

and of course each line like this has a different command name.  I want to change the code above to look like this:

Using com As System.Data.IDbCommand = dbProvider.CreateDataCommand()
com.CommandText = "SomeCommandNameHere"

So to achieve this, I use the find/replace below.  You can see that I have to escape a number of characters in the FIND and I’m matching the command name with (.*).  The  () wrap each tagged expression, not { } like all the documentation says.  In the bottom, I just reference the result by saying $1 for the first tagged expression (not \1 like msdn says).

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SlowCheetah config transforms

I’ve been using this tool for some time on a number of projects.  SlowCheetah allows you to transform your config files at build time based on the build type.  So when you do a Debug build, you can include values that are meant for your dev environment, while at the same time doing a Release build will use values meant for production.

Very nice.