This issue on the Spark discussion board inspired several tweaks to my Visual Studio setup. Gordon and I have found these quite useful, so we’d thought we’d share them here.
First, I made a couple registry files to give Spark templates a spiffy icon.
Visual Studio gets its icons from the same registry setting used in Windows Explorer. So all we need to do is register the file extension and associate it with a default icon.
You can download the SparkFile.zip package I created from Codeplex. Place the .ico file in C:\Program Files\Spark, and run the two .reg files, and you’ll have a nifty spark icon inside Visual Studio.
(All the usual caveats apply regarding modifying your registry.)
Next, I created an item template to use in the Visual Studio Add New Item menu, using this guide to creating item templates.
You can download my SparkVSTemplate.zip package from Codeplex as well. Place the SparkVSTemplate.zip file in
My Documents\Visual Studio 2008\Templates\ItemTemplates\Visual C#\Web and you’ll be able to create a basic template from the VS menu. You don’t need to unzip it.
Finally, I wanted to apply the standard syntax highlighting used for HTML pages.
In Visual Studio 2008, go to Tools | Options, then choose Text Editor, then associate files ending in
.spark with the HTML editor.
This will set all the colors properly. Unfortunately, it will also flag any Spark-specific attributes or elements as HTML validation errors. I figure this is a small price to pay for proper syntax highlighting.
I’d really like to get intellisense working for Spark. Though I tried the Visual Studio Integration Package, it won’t work right outside of VS Web projects. Syntax highlighting seems like the best I can do for the moment.
If you’ve got other tips and tricks for using Spark inside Visual Studio, I’d love to hear them.