Build Announcements

Visual Assist 2024.1 release post

The first release of the year is here with Visual Assist 2024.1. This update is headlined by the overhaul of our parser, which significantly reduces users’ initial startup times for projects. Also in this release: key behavioral fixes for a few or VA’s navigation features, a UI update for the ubiquitous dropdown toolbar, and a plethora of bug fixes and QoL improvements.

Download the release now and get the benefits of VA 2024.1.

Significantly faster initial startup time

va initial parse startup speed update

Initial parse time is defined by how long it takes Visual Assist and Visual Studio to become fully active, starting from the moment a new file is loaded up for the first until it fully completes its initial parse (i.e. all features loaded and functional.)

Startup times just got extremely buffed in the first release of Visual Assist this year. The initial project parsing that Visual Assist executes when opening projects for the first time has now been significantly reduced. An example Unreal Engine project, when opened for the first time, used to take 15 minutes; it now takes just under two minutes instead! This is a huge improvement, and you will see this reflected in all projects that are opened and parsed.

More testing is underway to provide a better and more accurate performance number, but the developer team has found excellent results in their tests so far. Reports show a trend of having significantly reduced parse time for a sizable Unreal Engine project—with results averaging up to fifteen times faster initialization.

Update on Initial Parsing Time: More Testing Results

More testing results for Visual Assist’s updated parser are in! Here are the results:

Initial parsing time is defined as the point where the Visual Assist starts parsing up to the end where it completes it. This project used the latest Visual Studio 2022 version as of Feb 10 (VS 2022 17.8.6) on the Lyra sample game project provided by Epic Games. Two performance benchmarks on two different devices were done using the same methodology. 

Device 1  (High-end Desktop PC)

Run 1Run 2Run 3Average
Visual Assist 2024.10:01:130:01:050:01:060:01:08
Visual Assist 2023.60:11:550:11:570:12:420:12:11

Device 2 (Gaming-class laptop)

Run 1Run 2Run 3Average
Visual Assist 2024.10:02:120:02:170:02:100:02:13
Visual Assist 2023.60:29:370:28:520:30:090:29:33

Both test runs show very exciting results for the overhauled VA 2024.1 parser over its immediate predecessor VA 2023.6.

The test showed an average 1075% faster parse time using a high-end desktop PC; and 1333.08% faster parse using a powerful albeit relatively less performant gaming laptop. That’s 11 and 13 times faster, respectively. 

There is variance in the advantages gained between the two devices, with a significant performance edge on the less powerful laptop. We suspect the gains could be much larger on low and mid-end computers or laptops.

Curious to see how VA 2024.1 performs on your platform? Download a free trial of Visual Assist and try it for yourself now.

Navigate directly to a class constructor definition from an explicit constructor call

This neat addition to VA’s find reference and go to reference features allows users to find and navigate to a class’s constructor definition from a call to that constructor. 

Highlight or click over a constructor and use the shortcut Alt + G to navigate instantly to the default constructor.

Improved and expanded header selection when using Add Include

This release greatly improves VA’s Add Include detection and expands the number of actual includes supported. 

If you have not used this feature extensively VA can automatically add includes directives for you if it detects you are using an undeclared feature or type from a known library such as STL or even your own code elsewhere. Specifically, this update adds many new types baked into C++ such as std::stringstream and std::once_flag.

In essence, using Add include should automatically insert the correct include under many more circumstances.

Code completion dropdown toolbar now displayed by default 

The coding completion toolbar will now be turned on by default and will be displayed more frequently. This new quality of life change brings a visual UI as you write code. VA tries to predict your intended actions so the options shown will always be contextual apart from being accurate.

Furthermore, when you type code, the code completion UI will be shown by default regardless if you are hovering your cursor over the current portion of the code.

code completion toolbar visual assist

The code completion toolbar is displayed as you type code.

For very large projects and long source code, you can use the filter options (highlighted in the screenshot above) to select which options are shown in the new toolbar.

Bug fixes and improvements

For this release, we have severak fixes—both from examining recent features and user reports. The most notable of these improvements include functional visual changes to a plethora of features and better parser recognition of Unreal code.

  • Fixed visual issues with completion dropdown toolbar
  • Fixed issue where trial activation dialog could display an error and prevent activation
  • Fixed issue with new “Magic Numbers” detecting Code Inspection where it was highlighting only a portion of the constant
  • Fixed issue where logging could overflow and cause a crash when enabled alongside very large solutions
  • Fixed issue where preprocessor directives in shader files were sometimes colored as methods
  • Fixed issue where Unreal Engine Create***Subobject symbols were not recognized by our parser
  • Fixed issue where changing the signature of an Unreal Engine method which requires a *_Validate thunk would result in rewriting the return of the *_Validate thunk to void.
  • Fixed issue where typing a dot the start of the word in a few of our dialogs would result in no hits being displayed

Many thank to those who submitted their suggestions and error reports. Please continue reporting problems you may find along the way. To report bugs, you can send us a message or start a thread on the user forum.
You can also check our download page to update to the latest release manually. Happy coding!

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