Managing Large Graphs

The DGML dependency graph feature of Visual Studio 2010 include some state of the art WPF based technology for virtualizing and navigating large graphs, but I’m seeing customers still push this technology to the limits with some very large code bases.  By default the dependency graph features work best for code bases up to about 50,000 lines.  If you need to visualize dependencies in solutions larger than this then you need to use some of the tips and tricks that I take you through in this video (MP4)

This includes:

  • Garbage collection (2:00)
  • Filtering (2:23)
  • Limiting scope to selected assemblies (4:47)
  • Drilling into specific links (3:30)
  • Cut & Paste (5:20)
  • Untangling dense graphs using Quick Clusers, Neighborhood Mode and Butterfly mode (6:25)
  • Quick Grid mode on cancelled layouts (10:52)
  • Removing boring nodes using Find dialog with regular expressions (14:05)
  • Finding important nodes using “Hide Unselected” (16:08)
  • Splitting huge graphs into separate linked documents (17:02)
  • Custom reference attributes (18:23)

Architecture Explorer

The Architecture Explorer in Visual Studio 2010 allows you to navigate through all sorts of interesting relationships in your code.  It also allows you to create new Directed Graph Documents so you can visualize whatever relationships you explore and it provides a nifty ability to save and replay those queries using DGQL.  

I have posted a new Video (WMV or MP4) that shows how it works and below you will find a link to the DGQL queries that I used in this video.   I hope you enjoy the show. (1.25 kb)

Standard Dependency Graphs

Vice President of the Developer Division, Somasegar, posted a blog about architecture tools in Visual Studio 2010 including some interesting dependency graph screen shots.

So to follow up on that I have posted a new Video (WMV or MP4)on Beta 2 bits that demos how this dependency graph feature works in more detail, and the video is a lovely big HD resolution (1280 x 720) so you can really see what’s going on.

When I show this to customers the reaction I get is excitement followed by “finally, I can see the big picture” of my code.  Customers often find big things to improve in their code in the first 5 minutes of browsing with this tool.