If you downloaded Visual Studio 11 Beta, and tried to create a new ASP.NET MVC 4 empty project, looking at the “Scripts” folder, you’ll see this new file “_references.js”:
Which looks like the following:
/// <reference path="jquery-1.6.2.js" />
/// <reference path="jquery-ui-1.8.11.js" />
/// <reference path="jquery.validate.js" />
/// <reference path="knockout-2.0.0.debug.js" />
/// <reference path="modernizr-2.0.6-development-only.js" />
The VS <reference /> Syntax
The Resharper Way
If you are using Resharper 6 or so, Resharper will give you intellisense from all files in the project. Generally speaking this is a good thing, but it has two drawbacks:
- When you type the first letters of a member, the intellisense menu will bring so many results, because it will include all possible members from all files in the project, even the ones completely unrelated to what you are doing now. The way Resharper tries to make this less severe, is that it tells you which file it picked every intelisense item from.
The Visual Studio 2012 Way: Or The _references.js File
In VS 11, Visutal Studio will give you intellisense from all files that have references in the “_references.js” file. This way you can define the global / common files you use all the time. This might include some library files like jQuery, or some files you use everywhere in the project like some internal utilities files.
For related files, you can use the “<reference >” syntax on top of every file to connect them (from intellisense point of view).
Note that there is only one _references.js file for each project. It doesn’t work like web.config where you have have web.config files in site folders affecting only those folders. An _references.js file in any other location than “~/Scripts/_references.js” will be just like any other JS file and won’t be used for global intellisense. Even putting the file in the root of your web project will not work as well.
You can pick specific files, or use the “~/path-to-file” to use a path relative to the root of your web project.