Working with Sitecore Rocks
Sitecore Rocks is a Visual Studio 2010 extension that allows you to edit content, templates, and layouts without opening the Sitecore Content Editor in a browser to maintain your entire solution using the tools that developers are used to, in a fast and efficient development experience.
The environment logically does not contain the complete set of features of the Sitecore content editor, but is focused on the features we as developers use. This includes for example:
Quick and easy navigation in the content tree and on the item editor.
Linking Visual Studio project to Sitecore, and automatic creating of layout related items in Sitecore from your .NET files.
Live Sitecore log viewer.
Job viewer allowing you to examine running tasks in Sitecore.
Edit rich text fields in Visual Studio HTML editor/designer.
Easy interface for layout management.
We can get it from the Visual Studio Extensions Page.
Then just launch the file and follow the installation instructions.
After we have downloaded and installed the Sitecore Rocks Visual Studio plug-in, we will have access to a Sitecore toolbar with the options needed to make a new connection and access some features as the Sitecore explorer.
The first thing we will have to do is to make a new connection and then take a look into the Sitecore explorer, there we can have access to all the Sitecore items available from the server, and some interesting features that will allow us to experience a faster development experience using some functionalities such as the Search bar, that allows to find items or fields along the entire content solution, locate an specific item and show it in the content structure, another very cool feature is that we can select multiple items and edit all the common fields among them in once, and to do that we will use the integration with the Visual Studio Designer, this features becomes forward in proactivity and productivity.
We can also have access to the log viewer to read the logs directly from Sitecore applying filters to check and monitor the log and find issues in the solution, this could be set-up to refresh itself in some shorts periods of time depending on what we need.
Here we have a tool that allows us to not only edit the content or templates, but it allows also to set-up the layout assignment directly from this interface.
The tool is very nice and definitely a vision of what is available for us as developers. In my opinion I feel that one of the most capable features is the ability for everybody to extend the functionality, and hopefully this will create abundance of shared source plug-ins with useful features.