Explore project dependency diagram
With ReSharper, you can explore project dependencies in your solution having a visual presentation of the solution architecture.
The Architecture view opens in a new editor tab and allows visually exploring project dependencies and comparing the current state of the solution to snapshots taken earlier.
Open project dependency diagram
In the Solution Explorer, select one or several projects, one or several solution folders, or the solution node.
Right-click the selection and choose Show Project Dependency Diagram or choose in the main menu.
The Architecture view opens in a new document tab showing dependencies for the items that you selected initially.
The initially selected items are also checked in the left part of the Architecture View, which lists all solution items. You can check other items: they will appear in the diagram and the corresponding links will be added.
If necessary, you can change grouping of items using the Group by selector in the toolbar:
None - all projects are displayed without grouping.
Solution Folders - projects are grouped by solution folders.
File Structure - projects and solution folders are grouped by the file system structure.
Understand links between projects
ReSharper builds the diagram in two steps:
Build the dependency diagram based on the project references.
This step is done automatically when you open the diagram and it takes almost no time even for large solutions.
Perform the coupling analysis to calculate numbers of usages in the referencing project.
This step is resource-intensive and can take up to several minutes, but it runs in the background. The progress of the analysis is reflected on the status bar at the top of the Architecture view .
The state of the coupling analysis corresponds to the state of the Enable Coupling Analysis button. The coupling analysis is a resource-intensive process and may affect performance on large solutions. If you experience any lags when working with the diagram, you can use this button to disable the coupling analysis, adjust the diagram as needed, and then enable the analysis again. The analysis algorithm first calculates the coupling of the displayed projects and then processes projects hidden from the view.
Links between projects in the diagram can be displayed in the following ways:
Black solid line
Shows that there is a project reference between the two nodes.
These lines are used when coupling analysis is either in progress or disabled, so the number of usages between projects is unknown.
Blue solid line of specific width
The coupling analysis is over for this reference and at least one usage exists in the referencing project. The line thickness represents how many times types of the referenced project are used in the referencing project. If you hover the mouse over a reference, this number appears in the tooltip.
Appears when the coupling analysis is over and means one of the following:
Green solid line
The reference is missing in the snapshot but it exists in the solution. Can only appear if the Show Diff button is on.
Red solid line
The reference exists in the snapshot but is missing in the solution. Can only appear if the Show Diff button is on.
Show and hide items
You can show or hide specific solution items (projects, folders, solution folders) in the diagram using check-boxes for the corresponding items in the left.
There are also several ways to show/hide items right from the diagram area:
To select some items in the diagram and hide others, Ctrl-click items you want to select, then right-click the selection and choose Selection | Show only selected modules.
To select two linked items, right-click the link between them and choose Selection | Show only selected modules.
To hide an item, you can select it in the diagram and press Delete.
Another way to focus on specific items is to display the dependent or referenced projects and hide all other items. To do so, select one or more items (projects or grouping items), right-click the selection and choose Show This/These and Dependent/Referenced. Note that these commands only hide the irrelevant items and do not add any referenced/dependent nodes, which are currently hidden.
To display all items referenced by or dependent on the specific projects, even if these items are currently hidden from the view, select one or more items and choose Selection | Add referenced/dependent modules.
If necessary, you can reverse changes made in the diagram (shown/hidden projects) step by step by clicking Undo or pressing Ctrl+Z. To reverse the Undo commands, click Redo or press Ctrl+Y.
Pan and zoom the diagram
To pan and zoom the diagram, use the controls in the upper left corner of the diagram area. Alternatively, you can pan the diagram using your touchpad, scroll bars or click anywhere in the diagram area outside the diagram items and drag while the hand cursor is shown. You can also use the mouse wheel for zooming.
Rearrange items on the diagram
The diagram layout is calculated automatically, but you can change it if necessary: all items can be moved. To move an item, first click it to select, and then click and drag it while the cross cursor is shown.
Group projects on the diagram
Using the Group by selector, you can group projects by solution folders or by file system structure. The grouping applies both in the left part and in the diagram.
If necessary, you can collapse and expand grouping items in the diagram in one of the following ways:
Click the down arrow in the left top corner of the grouping item. When collapsed, the sign changes into an up arrow, which you can click to expand the item.
Select a grouping item in the diagram and press Ctrl + Left Arrow and Ctrl + Right Arrow.
Click Collapse Graph and Expand Graph on the toolbar to collapse or expand all grouping items.
Analyze project references
To learn more about the usages of types from one project in another, select the corresponding link between the projects and press Alt+F7 or right-click and choose Show Usages. ReSharper will show the usages in the Find Results window.
If the coupling analysis is over for a specific reference and ReSharper highlights it as unused (with a dotted line), you do not need to switch from the diagram to remove the unused reference — just select it and press Control+Shift+R or right-click and choose Refactor This. Then press Alt+Delete or click Safe Delete Assembly Reference.
Detect possible architecture problems
If you are trying to follow the best practices in solution architecture, your application probably has the layered structure with separate layers that communicate with each other.
The Show possible paths button allows you to find out whether the application layers are designed correctly, not only in terms of grouping, but also in terms of communications between the layers. In short, when the button is on, you can see whether two specific projects have a path between them consisting of other referenced projects that are currently hidden from the view. These paths are shown in green dotted lines. The button is only enabled if there are hidden intermediary projects that would link any two of the currently displayed projects.
To illustrate the way it works, consider the following example:
Imagine that we have a large solution and are now analyzing the 'Services' architecture layer which is represented by the corresponding solution folder. We show the two projects that we are interested in, others are hidden:
The two projects do not have direct project references between them, however, if we enable the Show possible paths button, we'll see that there is a path between these projects through other projects:
To see how these two projects can depend on each other, we right-right on the path link and choose Show path. The intermediary projects appear on the diagram, and we can see that they all are in another layer:
Based on this information, we can see that the application structure may need to be reworked.
Export diagram to a file
At any point of exploring dependencies, you can use the following toolbar button to export the diagram to a file:
Click Export Diagram . In the Save As dialog that opens, you can choose how to export the diagram using the Save as type: selector:
PNG — exports the current view of the diagram to a PNG image.
XML Paper Specification — exports the diagram in the XPS format, which you can use to print a large diagram.
GraphML — exports the diagram in the GraphML format, which you can use for external analysis or for importing it back to ReSharper.
If you have a diagram in the GraphML format that you have exported from ReSharper or form another tool, you can import it. To do so, select from the main menu or click Import Diagram in the project or type dependency diagram, and then select a *.graphml file with the diagram.
Compare saved snapshots to the current solution state
At any time you can save a snapshot of the current state of your solution to a file and use it for future references. To do so, click Save Architecture Graph on the toolbar and then choose where to save the snapshot file.
You can load and study saved snapshots later by choosing .argr.in the main menu and selecting a diagram snapshot file
The snapshot will open in a new editor tab, and you will be able to see differences between the current state of the solution and the state saved in the snapshot.
If the dependency diagram was opened from file, the Show Diff button becomes available and toggled on by default. You can use this button to show or hide the differences between the snapshot and the current solution state.
Toolbar controls of the Architecture view
Use this list to select criteria for grouping To-do items. Several options are provided:
Reverses changes made in the diagram (shown/hidden projects) step by step.
Reverses the last Undo operation.
Turn Coupling Analysis On/Off
This toggle button allows enable or disable the coupling analysis, which is performed in the background. By default, this button is on and the analysis is started as soon as you open a new diagram. The coupling analysis is a resource-intensive process and may affect performance on large solutions. If you experience any lags when working with the diagram, you can use this button to disable the coupling analysis, adjust the diagram as needed, and then enable the analysis again. The analysis algorithm first calculates the coupling of the displayed projects and then processes projects hidden from the view.
Hide/Show Transitive References
This toggle button allows you to show the transitive references between projects, which are hidden by default to simplify the diagram without losing its architectural structure. For instance, if you have project references
Save Architecture Graph
Saves the dependency snapshot to a file. For more information, see Explore project dependency diagram.
This button is only enabled when the snapshot displayed in the view differs from the current solution. Click the button to compare the state of the solution in the snapshot with the current state.
Collapses all elements in the diagram.
Expands all elements in the diagram.
Show possible paths
When the button is on, you can see whether two specific projects have a path between them consisting of other referenced projects that are currently hidden from the view. These paths are shown in green dotted lines. The button is only enabled if there are hidden intermediary projects that would link any two of the currently displayed projects. For more information, see Detecting possible architecture problems.
Export to PNG
Click this button to save the visible part of the diagram as a PNG image file.