Posts in category .net - page 21

How to spot a Visual Studio 2005 SP1 installation

If like me you have a couple of machines, a few virtual machines and secondary installations such as Express editions (for XNA of course) you can easily loose track of which have been patched with service pack 1. Especially if you also messed around with the SP1 beta.

Help > About from Visual Studio 2005 can tell us – cryptically…

No service pack – Version 8.0.50727.42 (RTM.050727-4200)

Service pack 1 beta – Version 8.0.50727.363 (SP.050727-3600)

Service pack 1 – Version 8.0.5727.762 (SP.050727-7600)

Thanks to Rikkus and Gringod for providing their about dialogs!

Burge points out that clicking Show updates inside Add/Remove Programs reveals the SP1 update nested beneath Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 xxx Edition – although it doesn’t tell you if you still have the beta installed.

[)amien

Eight things I hate about Visual Studio 2005

While Visual Studio is quite a capable IDE it isn’t perfect – here is my personal top 10 list of things I hate about it. I’ve kept the gripes to the IDE itself – the issues I have with .NET Framework deserve a post of their own some time.

1. Go To Definition does not work between languages

Sometimes your solution has to be a mixed language one – you know the odd VB.NET class library that nobody wants to rewrite in C#.

Hit Go To Definition on a call to this library however and you won’t find yourself there in the VB.NET code – oh no it’s straight to the Object Browser for you.

2. IntelliSense ignores aliased name spaces

Name spaces were introduced to help reduce name collisions but occasionally you need to use both classes with the same name. You get two choices in .NET – you can either fully-qualify them making your code incredibly verbose and difficult to scan through or you can use an aliased name space – e.g. using SNM = System.Net.Mime;

Annoyingly IntelliSense will always use the fully qualified name even if you start with the alias. Typing SNM.ContentType content = new will trigger off IntelliSense to unhelpfully suggest System.Net.Mime.ContentType().

3. Dependent-upon project items aren’t usefully exposed

.NET 2 brought partial classes to the table and Visual Studio made a stab at using them for the Form designers by sticking the generated code in a .Designer file that nests below the file in the Solution Explorer.

This is achieved by the .Designer file gaining a <DependentUpon> tag to link it to its owner. If you want to use this for your own generated files you’d better get used to editing project files in Notepad because the IDE won’t help.

4. The SDK/AddIn API is awful

If you feel like addressing any of the shortcomings in Visual Studio you can extend it using their SDK which allows you to write your own AddIn – providing you can get your head around the most obscure and awful API ever.

5. Not all project types support automation

Some of the less popular project types (e.g. Database) don’t support the parts of the automation API they are supposed to.

This means if you’ve managed to get your head around the SDK you now find all your hard efforts don’t always work.

6. The syntax editor does not support italics

Why oh why doesn’t the syntax editor support being able to italicize a font? I’d much prefer my comments displayed in italics. If Borland’s Delphi supported it in the 90’s why can’t Visual Studio 10 years later?

My Envy Code R programming font fakes italics for use within Visual Studio!

7. Document tab area doesn’t like staying still

The document tab at the top of the screen is where you switch between the various documents. The only problem is it jumps up and down depending on how many tool bars as standard the designer/editor for that file type has so you switch once and then end up hitting a random tool bar button if you quickly decide to move on to another file.

8. No re-distributable elements

Want to put syntax highlighting in your product? Better go buy some third-party components.

Visual Studio style docking? Third party-component.

Sure you can license the basic Visual Studio IDE for your own languages and code – providing you have very deep pockets.

Wrapping it up

I’ve downloaded the January CTP of Orcas but I doubt it will address any of my bug-bears.

What would be cool is an open-source IDE for .NET development written in .NET that exposes the syntax highlighter and parser trees with a much better plug-in system and the Office 2007 style ribbon.

I wonder how the SharpDevelop guys are getting on…

[)amien

LINQ in C# Web Applications

I’m a big fan of the Web Application type that was previously available as an add-on to Visual Studio 2005 but thankfully got promoted to a standard citizen with Service Pack 1.

So with a little more time on my hands lately I’ve been delving into the wonder that is LINQ – part of the forthcoming Orcas release of technologies.

For those who’ve been living under a rock LINQ is a set of extensions to .NET that let you perform queries on objects in much the same way you would do on a database with SQL (except the syntax is backwards by comparison).

Now while the LINQ Preview CTP installs LINQ projects for C# Class Libraries, Windows Applications and Console Applications it inconveniently misses-out Web Applications!

You can drop this ZIP file in your %UserProfile%\My Documents\Visual Studio 2005\Templates\ProjectTemplates\Visual C# to gain a new ASP.NET LINQ Web Application project type for you to start with as often as you like as shown:

Window of the LINQ To SQL templates available

Or if you want to modify an existing Web Application simply:

  1. Open up the .csproj file in Notepad and replace <Import Project=”$(MSBuildBinPath)\Microsoft.CSharp.targets” /> with <Import Project=”$(ProgramFiles)\LINQ Preview\Misc\Linq.targets” />
  2. Add project references to: System.Data.DLinq System.Query System.Xml.XLinq

Hopefully more LINQ related posts as I get to grips with it.

[)amien

My 2006 development tools

Christopher Bennage wrote about his development tool set-up and encouraged others to do the same so here’s my current set-up.

Daily tools

  • Visual Studio 2005 – IDE of preference despite it’s sluggish behavior
  • SQL Server 2005 Management Studio – Took getting used to but it’s an improvement on 2000’s Enterprise Manager
  • AnkhSVN – Subversion support inside Visual Studio 2005
  • .NET Reflector – Searching .NET API or to find out what it’s doing
  • Web Application Projects – Stop using VS’s web sites and start using web applications!
  • Web Deployment Projects – Deploy to dev, test or live servers as easily as building a project

Not quite daily

  • CodeSmith – Need to get to grips with v4 to build our whole database layer in one hit
  • Trac – Bug tracking, milestones & wiki with integrated support for Subversion
  • TortoiseSVN – Check-in/out of non-project items (e.g. art assets)
  • Web Developer Extension – Trying CSS changes on-the-fly, validating pages etc. from Firefox
  • Firebug – Examining pages, the page DOM etc. from Firefox
  • KDiff – Excellent 3-way diff tool that works great with AnkhSVN
  • Subtext – Blogging system running here

On occasion

  • Visual C# Express and XNA – Messing with 3D graphics, controllers and pixel shaders
  • Ogre – Steve’s object-oriented 3D engine
  • Xcode and Cocoa – Still quite alien with it’s message-based calling mechanism but obviously powerful

Keeping an eye on

  • Eclipse – IDE for developing Java (C++ and C# support in various stages too)
  • Ruby on Rails – Interesting RAD approach to web development – Apple also supporting on Mac OS X 10.5
  • Sandcastle – Microsoft’s documentation tool that already seems to have had an impact on NDoc
  • SubSonic – Build-provider that generates an ORM on the fly and provides automatic developer-only db editing pages

Not used lately, still installed

  • Delphi 5/6 – Borland’s great RAD tool for non-.NET development, later versions support .NET too
  • JBuilder – Java development although I’d probably move to Eclipse
  • Visual Studio 2003 – Still required for the odd .NET 1.1 application/testing

[)amien