Posts in category .net - page 24

Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 Beta experiences

Like most people I’ve run into my fair share of oddities and problems in Visual Studio 2005 including the dreaded VB compiler dying a death on reasonable-sized projects so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the beta of SP1.

There are several versions of the service pack including one for Visual Studio 2005, one for each of the Express editions and one for the Team Foundation Server. My experiences here are with the 350MB SP1 beta for Visual Studio 2005.


The first major gripe is with the installer itself. It’s slow, it needs 2.5GB of free space to apply the SP and it doesn’t tell you to uninstall Web Application Projects until several minutes in so make sure you:

  1. Don’t need to use Visual Studio 2005 for about 25 minutes
  2. Have uninstalled Web Application Projects (you can keep Web Deployment Projects tho)
  3. Have over 2.5GB of free space once the installer is on your system

If you’re short of disk space you could try turning on the Compress contents option on c:\windows\installer if you don’t mind waiting a little longer.

What’s New?

Web Application Projects are now built in!

What’s Fixed?

The list of fixes is quite comprehensive although many of the KB articles state ‘Info Not Yet Available’. It also includes all the previous hot-fixes to VS2005 (many of which are available on request only).

There are some interesting ones regarding performance of large C++ and VB.NET projects/solutions.


If you feel like giving it a shot head over to to MS Connect and grab it but be quick, the beta ends October 31st. The beta is available in English and Japanese only.


Visual Studio tips & tricks

The Visual Studio IDE (VS2003, VS2005) is a massive beast with a plethora of options, settings and tweaks to be had.

A few of my favorite, often overlooked ones, are:

Adding existing folders

The Add > Existing Item… is all well and good for adding files but how do you add folders to your project?

Specifically folders you’ve already dropped in place, ideally with all the files and sub-folders added.

Simple: Click the Show All Files button at the top of the Solution Explorer_pane then right-click the folder you want included and choose _Include in Project.

Visual Studio 2005 C# Navigation bar window

Speed up large C# projects

VS2003 and 2005 can be sluggish at times especially with large projects.

To get a much-needed speed boost head over to Tools > Options… > Text Editor > C# and uncheck Navigation bar.

Install the C# snippets

On occasion I find simple example snippets of C# code ending up on the front page of DotNetKicks despite Microsoft providing an entire snippet library of C# code to do these things already.

Head over to their download site, install the MSI then choose Tools > Code Snippets Manager… > Visual C# > Add… and enter the folder name that it popped up with post-install.

Open folder in Windows Explorer

From time to time you’ll need to break out of Visual Studio into Windows Explorer and wondered why there is no right-mouse button context menu option available from Solution Explorer.

Just open the file from inside Visual Studio then right-click on the tab and choose Open Containing Folder.


QuickReminder mini-app – Time based reminders in your system tray

Screenshot of QuickReminder in actionWhether it’s a meeting for a specific time or remembering to stop the tea brewing in 7 minutes time (lovely tea from Adagio Teas that deserves it’s own blog post) events often whiz by without me noticing. I’m not great at time based background threading… but a computer is.

Sure I fire up Outlook (which I don’t use any more), iCal (Only open when I need it) or Google Calendar, create a new event, choose the type, choose which day and time it occurs at and mentally do the math in my head for 7 minutes from now taking the seconds into consideration…. but that’s distracting enough I think “No, I’ll just remember” and I don’t.

What I want is to make a few clicks to set-up an event – ideally based on previous ones such as another “Green tea brew”. I don’t want audio alarms just a pop-up silent balloon that completely disappears with another single click.

Inspired by App-A-Day I thought “what the hell” and wrote it.

Download QuickReminder (.NET) with full source (29KB).

The source includes a few useful snippets including how to:

  • Access icons/resources in your Resource.resx file without casting or resource managers
  • Make your app register/un-register for automatic startup in Windows
  • Access configuration settings without casting or setting managers
  • Launch a URL from a label
  • Make your system tray based application start-up without a form showing on-screen

Have fun,


App-A-Day & SubSonic

Screenshot of WPM Tray in action


Self-proclaimed Code Jedi Dana Hanna is on a mission to destroy his personal life by writing an application every day for 30 days.

There are a few great apps in there and all come with source – the ones I checked out were in C# :)

Some of my favorites are:

  • WPM Tray – display you word per minute count graph. Also a demonstration of how to hook global key-presses in C#
  • Jedi IRC – a small IRC application as a Visual Studio plug-in – both interesting things to see done in C#
  • Mouse Heat Map – get a display of where your mouse lives on your desktop! :D

I must confess these tiny fun apps have inspired a couple of my own that I’ll hopefully knock up and post at some point.

SubSonic – The Zero Code DAL

In other news SubSonic has come on a lot having addressed all the major issues apart from still being ActiveRecord based over DataMapper pattern. (If you haven’t seen it before check out the 20 minute screen-cast)

Rob, the brains behind SubSonic, has been interviewed over at the DotNetRocks podcast and I recommend giving this one a go – don’t let the first 5-10 minutes of warm-up and ads put you off.

He’s also put together a starter site solution you can pick-up from the same place which has some useful bits.