blogged about the IDE


the other day… since I am a writer for MSDN and other places, this a topic that I’ve thought about quite a bit… sadly, the only real solution seems to be posting code that works with both situations (VS.NET and non-VS.NET) because posting code that doesn’t work well in the Windows Forms designer is a bad-experience for people using VS.NET and designer-generated code produces a bad experience for those who are not using VS.NET.

Web Matrix makes this even more interesting as now there are multiple IDEs from Microsoft that might require different code samples/downloads to illustrate the same topic…

To me this is very similar to the idea of posting code in both C# and VB.NET for every article… it is a good idea, but I don’t always have the time to produce two versions, so I pick one. Same with the IDE vs. no-IDE, I pick one… and actually I don’t always pick the same one. It generally depends on what I am building and who it is for. VB.NET programmers, in general, use the IDE, especially for Windows Forms, so I will provide them with a project file and all that generated code.

On the other hand, the code I wrote for the Dr. GUI .NET columns (I’m not Dr. GUI, I just write code for him sometimes) was aimed at people trying to understand the framework, so it was written targetting someone with a text editor and csc/vbc. I wish there were more times when it was easy to do both, but that generally only happens when I do console or library apps; I wrote some MSMQ articles for MSDN that had the vbc and csc command lines as a comment in the first line of each code file, but also included a project file… and I think that would have worked well for both “types” of people. I wrote lots of code in my book that was aimed at the command line compiler, in an attempt to keep it simple and avoid confusing the beginning programmer with the IDE, but I think it was a mistake; command line compiling just isn’t a good experience for a new developer who isn’t used to it already.

What do you think I should do about these issues (IDE and language, go ahead and fire away) for my writing? And, while we are on a IDE-related topic, what about the visual tools for building database code? I never use them, I never drag and drop a connection, a data-adapter, or anything like it onto my Forms. So I never use them in my articles. They seem cool enough though, and lots of people like them… I’ve just had something against wizard-generated code ever since my Fox Pro 2.6 days, and I think my internal “control-freak” is appeased by writing all my data access code by hand… am I crazy? Should I use the tools, do you use them?