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VS.NET 2005 – Brief thoughts

I meant to post this yesterday, but sleep caught up with me.

Nick Parker asked me what I thought of VS.NET 2005 and what turned into a small comment reply became too large for me to want to post there so I’ll just outline what I wrote/was going to write.

This is fairly lengthy, so use the more link below if you’d like to continue reading.

My first thoughts about VS.NET 2005 (VS.NET from here on) is that it sure does load slowly. It seemed like it took forever for that splash screen to go away. Hard to say if it was really slow or just trying to load up large files. My laptop doesn’t have the fastest hard drive so any time large amounts of file access is going on the whole machine slows down.

In brief, the Windows Forms Designer defaults to something that looks and acts very similar to the Dialog editor in classic MFC apps. I think this will be a love-hate relationship for me as I’m just too used to working with the classic design.

The designers also felt it was neccesary to redesign the layout for the default locations of the toolbox, solution explorer, and properties windows. When I repositioned them I got to see the new controls introduced to make it much much easier to move the windows around and dock them or add them as tabs. It took about 30 seconds of playing around but this feature is wonderfully implemented and should have been there to begin with. Too bad its something you’ll probably only have to do once now that you can save your configuration to a file.

Among the new Windows Forms controls added, I was surprised to see that my MenuExtender will be made obsolete. MS has introduced several new controls to update the UI to match what has been used by many MS applications since OfficeXP. Included are several Strip controls: MenuStrip, ToolStrip, ContextMenuStrip, and StatusStrip. I didn’t get to play with them much, but it is certainly nice to see MS do this. The designer for these need a little bit of work, I added a ContextMenuStrip to a simple app and while adding new menu items worked well, it didn’t perform well when I wanted to edit those items. Too often it wouldn’t show me which item I selected or worse it would show a different item as selected.

On the upside, the existing MainMenu and ContextMenu controls work just fine, and they even fixed the bug with regard to using an owner drawn ContextMenu with the NotifyIcon class.

Except for the new menu/toolbar controls probably the most requested feature has been a managed web browser component built into the framework so that it should work under most circumstances. The WebBrowser control is there and it does work, but I have no need for a web browser control in my current apps so I don’t really have anything to test it with.

When I created a basic console application I didn’t see much new there, except the code editor has been revamped. Intellisense now pops up as soon as you start typing, which at first I thought was annoying but when I got to think about it everything I wanted to type was in the Intellisense list: keywords, local variables, everything I thought of was listed. So as long as one doesn’t mind the list popping up it could be a good thing.

In addition to the new Intellisense, there are also some provisions to what Microsoft calls expansions, where typing just a few letters then tabbing or pressing enter will cause it to be replaced by something else. Many text editors have this already, EditPlus has had it for as long as I’ve used it.

There it is, about 15 minutes of testing written up in two hours.

Nick also asked if I had plans for some articles about it…yes I do. Currently I’ve got a series of 4-7 articles in mind, but first I’ll need to do some research to make sure writing those articles doesn’t violate the EULA for the Technology Preview. Then I’ll get more in-depth on what those articles will contain.


About James

I am a Senior Developer/Consultant for InfoPlanIT, LLC. I previously spent over 7 years as a Product Manager for what eventually became ComponentOne, a division of GrapeCity. While there, I helped to create ActiveReports 7, GrapeCity ActiveAnalysis, and Data Dynamics Reports.


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