Wednesday, May 7, 2008

.Net IDE

When I started work with .Net several years back, I started out with Web Matrix. This only supports Framework 1.1 but it was sufficient to get me working, however, it lacks the intellisense. Then I found other free IDEs that help with my work such as SharpDeveloper. This was better and it provide a limited intellisense capability. SharpDeveloper had its own project files so was in a way similar to Visual Studio. However, the problem I had with it was if I was to add reference to an assembly it memorizes it. So if I was to refer to my custom assembly and then decide to recompile that assembly, it was necessary to go and remove it from the reference.

Snippet Compiler was also a very nice IDE which again provide some limited intellisense. However, when Framework 2.0 was released, majority of the IDEs broke.

For a time, I could not find any good IDE but finally Microsoft came out with the express edition for Visual Studio 2005. Currently there is also a Express edition for Visual Studio 2008. The express edition of Visual Studio provided most of the functionalities of Visual Studio with some limitations.

Main limitations are:
  • Instead of everything in one, you have different packages
    • Web design
    • Windows/Console app (1 for VB and 1 for C# and 1 for C++)
  • WorkFlow capability is removed from VS 2008 express.
However, if you are just looking for a good IDE to help with writing the code then I think it is more then sufficient. I love using the ability to open a folder as a website and then just writing the code. This is useful when I want to do some quick programming without bothering with projects and solutions. You can then use either command prompt to compile or use a tool called NANT to compile your codes.

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