ok i’m a little bit late in jumping on the whidbey bandwagon. Figured it was time to get going and see what exciting things I’m missing. Considering my past with the .NET framework, ASPFree.com was the first website to run the .NET framework back in july 2000 in the pre-pdc release. No visual studio, no intellisense, no web matrix just visual notepad, a lot of reading docs and a command line compiler to get stuff work, people used to call me crazy!. VS.NET 2002 beta was coming along at the time but was a real pile in pre-alpha days. Man were those painful but exciting days. I was really blind to all the pain being in a pre-beta or pre-alpha was all about. That is quickly coming back but man o man VS.NET 2005 pre-alpha release is pretty decent but still is causing quite a bit of grief. Learning new ways can be painful but hey, wouldn’t be fun if it just worked.
I’m going to really complain and say it took me four years to be converted to use those stupid code-behind pages in VS.NET , now MS goes back and gets rid of them by default. For the purist who actually knows what generic’s are and all the other really complicated stuff most newbie developers don’t (me included). I do agree with separating presentation from actual code. I used to be one of those people who said code behind was joke, created extra files and was a PITA to migrate from one machine to another. Now what does MS do, they go back to a more inline code samples. Now re-learning what I used to like really sucks, as it stands now i’m trying to do a simple dropdownlist box to a look up table in sql 2000 database. I can’t even get that to work. OK for those going oh steve, just do a search or look in help. The help isn’t exactly working, I think that is some fix but it’ll get installed later. This has the same feeling as my early days, bugs galore but I’m not going to even blame MS. They CLEARLY state, ONLY install VS build on a machine that can be re-formatted and installed from scratch. To my ignorance or really high hopes my machine wouldn’t be affected, i installed on my laptop and now my outlook express is fried, will read mail but won’t send emails. I can’t post stuff to my blog, for those wondering, i remote desktop to another machine and post this stuff.
I really like what VS.NET has done as far as publishing webpages. For those who know me, I’m an administrator or try to be somewhat a security guy. One of the biggest holes for security is frontpage extensions (IMO). My first impression of VS.NET 2002 was, ok you have this great tool but all I can do to publish is use these stupid frontpage extensions. Sure I’m going to install Frontpage extensions on a internet facing production web server, NOT!. Give me this great developer tool but still rely on 40 year old technology to publish great code that was done in VS.NET. They did also provide mapping UNC paths but ok sure, I want all my developers to publish via UNC path to several development web servers. OK sure! That ain’t real scable in the real world. Along with the really insecure frontpage methods of publishing webpages, VS 2005 FINALLY include FTP publishing similiar to homesite and macromedia editors among others. Brovo MS, this is a HUGE improvment in publishing works. Even includes SSL support. There are many other items but this feature includes the stuff that Web Matrix has built in! Thanks MS…I’m sure someone on the MS team who does Frontpage extensions truely hates my opinion on frontpage extensions. Nothing personal!
Another *interesting feature* of VS .NET 2005 is these *little* web servers that are built into VS.NET. not sure if these are going to be useful or not. There are a lot of issues integrating *local* copies of a website into IIS that comes with WinXP or W2k3. I tried viewing one of the webpages that I was developing and had a few of these annoying little sessions in my task bar. The jury is still out on this feature but on a scale of 1 to 10, this rates about a 3 in annoying factor. I haven’t played enough to give a strong opinion either way so its cool for now!
In conclusion, it might appear that my first experience is really rocky with VS .NET 2005. Of course its going to be, but I’m clearly aware of the pain it can cause along with all the time rebuilding machines. I really like the new items such as, whiz-bang website templetes is done to have a database driven website in minutes. VS.NET 2005 isn’t even in beta 1 yet, but things are looking promising. Its 1000 times better than the early betas of VS.NET 2002. For now, i’m going to continue playing around trying to get my “content generator” program up and going. For those who can just review products without having something real to work on, I envy you. This content generator is going to allow me to have a web-frontend, create articles and store them in a database. With a little .NET service yet to be written, will pull the content from the database and create a static website. All I have to do then is maintain the database of content. With a *magic* button re-create the website back to static pages. For those who want real articles written by professionals Check out these links.
( written by a real developer G. Andrew Duthie)
( written by Michiel van Otegem genius who runs ASPNL.com)