Those of you who are actively developing Windows Forms application may wonder what will happen when Avalon/WPF is ready. Will you have to rewrite your user interfaces completely in XAML? When and how will you have to migrate?
Mike Henderlight from Microsoft gives you hints with his presentations about Crossbow, which is a piece of technology to build hybrid Windows Forms and WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) applications.
Crossbow is part of the WinFX SDK and will be included in the February CTP.
- Introducing Windows Forms - WPF Interoperability
- Feb 2006 CTP announcement on Crossbow
- Slides from PDC 2005
- Video "Crossbow" - Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation Interoperability
NDoc is a very useful open source project that generates reference documentation from .NET assemblies and the XML documentation files generated by the C# compiler (or an add-on tool for VB.NET). NDoc generates documentation in several different formats, including the MSDN-style HTML Help format (.chm), the Visual Studio .NET Help format (HTML Help 2), and MSDN-online style web pages, which is much better than just the XML file we get from the compiler...
Unfortunately, NDoc has not been ported to .NET 2.0 yet. There are some commercial tools available - not even sure they offer support for .NET 2.0 - but I think support for generating and integrating documentation should be built in Visual Studio. Josh Ledgard (lead program manager at Microsoft's developer division) writes about this problem, and asks how Microsoft could lend a hand to NDoc and other non-MS developer tools. This is an interesting question. Make sure to read the discussion in the comments.
To get back to NDoc, if ever someone could help Jonas Lagerblad make progress...
Update: Kevin Downs - main developer of NDoc 1.3 and the titular admin of the project - writes in a comment that he is working on NDoc 2.0 and has an alpha version available for testers.
Update: NDoc 2 development stopped. Microsoft releases Sandcastle.
Via Larkware: Microsoft has released MSBee Beta 1.
MSBee means MSBuild Everett Environment. Everett beeing the codename for .NET 1.1, MSBee is an extension for MSBuild that allows developers to build managed applications in Visual Studio 2005 that target .NET 1.1.
A small limitation to know though: "At this time, we are not planning to add IDE support. Since MSBee will be a shared source release, the potential is there for the community to provide this support.".
Update: Bruno Baia made the test, and yes, you can compile directly from VS 2005 if you add the following line after the existing import tag in a project file:
<Import Project="$(MSBuildExtensionsPath)\MSBee\MSBuildExtras.FX1_1.CSharp.targets" />
IntelliSense and help still present .NET 2.0 information, but this is not a big deal. I think the above statement about the missing IDE support is not clear at all.
The lastest edition of the How-To-Select Guides for .NET developers has been published. This time the subject is object-relational mapping tools for .NET.
This guide contains a brief discussion on object-relational mappers, lists decision points, authors and products, and provides a feature comparison table.
I was interviewed for this guide and you can read my "informed opinion" in it.
As a reminder, I have published an article that presents the criteria to consider when selecting an object-relational mapping product.
PageMethods generates a list of your page methods in an XML file at compile time. This metadata file is then used to generate code you can invoke through the MyPageMethods namespace.
The first version of PageMethods for Visual Studio 2005 supported the only web project model available at that time: the Web Site model. In this model, a custom build provider takes care of the XML file and generates .NET code.
The latest version of PageMethods supports the Web Application project model as well. But a web application being a "class library" - and not strictly a "Web Site" in Visual Studio 2005 terms - build providers cannot be used in this case. Two solutions were possible: create an MSBuild custom task or a Visual Studio custom tool. I chose the latest, as it is easily integrated within Visual Studio and it works with Visual Studio 2002/2003 as well. In fact, custom tools are automatically used for XSD or WSDF files for example.
If you want to learn more about this kind of features, I highly advise you to read Dino Esposito's article about custom build providers, custom MSBuild tasks, and VS custom tools.
I haven't used a Borland tool for quite a while, but it's always interesting to follow what is happening on their side. I knew Borland mostly for its developer tools. In the past, I've made extensive use of Turbo Pascal, Borland Pascal, Delphi and InterBase. Since then, Borland has published other tools like Kylix (Delphi for Linux), JBuilder, C#Builder or Delphi.NET. All IDE products.
It's not knew at all that they had started getting into the Application Lifecycle Management market, but today come important news: Borland plans a separate company for its IDE products, which means they want to sell these product lines!
You can read the official announcement by the CEO or a message from David Intersimone.
It's true that during the last years, Borland had smaller and smaller market shares for IDEs and fewer resources allocated to them.
The big question is: what will happen in the future for these products? Is this the end? Who will the buyer be, if any?
A big update for PageMethods for VS 2005 has just been published: PageMethods for VS 2005 1.6
According to this page, we will have to wait some more months to see the Visual Studio service packs:
- Visual Studio 2003 Service Pack 1 ships Q2, 2006
- Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 ships Q3, 2006