The Dopefly Tech Blog

Join Nathan Strutz as he shoots the breeze on techie geeky web dev stuff.


Visual Studio express editions are free forever

posted under category: dotnet on April 20, 2006 at 12:14 pm by MrNate

Microsoft's Visual Studio Express editions are now free forever. Previously, they were free for a year.

Apparently, Microsoft is going after the amateur developer community. This is good news on a couple levels for us. First, because SQL Server Express is a great tool, and can be deployed on a site for free. I'm having trouble finding the license or limitations for it, but it's my understanding that it has a 4GB size limit and a 1 CPU usage limit, and is missing a couple other features. Otherwise, it's still SQL Server 2005, which is pretty popular with the CF community. - BTW, they also just launched a lighter and free-er version of their SQL manager tools.

The second great reason, something I've been a proponent of, is it's a great opportunity to learn a new programming language, and a new web application framework and structure. I say this over and over, but I really mean it. It was learning VBScript (with ASP classic) that transformed me from an ok CF coder into a great CF coder (btw - I came from the HTML jockey side, so CF was an obviously perfect choice for me).

Anyways, I'm not advocating ditching CF for .NET. It's really not worth it. But it is cool to be able to write a couple desktop apps here and there, and learning more puts more tools in your toolbox.

(1 comment)

The Regex Mass File Renamer - Useful little things

posted under category: dotnet on December 25, 2005 at 1:41 am by MrNate

So, happy holidays all. Given a little extra time this morning, waiting for the in-laws to come back from shopping, I felt the need to rename some files. Ok, a lot of files. All of us CF guys can attest to the ease of getting it done in our favorite tag-based language, but what about running it without having to start 3 services on my local machine? That's where knowing a 2nd language fits in.

So, with an effort to (a) play with visual studio 2005, (b) test drive .NET 2.0, and (c) actually make something useful, I present to you the Regex Mass File Renamer. Install the .NET 2.0 runtime, it came out a couple months ago, download my app, and run the exe in the build folder.

It's not fancy, it's not all that great, but it's what I do in my spare time to make life just a little easier for myself. Choose a folder, enter a regular expression in the 2nd box, and something to replace it with in the 3rd, then hit start and it will change the filename (sans extension) of any files in the chosen folder.

Regex Mass Renamer
The zip file is my whole project folder from VS2005, so if you have Visual Studio '05, even the free (for a year) express version, you can open the project and play with the source.

Disclaimer: I won't claim to be any sort of OOP expert or great winforms programmer. The code may suck beyond belief. In fact, I'd like to know if it does. Use at your own risk. Make a backup of any files you plan on working with. The source is provided so that I cannot be held responsible with how the program works, or for anything that happens when running it.


Get into .NET programming for free

posted under category: dotnet on June 23, 2005 at 2:49 am by MrNate

I just noticed on OSNews an article on about how to get into .NET development without the costly overhead of a Visual Studio license or MSDN subscription.

In my c# development (my latest toy language -- oh, i've got a new project ;) I use Visual Studio. Yep it's good and stuff, but it does fall short in a lot of areas, like it's about 1.5 GB with the library files, which, I guess provides help. I don't know, it's never been that helpful. You can't have files from 2 projects open at once, there's no tag insight for ASP.NET or HTML (or css or...) pages, the interface, while customizable, just can't stand up to Eclipse, and neither can the 3rd party tools, plugins, etc.

So yes, I use it, as it's free to me (with my employment, so it's kinda like they pay me to use expensive software), and it works fine. There are positives too, like, it's fast and always seems to work.

For starters doing dotnet, find and install the SDK. The documentation app that comes with it has been more than worth it's weight in megabytes for me.

If you want to write a windows desktop application and you don't want to fork the cash or install for 6 hours, get SharpDevelop. I've used it and it's cool. Easy to run, a lot like VS.NET where it starts with a visual 'WinForms' designer and you drill down into the code view to do real programming.

If you ever thought of using Visual Studio to write ASP.NET pages (aka WebForms), get your head examined. "Oooh but they have the free Web Matrix tool" That's some serious crap software. Don't even download it. Your best bet is to develop your front-end in Dreamweaver. It's got a couple wizards and perfect content assistance for all your asp: tags.

Last up, if you want to do any c# in Eclipse, forget about it. The Improve C# Plugin really isn't that good, and I haven't seen anything else worthwhile.


My first desktop application

posted under category: dotnet on May 23, 2005 at 3:00 pm by MrNate

My first, meaning non-test, non-sample-driven, not-from-a-book desktop app. I'm writing a photo uploader for my "our family" section, which, thanks to some oh-so-clever recursive direcory deleting programming of mine, got tragically wiped out (curses!).

I'm writing it in c#, which is actually a lot of fun. Never having made a desktop application, or a .NET project at all, it's really not too hard. I mean, it's not walk in the CF park, but it's relatively simple when you get ahold of the MS programming model and figure out their own dictionary.

I'll put up a couple screenshots and post the code when I've got it in a good working state, granted it's not going to be the most impressive thing you've seen, but it could spark some ideas for 'smart clients' - it's already doing that for me.

Nathan is a co-manager for the Phoenix CFUG (AZCFUG) and a ColdFusion application developer for an aerospace company in the Phoenix East valley (Mesa). Aside from doing ColdFusion applications, Nathan enjoys playing with servers, hacking with a variety of other programming languages and managing his home theater PC. Nathan got his programming start writing batch files in DOS.
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