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Get into .NET programming for free

posted under category: dotnet on June 23, 2005 at 1:00 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.

Too old to comment!
On Jun 23, 2005 at 1:00 AM charlie arehart (charlie whose email lies with said:
While Visual Studio 2003 definitely leaves a lot to be desired for web app development, take a look at the 2005 versions. Problems like tag insight for ASP.NET pages, as well as function insight for scripts on such pages as well. There are also several new "express" editions which focus on either C# or VB or even one for web development specifically, which leave out stuff not needed for a given type of developer. And they will be low cost (free for now in beta). See for more.

On Jun 23, 2005 at 1:00 AM mike ( said:
Visual Studio .NET turned me totally off from C# development, and when I tried to tell my manager how much it blew all I got was "it's the greatest IDE ever". Sigh. So it's good to hear from someone who doesn't mind speaking the heresy. And sorry Charlie, the 2005 version still blows.

On Jun 23, 2005 at 1:00 AM Nathan Strutz ( said:
I've tried some of the 2005 product line and so far I've been disappointed. The technology is great, and I can't wait for the final releases this November, but I really wouldn't recommend anyone installing the 2005 beta products. They're not trustworthy enough to build solid apps.

On Dec 12, 2005 at 1:00 AM cr1t (francoisv who loves said:
if you wnated to use the code behind and class include you have to use VS and I think to get the new powers of v2.0 you will have to have, VS 2005. C# is one of the best languages ever. I use Dreamweaver to write my stuff.

On Jan 21, 2006 at 1:00 AM Pagerank ( said:
I agree with Mike!
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