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Get into .NET programming for free

posted under category: dotnet on June 23, 2005 by Nathan

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.

Nathan is a software developer at The Boeing Company in Charleston, SC. He is essentially a big programming nerd. Really, you could say that makes him a nerd among nerds. Aside from making software for the web, he plays with tech toys and likes to think about programming's big picture while speaking at conferences and generally impressing people with massive nerdiness and straight-faced sarcastic humor. Nathan got his programming start writing batch files in DOS. It should go without saying, but these thought and opinions have nothing to do with Boeing in any way.
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