Posts tagged ReSharper
Some developers are elite, they only code in notepad. I on the other hand don’t fall into that category; I love my tools! This post is to recognize the importance of productivity tools and realizing the pain of living without them. A good carpenter could build your house with just a hammer and a handsaw, but we all know that is a completely insane undertaking. Approaching a development project is the same. Just like any other professional, developers should hone their tools.
There are developers out there only using the basic Visual Studio IDE and what Microsoft provides to them out of the box. Although these developers are creating applications, they are probably feeling the pain in two places. You can code yourself into a corner when developing using drag and drop development. I am not going to say it is evil, because drag and drop certainly has a place, but it is intoxicating. Drag, Drag, Drag, Done! You’ve just created a application, but what happens when you need to step outside of the box of the visual studio designer? Many developers freeze and panic at this point, because there is no feature in their Visual Studio toolbox for that! The other problem with drag and drop, is that developers can get into brain-dead development. Like I said, it is intoxicating to drag a new feature onto your application, but does it really need to be there? Now I am picking on drag and drop, but there is another bigger tragedy. The tragedy is that these developers don’t explore the larger ecosystem of .NET. There is cool stuff happening outside of the realm of MSDN and Microsoft guidance.
The other issue I see is that many professional developers don’t have a proper development environment. What do I mean by development environment? To me there are minimal standards for a development environment: Source Control, Local Database Engine, External Text Editor, and Reflector. That’s it for a minimal productive development environment, if you are missing any of those then you are doing yourself an injustice.
So you are missing some of the things I mentioned above, but don’t fret I will give you a couple of tools that can fill those places and explain how they can ease your development life.
USE THIS! You will be better for having done so. It disassembles any .Net assembly and shows you the code inside. I have progressed my skills exponentially by just reading other peoples code. At this point in my career I would say I read more code than I write. When you are scratching your head about why a call into a third party assembly is exploding, you can use reflector to see if the problem is yours or the third party.
I personally have used Visual Source Safe, Team Foundation Server, CVN, and SVN. I currently love SVN because it allows me the facility to host a repository locally or use many of the FREE Subversion providers on the internet. I also have great Visual Studio integration with the free add-in Ankh-SVN. I’ve included the links to some SVN providers along with the link to Ankh-SVN below. Now you have no excuse to back up your tireless efforts in coding.
- Unfuddle – SVN Provider
- BeanStalk – SVN Provider
- Codeplex – TFS Provider (Open Source Only)
- AnkhSVN – Open Source Visual Studio Plugin
You’ll thank me when your machine blows up and you still have your code safely on the net. Your Welcome!
This isn’t so much an issue until development teams make it an issue. I’ve been part of development environments where there was one database that everyone developed against *cough* Oracle. What a freaking nightmare. Oracle released a developer version of their database, but the damage was already done. Developers yelling “You changed my data!” at each other, on the verge of fist fights. So as a rule of thumb, every developer should have a local instance of the database in their environment. If your database is “too complex” for that then you probably have bigger problems.
Use the appropriate engines for your project : SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL,, or SQLite.
External Text Editor
“I already have Visual Studio, who needs this?” Visual Studio is slow to load, especially with all those plug-ins (check out my load screen!). Visual Studio is also overkill when all you need to do is change a configuration setting or look at a text file. Waiting for Visual Studio can seriously hamper your groove, and sometimes you just don’t have that luxury. In addition, sometimes your IDE is not available because your are on another machine. I personally like Notepad2. It is quick and it is portable. It also gives you nice syntax highlighting for XML and HTML.
Now what I mentioned above is just a minimum, but the extra tools make things better. Let’s look them over.
I’d swear there was someone reading my code. This tool basically documents your code with a click. You need this if you do a lot of documentation in your code. It will literally save you thousands of commenting keystrokes.
A productivity tool like no other. My previous post explains it all. It is the difference between coding like the tortoise or the hare.
ORM – Object Relational Mappers
SQL is a powerful language, but I hate writing repetitive CRUD statements. An Object Relational Mapper is the way to go when designing a system. You can save hundreds of man hours not writing CRUD code and getting to what really matters. A nice introduction to Object Relational Mapping is Linq2SQL, check it out if you haven’t already.
Enterprise Library has been around for a long time and I love it. It is a set of proven industry practices packaged up for you nice and neatly. Don’t reinvent the wheel when you have a Ferrari waiting to pick you up.
Tools are awesome, it is one of the greatest advantages we have over other development communities. You should also never get too comfortable with a tool set, because there is always something coming out that could serve you better. Tools are meant to help you do the job, they aren’t the job itself. If a tool doesn’t serve you well, then you should just avoid it and find something that works.
I’ve started a new project in Visual Studio 2010 because I want to take advantage of the new features in ASP.NET MVC 2. The features I am really interested in are Areas and the support of the new client side validation libraries that utilize the Data Annotations attributes. I sat down and set up my new solution as usual. Everything at this point was going great. Rolling up my sleeves, after several minutes of coding the ReSharper 5.0 nightly build started barfing on me. The shortcut keys barely worked and it would constantly freeze VS2010 when viewing Html pages. Ultimately, I realized that ReSharper 5.0 was not ready for VS2010, although it works great in VS2008. Now I was faced with the cold reality of having to uninstall ReSharper, for the greater good of the project. I haven’t coded a project without ReSharper in about two years, but now I am venturing forth until ReSharper 5.0 can catch up with me. Below, I’m going to list the things that I miss most about development life with ReSharper.
1. Development Time Error Checking
Resharper tells you that you’ve made a mistake before you ever compile your solution. It is constantly compiling you application in the background and making sure everything is still gravy. This keeps you from hitting f5 or Ctrl+Shift+B every ten seconds. This has to be the feature I miss the most. This is definitely a feature Microsoft should look into building directly into future versions of Visual Studio. Wouldn’t you like to know that you typed something wrong the second you type it wrong? In addition to finding your mistakes, it places a nice little sidebar to tell you where you can find where you went wrong.
2. Solution Wide Searches for Dependencies
Resharper is really smart about what classes you are using. It can search through your entire solution and add any dependency to your existing project. This greatly reduces the need to right click on a project and click the “Add Reference” option. It even remembers third party assemblies and can add them; assemblies like NUnit or Enterprise Library.
3. Ctrl + Click = Magic
ReSharper lets you hold down the control key on your keyboard and click on a class name, which instantly takes you to the source of that class. Can greatly speed up you navigational abilities.
4. ReSharper Test Runner
ReSharper has a great test runner which runs almost all unit testing frameworks. The alternative for me right now is running tests using TestDriven.Net and Gallio, which isn’t too bad but it isn’t as nice a workflow as using ReSharper.
5. The Super Shortcut Alt+Enter
Alt+Enter, remember that key combination if you want to be a coding ninja. A super shortcut in ReSharper that understands the context you are in and shows you appropriate actions. Want to remove unused namespaces? Move your cursor to the namespaces section of your code and press Alt+Enter. Want to use var instead? Alt+Enter. Want to rename a file to match a class name? Alt+Enter. Want to move a class to a namespace? Alt+Enter. Want to rule the world? Alt+Enter (coming in ReSharper 6).
6. Smarter Templates
If you use code snippets in Visual Studio then you owe it to yourself to look at the templates in ReSharper. You can create really smart templates that include things like namespaces, filename, and much more. This feature has save my fingers countless hours of typing.
I miss ReSharper, but the advantages to using VS 2010 greatly outweigh my selfish need to be comforted by a productivity tool. Until ReSharper 5 becomes more stable I will have to wander the development wilderness alone. Lets hope that isn’t too long.
I found today that JetBrains has just released an early beta of ReSharper 5 so I’m giving it a shot. The one done side to the Beta is that it still doesn’t support Visual Studio 2010 (which I am itching to move to). So if you are brave and want to try it out, here is the link to the ReSharper download.