Sunday, December 25, 2011

Prerequisites for installing SQL Server 2012 RC0

If you are interested in installing SQL Server 2010 RC0, there are a few prerequisites for installing it that may not be readily obvious at first:

  1. In order to install SQL Server 2012 RC0, you will need to install this on either Windows 7 SP1 or Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
  2. If you have an existing installation of Visual Studio 2010 on your machine, you will need to apply Visual Studio 2010 SP1 before being able to proceed with the installation of SQL Server 2012 RC0
Therefore, if your current development environment is not running the latest service packs, unfortunately, you will have to apply these before giving SQL Server 2012 RC0 a whirl!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jetbrains Resharper Developer Productivity Tool

I have been using Jetbrains Resharper since the release of Visual Studio.Net 2003.

The primary feature I used at that time was the automatic curly brace and semicolon completion for C# (which is not still available out-of-the-box for Visual Studio 2010).

Aside from that very convenient feature, there are several benefits to using Resharper in recent releases.

  1. Resharper now ships with a set of default style rules that allow you to control the naming conventions and standards within your code.  If you create code that violates those standards, Resharper offers suggestions on how to correct these issues.
  2. Resharper provides an easy way to remove unused using directives in C#
  3. Resharper provides the handy feature of being able to convert string concatenations to using string.Format instead
  4. Resharper provides suggestions for class and method modifiers (such as public, private, internal etc.)
  5. Resharper provides suggestions on when to use the var keyword rather than strongly typed variables.
  6. Resharper also supports Solution Wide Analysis of a Visual Studio solution by pointing out errors ranging from C# code errors to HTML and JavaScript errors.  However, this should be used with caution since this process runs in the background and is very processor and memory intensive.
  7. Resharper provides another very handy feature of being able to collapse if/then statements into statements using the C# ternary (?) operator.
  8. Finally, Resharper provides one of my very favorite and extremely useful features while working in C# of allowing you to view the top of a statement block when selecting an ending curly brace.  This is especially useful when your are scrolling through a screen and the top of the statement block may not be visible within the confines of the Visual Studio screen area.
Of course, there are many other features that are available in Resharper and the Jetbrains team continues to enhance the features and functionality included in Resharper with every release.

If the feature set I have described above interest you, you should try out Resharper for yourself and see if it improves your overall productivity!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Re-targeting Unit Test projects

If you ever created Unit Test projects in Visual Studio 2010 prior to the release of SP1, you will probably remember that you could only create Unit Test projects that targeted .Net Framework v. 4.0 for your Unit Test projects.

Unfortunately, this caused all types of issues with assembly handling and namespace resolution since assembly references differ between .Net Framework v. 3.5 and .Net Framework v. 4.0.  It made no sense to create Unit Test projects that targeted .Net Framework v. 4.0 when your base assemblies were executing on .Net Framework v. 3.5.

Needless to say, the Microsoft Visual Studio team reverted their original decision and once again allowed creation of Unit Test projects that could target the same version of the framework as the base assemblies.

However, if you have a reasonably old Unit Test project which you are now considering for re-targeting after the application of Visual Studio 2010 SP1, you may get the error message dialog below:

As it turns out this article link actually lands you here:

Basically, it requires to make some manual changes to the devenv.exe.config file in order to support Unit Test project re-targeting.

After you make the changes and re-load Visual Studio 2010, you should now be able to re-target your Unit Test projects!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Telerik JustCode Developer Productivity Tool

While many of the features that are present in Telerik JustCode are very similar to features in various other Visual Studio Extensions, one of my favorite features by far is the background compilation feature.

If you are familiar with common build/debug operations within Visual Studio, you probably know that refactoring operations often require a re-build/re-compile operation before any errors appear in the Error List in the Visual Studio IDE before proceeding with additional refactoring operations.

Fortunately, though, Telerik JustCode is able to perform this compilation while you are editing code directly within the Visual Studio IDE.
This unique feature performs a background compilation of the Visual Studio project/solution as you are continuing to work within the Visual Studio IDE (with no noticeable performance degradation).  Therefore, while you are performing refactoring operations (such as moving a method from one class to another), you can easily click on the Status Bar to see the current errors in the solution and proceed to fixing them without having to perform a complete re-compile of the project or solution!

The other side effect benefit from this background compilation operation is that you are much more easily able to detect unused variable declarations within your code and thereby able to remove them.

In addition, this feature seems to significantly reduce overall build time when you actually wish to execute a debug session for your application!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

LinqPad for SharePoint

If you currently use LinqPad, which you can download from LinqPad, you can now use Linq to SharePoint to test out your Linq queries with a LinqPad for SharePoint driver.

You can download this driver from CodePlex here:


Monday, December 5, 2011

Visual Studio Extensions for Developer Productivity

There are a whole host of competitors for building extensions for Visual Studio.  There is particularly fierce competition in the area of Developer Productivity Tools.

There are numerous vendors in this space, but I will only go through the most notable ones here:

Jetbrains Resharper:

DevExpress CodeRush and Refactor! Pro:

Telerik JustCode:

AxTools CodeSmart:

Whole Tomato Software Visual Assist X:


I have used nearly all of these tools (excluding MZ-Tools) and I will review each of these individual tools in turn in future posts.