Wednesday, August 9, 2006

My experience with Microsoft IDE

I hope my experience will probably help some of you starting to think about self-learning programming just for fun or for whatever reasons.

As we always say destination isn't important what we have gone through is. By seeing what I have gone through you could select your path I hope.

excel vbaThis is Excel's IDE by pressing Alt-F11. The context menu I mentioned appears whenever you "dim" a class and use that in your code. It's indeed handy as you couldn't possibly remember everything when a piece of software gets complicated and feature full.

By the way Excel is very powerful and it could do things that you have not ever thought it could. VWD has similar feature which is far more important as asp.net is very powerful and the .net framework by Microsoft provides you with many built-in classes and objects that are handy to you.

vwd
dockable properties pane



Having said this I assume that you want to build really complicated websites. For example when I learn the very basic HTML back in the old days I need to know how to format the outlook of controls, i.e. the look of things such as button, font and size of letters, text box and table etc. In VWD all these are taken care of by the dockable properties windows. You could even set the behaviours of some controls. IDE for Excel and VB has the same. In case of VB/Excel if you insist on hardcoding all these it's still possible, in Visual Studio for asp.net I wonder if anyone would like to do that. I must warn that codes that affect/require by the asp.net compiler in the server are stored in many places such as code-behind files, aspx, ascx, web.config ....etc I mean you have many places to go for in your bug hunting.

These days interactive dynamic websites could be complicated. Microsoft likes complicated things as they have financial muscles. asp.net offers you lots of built-in classes and you can see from the object browser that there are really a lot of them. The design environment helps you to overcome that by showing you hierarchically all classes/objects available, what has been properly declared and installed and quick reference as to the methods and properties.object browser

My conclusion is that if you stay with one of these IDE you'll be sticking to it for life, especially for those professionals. It's probably a 90 days training programme (and refreshment courses from time to time, paid by your employer I hope) required to get familiar with just the use of all the features of the IDE. OK it's for production commercial websites so productivity is most important, there is no time for kids play.

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