Visual Studio 2005 Improvements - ASP.NET


Visual Studio 2005 Improvements  ASP.NET

ASP.NET 2.0 Features
Developer Productivity
            Master Pages
            New Code-Behind Model in ASP.NET 2.0
            Creating & Sharing Reusable Components 
            New ASP.NET 2.0 Controls
                       Data Controls
                       Security Controls
                       Other New Controls
                       Validation Groups
            Web Parts Framework
            Visual Studio 2005 Improvements
Administration and Management
Speed and Performance
            Caching Feature
Visual Studio 2005 Improvements 

Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Databases

This excerpt from Professional ASP.NET 2.0 Databases   by Thiru Thangarathinam, is printed with permission from
Wrox Publication.
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Better Source Code Editing
HTML Source Preservation
Tag Navigator
Targeting Specific Browsers and HTML Validation
Code Refactoring
Smart Tasks
Creating Web Projects

Visual Studio 2005 Improvements

Visual Studio 2005 is the best development tool for building data-driven web applications. As part of the Visual Studio 2005 suite of tools, Microsoft is introducing a new tool called Visual Web Developer (VWD) that is designed to work with the current and next generation of ASP.NET. VWD provides powerful new features for the web developer. VWD is also tuned to the specific needs of the web developer through a new web profile that exposes a menu and window layout optimized for web development. The environment includes a best-of-breed HTML source editor, an improved visual page designer, better IntelliSense support, a new project system, better support for working with data, and full XHTML standards support. Collectively, these features enable you to develop data-driven web applications faster than ever before. The next few sections will explore some of the important web development improvements coming with VWD.

Better Source Code Editing

VWD provides an improved HTML source editor that enables you to write and modify your pages faster. The source editor provides full IntelliSense throughout your files and has new features for navigating and validating your markup.

Although Visual Studio.NET provides excellent IntelliSense support, it gets even better with Visual Studio 2005. In Visual Studio 2005, IntelliSense pops up everywhere. For example, you can take full advantage of IntelliSense within the script blocks, Page directives, inline CSS style attributes, and Web.config, as well as in any generic XML file that contains a DTD or XML Schema reference.

HTML Source Preservation

Visual Studio 2005 preserves the formatting of your HTML markup, including all white space, casing, indention, carriage returns, and word wrapping. The formatting is preserved exactly, even when switching back and forth between the Design View and Source View of the page. This is one of the important features that developers have been clamoring for in the previous versions of Visual Studio.

Visual Studio 2005 comes with a new Tag Navigator feature that enables developers to easily track their location in a HTML document, thereby providing excellent navigation support. The Tag Navigator displays the current path within the source of an HTML page by displaying a list of all the HTML tags that contain the tag where your cursor is currently located. Clicking on any of the nodes enables developers to optionally change the source level selection, and quickly move up and down a deep HTML hierarchy. This feature can be very handy, especially when you are editing multiple nested HTML elements. For example, when you are editing multiple nested HTML tables, it is very easy to get lost, and you can leverage Tag Navigator to easily identify the current path within the hierarchy of table elements.

Targeting Specific Browsers and HTML Validation

Using Visual Studio 2005, you can easily target a specific HTML standard or browser when writing your HTML pages. For example, you can target your HTML pages to work with a particular browser, such as Internet Explorer 5.0 or Netscape Navigator 4.0. Alternatively, you can target a particular HTML standard, such as XHTML 1.0 Strict or XHTML 1.0 Transitional. As you type your HTML in the source editor, it will be automatically validated in real time. Invalid HTML will automatically be underlined with a red squiggly line, and all the validation errors are also summarized in real time within the Task List window.

Code Refactoring

Code Refactoring allows you to change the code structure without changing or affecting what the code itself actually does. For example, changing a variable name or packaging a few lines of code into a method are part of Code Refactoring. The main difference between Code Refactoring and a mere edit or find-and-replace is that you can harness the intelligence of the compiler to distinguish between code and comments, and so on. Code Refactoring is supported everywhere that you can write code, including both code-behind and single-file ASP.NET pages.

Smart Tasks

Smart tasks are a new feature that displays a pop-up list of common tasks that you can perform on an ASP.NET control. For example, when you add a GridView control to a page, a common task list appears, which allows you to quickly enable sorting, paging, or editing for the GridView. Visual Studio 2005 enables you to perform many of the most common programming tasks directly from the designer surface. When you drag new controls onto the designer surface, a pop-up list of common tasks automatically appears. You can use the common tasks list to quickly configure a control’s properties, as well as walk through common operations you might perform with it. Smart tasks can go a long way in increasing the productivity of the developers, allowing developers to create feature-rich, database-driven web applications without writing a single line of code.

Creating Web Projects

With Visual Studio 2005, you have more flexibility and features for managing the files in your web projects. When you bring up the New Web Site dialog box and click on the Browse button, you will see the dialog box shown in Figure 1-3.

Visual Studio 2005 Improvements

As you can see from Figure 1-3, you have the following options when creating web projects:

  • File System Support: With Visual Studio 2005, you now have the option of creating a new web application within any folder on your computer. Note that neither IIS nor Front Page Server Extensions is required to be installed on your computer. You can simply point the web application to a specific folder and start building web pages. This is made possible through the new built-in ASP.NET enabled web server that ships with Visual Studio 2005. Using this new web server, you can develop and debug web applications without requiring Administrator access. Note that the built-in web server cannot be accessed remotely, and it automatically shuts down when you close the Visual Studio 2005 development environment.
  • Local IIS Support: In addition to file system projects, Visual Studio 2005 now enables you to more easily manage projects that are hosted on an IIS web server. When you create a new IIS project, you can now view all of the web sites and applications configured on your machine. You can even create new IIS web applications or virtual directories directly from the New Web Site dialog box. Figure 1-3 shows an example of this in action. FrontPage Server Extensions (FPSE) is no longer required for locally developed IIS web applications.
  • FTP Support: Visual Studio 2005 now has out-of-the-box support for editing and updating remote web projects using the standard File Transfer Protocol (FTP). The New Web Site and Open Web Site dialog boxes allow you to quickly connect to a remote web site using FTP.
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