Visual Studo 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0 made it simple … way too simple

I am so excited about Visual Studio 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0 it is ridiculous.  I'm counting the days until the beta and we can get solid bits in the hands of everyone, because I want to see how all of you use it.  Let me tell you all a story --

I've been trying to play around with VS 2005 and tried to setup some scenarios for applications that I can build.  I stumbled across this site about people with my last name several years ago and it recently went through a redesign using PHP.  I chatted with the sites author and was curious to know about his decision making process for PHP.  He had some very valid reasons about availability of code, sample apps, etc.  He said it was just easy.  I commented to him that what took him several days to build could probably be done in an afternoon using our new stuff.  But I didn't really know.  So what did I do?  I built the sites functionality, added some admin stuff, and did it all in about half a day on Sunday.  And I did that with bits that weren't very stable.  How did I do it?  Really quite simple.

First -- I used a master page to define the sites look and feel (borrowed the HTML/CSS from the site)

Second -- I built a membership system using the ASP.NET Membership / Role Management application services, our login controls (login, addnewuser, password recovery, etc)

Third -- I dropped in the ASP.NET Forums as the BB system.

Fourth -- I used the site navigation system, tree view control for side navi, menu control for top nav.

Fifth -- I built some very simple search logic in a middle tier object, and wired it together using the objectdatasource

Sixth -- Since I had a login system, I was able to build the additions/update piece very easily by wiring up a datagrid the to the logged in user and turning on editing.

At this point I was at feature parity +...  The reality is, I could have probably built the thing in 2 hours, but had some bits issues :)... 

I was flat out impressed.  Hearing these things is great, but soon you can test them too... 

The fun part is, we are building some starter kits which will bake a lot of this functionality right in -- and it probably would have taken even less time and added more functionality -- think photo gallery, blog, etc.  I'm excited to get this stuff out to you so I can hear what trials, tribulations and successes you have.

Okay -- back to work 🙂

Comments (13)

  1. Johnny Hall says:

    I don’t think that a lot of these new ASP.NET controls should be part of the framework. They sound great but:

    * You’re removing opportunities for third-parties.

    * If they are part of the framework, then source is not available, unlike, say the Application Blocks.

    * ASP.NET sites will start to resemble each other.

    * The framework starts to become very bloated, with unnecessary controls.

    I probably sound a bit "ungrateful" but these sorts of controls should be provided via other mechanisms, ala the Application Blocks, or MSDN.

  2. Lets be clear — the controls are not part of the framework, but part of Visual Studio itself — so the framework bloat isn’t really there… what is part of the framework are the ASP.NET Application Services like Membership, Role Management, Site Navigation, etc..

    We work with our 3rd parties to help them innovate even further on top of the platform additions we’ve built. I hear what you are saying, and understand the issue, but we are doing everything we can to make sure our partners are ready.

    As for resemblance, all of this stuff is completely templatizeable and customizable, so this should not be an issue.

    App blocks are more about best practices, and implementations. I’m no expert here, but they are not about delivering encapsulated control fucntonality…

  3. MartinJ says:

    You know, I’d be happy with just the framework being stable. As much as I love VS.Net, I’d like to be able to start working with ASP.Net, generics, and the goodies that aren’t part of VS.

    I’m not a big fan of keeping the framework under a vague cloud so that Visual Studio can get the first shot at being "the premiere" development suite. We all know that the framework classes and runtime need to be stable before the IDE can use those features.


  4. Alethien says:

    I’m sure Microsoft has done the user research. But I just cant see someone paying hundreds or thousands for Whidbey, but not knowing how to do all this themselves. I know its not the only reason they would buy it. But meh, seems like a strange aspect to hype up.

  5. Not sure I understand the point here? I expect a large cross-section of developers would be able to implement this type of thing themselves today, using current technologies, using notepad, using VS or whatever. The key thing here is we are trying to remove a lot of the ‘crud’ code that developers have to write (paging/sorting/editing, membership, etc.) and enable them to focus on building more functional applications… does that make sense?

  6. MartinJ says:

    My point wasn’t about the IDE taking out the grunt work. I love that. I want personalization, theming, master pages. I want all that.

    What I was complaining about was having to wait for the framework to actually be able to do this while the IDE gets polished to a golden finish.

    Let me use the framework. Or, is the framework directly tied to VS? I thought it would be the other way around. That was my point.

  7. Ahh i get it 🙂 The framework is not tied to VS … VS does targets specific frameworks.. I want it out too, but the the tool isn’t the thing holding up the framework — we have done a ton of work on it, and it just isn’t ready for primetime yet… so many issues involved, security, performance, reliability, etc… multiple platform targets XP/W2K3 Server/Longhorn etc. if only it were as easy as just pushing the framework out, I wish, being able to leverage the benefits sooner rather than later is my goal as well.

  8. I like the membership/role features baked into the Framework and VS but I’m surprised by how the new controls are being presented. To me, it appears as if Whidbey is being shown as a "drag and drop your way to" solution.

  9. Dave Burke says:

    Brian, Sweet! I purposely ignore anything Whidbey until I see beta bits (maybe beta 2 bits, I’m not sure yet), but these types of real-world example posts are very helpful to me. Makes me consider beta 1 bits to start tuning in and make the plunge rather than beta 2…

  10. Glad to hear it! Our beta1 bits are looking to be pretty solid, so I’d encourage you to at least check it out.

  11. Steven says:

    VS 2005 and .net 2.0 are definetly the right way to go. Developers should be able to focus on their Customers, instead of writing basic Navigation Controls, Database/UI-Logic etc. As an asp-developer I compete with php developers all the time. With php You get everything You need for free, from a complete CMS through a Shopping-Site etc. VS 2005 might be the first Microsoft Product to be a competitor in terms of developer productivity. 1.0 did cost me thousands of Euros and one Year to get into while others served their customers with plain asp and php applications generating a lot of money.

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