Preprocess Win32 Messages through Windows Forms

In the unmanaged world, it was quite common to intercept Win32 messages as they were plucked off the message queue. In that rare case in which you wish to do so from a managed Windows Forms application, your first step is to build a helper class which implements the IMessageFilter interface. The sole method, PreFilterMessage(),… Read more

Be Mindful of the References / ‘using’ / Manifest Relationship

Given that the .NET platform encourages binary reuse of types, it is commonplace to set references to external assemblies using the Visual Studio .NET Add Reference dialog box. Many programmers (especially those of the C(++) ilk) fear that adding unnecessary external references can result in a bit of ‘code bloat’. Nothing could be further from… Read more

Activate ‘Full Screen Mode’ During your Source Code Editing

Okay, I admit this is a rather lame tip which can hardly qualify as ‘insightful’, however this is one of my favorite features of Visual Studio .NET (as well as previous editions of the Visual Studio product line) which many folks are (surprisingly) unaware of. Under the View menu you will find a menu item… Read more

Leverage the C# Preprocessor

Like other languages in the C-family, C# supports a set of ‘preprocessor’ directives, most notably #define, #if and #endif (technically, csc.exe does not literally have a preprocessor as these symbols are resolved at the lexical analysis phase, but no need to split hairs…). The #define directive allows you to set up custom symbols which control… Read more

Avoiding Type Name-Clashes using ‘using’

You are already aware that the C# using keyword allows you to supply hints to the compiler regarding the fully qualified name of the types within a given *.cs file. However, what you may not know is that the using keyword also allows you to build aliases (very helpful for prevent name clashes). Assume you… Read more

Build ‘Consistent’ .NET assemblies with FxCop

The term ‘best practices’ sends chills up the spines of many people. Reason being, what is ‘best’ for one is ‘horrible’ for another. However, if you are interested in ensuring that your custom .NET assemblies are in-sync with the coding guidelines proposed by Microsoft, you will want to obtain a freely downloadable tool named fxcop.exe… Read more

Simplified Interface Implementation a la VS .NET 2003

Another helpful feature of VS .NET 2003 has to do with the implementation of interface types. As you know, when a class or structure agrees to implement a given interface, it must implement all of the members. Assume you wish to support an interface containing six members. While you could type in the member definitions… Read more

Simplified Event Handling a la VS .NET 2003

Working with events under the .NET platform requires you to be aware of a number of details. For example, if you know the name of the event you wish to handle, you must then know the name of the related delegate type. Once you know that much, you must then be aware of the correct… Read more

Integrate ildasm.exe into VS .NET 2002

VS .NET allows you to add any number of external tools to the Tools menu. One very helpful technique is to configure ildasm.exe to automatically load up the current assembly being compiled. While VS .NET 2003 sets this up automatically, VS .NET 2002 may update the Tools menu manually. To do so, activate the Tools… Read more

Add Custom .NET Assemblies to the Add Reference Dialog

As you most likely know by now, the Add References dialog of Visual Studio .NET does not list each and every assembly on your machine, does not directly map to the Global Assembly Cache and does not list your custom assemblies. Typically this limitation is addressed by manually navigating to the *.dll of interest via… Read more