Making Programming Fun Again
If you’re even a little bit interested in programming for the .NET platform, then you must get yourself a copy of #develop (SharpDevelop):
This free IDE for C# and VB.NET projects is the bee’s knees, and is did I mention that it’s free?
Coolest feature? Without a doubt it’s the tight NUnit integration, which makes it stupid-simple to follow the Agile (or Extreme Programming) approach of building the test first, then making it work by building the corresponding code. I’m still trying to figure out why I want to use NAnt for building rather than the built-in build engine, but maybe that’ll get clearer as I get more sophisticated.
#develop also supports code completion and uses reflection to its fullest advantage, offering a similar experience to Microsoft’s Intellisense without the bloated overhead of running VisualStudio .NET (which is, by all rights, the granddaddy IDE for .NET development).
I’m still working through #develop. Apparently it can also be used for ASP.NET development, although I have yet to try it. I’m hopeful that it’ll work nicely with remote ASP.NET websites, since I dislike the way VS.NET 2003 handles ASP.NET (it wants to build everything into an enormous .DLL file, rather than using simpler code-behind on a page-by-page basis), and FrontPage — while it’s wonderful with handling a remote website — simply isn’t up to the task of managing ASP.NET development.
As I start working in .NET, it seems the best approach is to build up a set of useful objects in the form of .DLLs (or Assemblies), and then use ASP.NET to stitch them together into a useful website. Maybe I’m off in the weeds, but that seems like the best way to approach it at this point.