Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My First Post (First Experiences with Visual Studio 2008)

This is not only my first post but also the first post in a series of articles I intend to write about my experiences transitioning from Visual Studio 2005 to Visual Studio 2008 (and .NET 3.5). I'm doing this in the hopes that my stumblings will save others from having to do so in the future. My first and only experience with VS2K8 is with the recently released Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 Release. I installed both it and the MSDN documentation from the same page. I installed the stuff a day or so after it came out but didn't really start playing around with it until a week ago when I got handed a new project that I figured would make a good test for 2K8. The two things I was looking forward to most were the improvements to the HTML editing side of things and LINQ (specifically LINQ to SQL.) I'd read so much about LINQ but hadn't yet bothered to download any of the earlier releases. And since I usually handle backend development in my job I was very interested to learn if and how LINQ to SQL might make my life easier. While I can't discuss the specifics of the project I was handed it is pretty similar to an order-taking application such as might be used by a phone representative to enter orders into a fulfillment system. It needed to be web based, support multiple users and have a reasonably slick UI. And no one cared what I wrote it in. So I decided why not dive into 2K8 and see what it had to offer? The application I'll be describing for my examples will be a pretty straightforward order entry system. It will be web-based and will utilize AJAX when called for (I hope.) There will be at a minimum a Customers table, an OrderHeaders table, an OrderDetails table, a Products table, a Categories table and finally a ProductCategories table that defines a many-to-many relationship between Categories and Products (a Category can have many Products and a Product can have many Categories.) In my next post I'll describe how I created a LINQ to SQL representation of my data model and how I started using that representation to access my database.

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