Key feature shown – The customized start page. I like the carry over from office of pining down a document. In this case the pining of a project. I know this sounds small, but how many times have you been working on your core project, to interupt it with some proof of concept projects? I find that I then have to either expand the number of projects in my file menu or navigate to the project files again. This will allow me to keep my official work always at the top.
Jason then demonstrated the extensibility of the Start Page. There are some options here like the folder lists and changing the background, etc. However, in my training, I have found very few people who took advantage of any Start Page customization in the last two versions of VS.
I tried out the customizations myself through the walkthroughs that Brian Keller talked about in Episode 1 (see prior post). While Jason showed us how to make changes by using notepad, I loaded up the csproj file into Visual Studio and used the WPF designer. The first load of the xaml looked very odd. After closing the xaml and reopening, it looked great.
Rather than deleting or commenting the code for the button referenced in the walkthrough, the Walkthrough button’s visibility was set to “Hidden” in the properties window.
In order to add a new item to the TrayGroup, I clicked on the group and expanded the Items property.
I was surprised to see that I could not “Add” a new TrayGroupItem through the dialog box.
Therefore I used the XAML tab under the designer to add the new item manually.
Moving to the next part of adding content, be sure in step 5 to read the note. I love in training when an attendee asks a question about a bug in their lab work. I ask them to read the next sentence which asks them to observe the bug which was just created. The standard response is “Ooohh.” Additionally, I created a new TabGroup to host any RSS Feeds I might want to track. I inserted the following code at the end after the “Visual Studio” TrayItem.
<!– RSS Feeds –>
<vs:TrayItem Header=”RSS Feeds” x:Uid=”RSS_Header”>
<vs:TrayGroupItem Content=”Soma’s blog”
ImageSource=”c:\Users\Public\Documents\CTPWalkthroughs\Visual Studio\Samples\Start Page\soma.png”
Here were my results:
It looks pretty good except for one part. Visibility with WPF does not mean to ignore the element and have other elements slide into its place. By changing the property to “Collapsed” the image disappears and there is no need for the scroll bar to be used this time. Feedback looks better when it is not cut off.
Overall, this was a pretty easy approach at adding items, using code to extend the IDE, and now for me to add several other blogs to my environment.
Two items out of this episode I liked hearing. Jonathan firmly states that WebForms is still a major player in VS. This version adds a lot of strength and new features to the model we have been using for the last six years. Why would this be questioned? Well VMC seems to be a fan favorite right now and there is a very vocal camp that assumes this is the only way to create content now. I’m not an extremist myself, so I like to know how a proven tech is improved.
The second item proves my closing sentence in the prior paragraph: ClientID! Working with dynamically created items through code has been a hassle for me since the framework 1.1. I spent a lot of time in 2003-2004 writing code with Regular Expressions to help me navigate through shopping carts and such. Microsoft has provided some really great approaches to this. I’m very hopeful for this feature in making your lives easier. Be sure to watch this one.