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Nice features in Visual Studio 2008

The class is going well, and this semester's gang is really doing well with Visual Studio 2008

I'm fortunate to be asked to be an instructor at my local University.  With the downturn in programming enrollees, it may not last forever, but that's another blog.

This semester is especially fun.  As Always, I am teaching Visual Basic .Net to Finance, Business, etc majors.  Few if any have any background in programming.  So they approach this required class with a bit of anxiety. 

But VB never disappoints.  Intellisense corrects typos, errors are spotted as easily as grammer ererrs in Word, and online help seems understandable and genuinely useful to mere mortals.

(VB 2008 Express includes many useful features.  Remember, the target is the ability to create useful workgroup utilities that regular IT never has time for.)

The templates for splashscreens and for about boxes is genuinely helpful.  These students can build an app that looks far more professional.  More importantly, contact information can be put into the about box easily, helping the support burden for the app.  And the splashscreen?  These are great ways to  track versioning information as people call in with questions about missing functionality.

Having started these professionals down the path to including common application niceties in their applications, VB 2008 provides easy use of other nice user interface elements, like tool tips.

In short, we talk coding, interface elements, design useability, and so many other advanced topics that seem a distant stretch when using an interpreted scripting language.

Of course, the semester is still young.  Lots can happen.  Will let you know.  Until then, if you need to code up some nice pretty utilities, think about VB Express before going with PERL or python.

(I once intended to improve a buddy's PERL script.  It had lots of command-line parameters to remember, maybe type correctly AND zero comments.  Wow.  My goal was to build a VB wrapper with online help, checkboxes to select parameters, dialog box for machine selection, you-name-it.  But as good as VB is, it can't untangle spaghetti, especially when choked with loopy spaghetti-O's!  But hey, short of this issue, VB remains a great way to fill your workspace with utilities and useful admin scripts.)

jt, coder to the masses

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