Tech Ed, Conclusion.

Tech Ed, Conclusion.

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Posted By: Alexandre Moura, Visual Basic QA, compiler

Well, back in the rain in Redmond after a waiting list scare at the airport - with my first TechEd behind me, it's time to recap:

The main thing I've brought from this exhibition is that most people are extremely interested on the work we've done and are doing in vb - The new features have been very well received, and we have quite a few people that can't wait for Visual Studio 2005 to come out.

More specifically on some of the features:
- Local Data was well received - I had at least one person looking for a way to have data stored locally more compatible with an sql database - local data will probably help. The general reaction was that this is a cool feature.
- Click Once seemed to be universally loved - while David did most of the demos here, everyone I talked to seemed to like the feature.
- Error correction surprised a few people - reactions varied from the "looks nice" to the "very cool"
- Surprizingly, edit and continue drew relatively lukewarm reactions (not that people didn't like it, but seemed less enthusiastic about it than for other features) - mostly it seemed to incite some envy on non VB programmers - not sure if the way I demoed it was at fault, but a couple of comments I got were along these lines: "this was already in vb6, right?" and "You guys got edit and continue back after we got used to not having it..."
- The new language features were also well received, although again some of the reactions seemed a bit less enthusiastic than I expected - Some people liked having the windows forms designer code hidden in a partial class, most people seemed to like the generic collection, but some people seemed to not care so much about operator overloading, for example. Again, maybe I just have some way to go in getting to be a good demo'er.

In balance, this was an extremely positive experience - I may have given the idea that people didn't care much about some of the features, but it's mostly a relative thing - there wasn't a single thing that wasn't well received, it's more the enthusiasm balance for some features when compared to others that surprized me. Also, on a personal level, this was also a great experience, getting to see how people appreciate the work we've done in VB.

Finally, I'd like to tip the hat to David Guyer and Jay Schmelzer for their work at the booths - they did an excelent job at demoing the new features and getting people excited about VB.

Alex signing out.

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  • Ummm...can you point me to where the "local data" info can be found? I assume you're not talking about serialized datasets here?
  • No I'm not - I don't believe we currently have any available documents on this feature - if you have the PD5 customer preview bits you can try to add a database to your project, although I don't think the full functionality will be available before the beta1 bits...
  • It figures I'd pick up on the one thing unavailable in the May CTP.

    I can add database projects to the solution, but no database to a project.
  • Here is some more info about local data. In a nutshell you will have the ability to add SQL .MDF or JET/Access .MDB files right to your project. Then you can deploy or xcopy your application and database, and it will continue to work. Jet/Access will work best in the PD5 drop. It's best to wait until Beta1 to work with the SQL databases.

    Building the rich client with local data

    1) Open VB / VS from the start menu

    2) Create a new application from File->New Project

    3) Choose Windows Application

    4) Add data to the application by opening the Data Sources window -> Add New DataSource

    >>The Data Sources window shows you logical data sources used by your application. It is home base for all your project data. As you can see there is no data currently in the project, but we have the ability to add data via the "Add New DataSource" command link.

    5) Walk thru picking a local database file as a data source type

    >>The Data Source wizard pops up showing that we can add a database file on our local machine as a data source. We could also add DataBase servers (e.g. a workgroup server)Web Services (E.g. or Objects (e.g. a middle tier business object). We will pick a local database file.

    6) Choose a database file via Browse

    >>All we have to do is pick the file path of the SQL Server .mdf or Jet .mdb database that we want to use. The IDE will do the work to copy the file to the project and connect to it using a relative path. This will make it easy down the road to XCopy the application. If we didn’t have an existing database we could add a new one from a template via this comment link. **For PD5, we'll need to pick a Jet .mdb file to browse. If you don't have one, I can post a sample.

    7) Optionally pick the Tables, Sprocs, and fields to use in the app à Pick all of the DVD table à Finish.

    >>Optionally we can pick the Tables, Sprocs and fields to be used. This means that the ADO.NET data objects generated in your project have a custom view over the data schema. You can further customize the friendly names of these objects and fields, or could even define custom fields. When we pick “Finish” the IDE is inspecting metadata in the database (e.g. tables, fields, types, relationships, etc) and generating the disconnected ADO.NET data sets and components needed for your project data source. You could customize this later in the designer if you wish.

    8) Drag and drop the tables or fields you’re interested in to the designer -> pick all of the DVD Table -> F5

    >>The IDE has created everything you need to have a working data UI screen just with a simple drag n drop. You get the DataGridView and VCR control. You also get the underlying dataset and data component objects that interact with the database. Finally, simple code is spit in the code behind to do the load. When you press F5 you can see that the application is loading data by default and works great.

    9) Customize the UI – it’s easy

    >>VB / VS choses some reasonable UI controls based on the data types. You can however change the controls to a different type using the Smart Tag. You can also pick alternative controls, including custom controls, in the Data Source window dropdowns.

    10) The application scales as well (e.g. from 1 to N tiers)

    >>The tool only makes it easy to create this application, it makes it easy to build a good, performant, scalable application. The designer spit a single line of code that you as a developer can own and modify without fear of breaking the app. ADO.NET typed datasets and adapters are being used here. This means the data access is disconnected, and the code is type safe (good for validation and intellisense). You can also rebind the whole screen to a new data source so long as the data source object has the same shape (e.g. properties and names). Do this by setting DataConnector.DataSource = <new object instance>. This makes it easy for the application to scale.

    Other stuff to try:
    -double click on the .mdb or .mdf file -- opens the database for editing
    -drag and drop a database file into your project -- creates the datasource automatically
    -check out the connection string to see how relative paths are built by VS
    -use local data in Visual Web Developer Web projects

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