ComponentOne Studio Enterprise: Build .NET 2.0 App
ComponentOne Studio Enterprise doesn't lack for anything-including the kitchen sink. Plus a quick look at DevPartner Studio 8.0.
t's hard to imagine doing professional development without third-party tools, even all the tools Microsoft packs into Visual Studio. One of the best tool suites available, ComponentOne's Studio Enterprise is now available for Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0. The company has found plenty new to add to the suite, despite being a comprehensive package for several years and through many editions of Visual Studio.
Studio Enterprise is a collection of some 25 of the company's development products, ranging from user interface widget collections—including a couple of the best grids available—to data access components to interfaces for file formats including zip, PDF, and Excel files. It includes components for WinForms, ASP.NET, mobile, and ActiveX apps, so you can support both legacy apps and move forward with the latest technologies (see Figure 1).
The new version sports many new features specifically intended for VS 2005. Existing components are recompiled using .NET 2.0 to take full advantage of its many new capabilities. For ASP.NET apps, the new C1WebTabStrip and C1WebTreeView components help Web apps take on the appearance and responsiveness of desktop apps.
One of the more intriguing new features is the ADO.NET DataExtender, a single component for WinForms apps. It extends ADO.NET 2.0 by providing data modeling and programming that extend the relationship between bound controls and either typed or untyped Datasets, to manage the interactions between the controls and datasets in ways that used to require too much code.
Preview for .NET, a set of printing and print preview components for WinForms apps, has received an overhaul. It has seven new components that support printing, previewing, creating thumbnails, searching text, and generating a document outline.
The product includes new designers that are integrated into the VS 2005 interface, providing nice GUI interfaces for design time configuration, and new wizards simplify feature configuration. As components get ever more complex, these features beat setting dozens of properties individually when adding complex objects to your apps. The designers aren't quite as slick and comprehensive as those in Developer Express's products, but go a long way in simplifying complex interface design tasks.
The list of new features goes on and on. With this new version, ComponentOne continues to hold its ground in an increasingly competitive market for component suites. If you're already a customer, you'll certainly want to upgrade. And if you're not yet a customer, the product is worthy of consideration for your enterprise component suite.
ComponentOne Studio Enterprise for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
Quick Facts: A comprehensive suite of components and tools for every tier in Windows, Web, and mobile apps.
Pros: Includes everything including the kitchen sink, close integration between the many products, superb online documentation, great pricing, many best of breed products.
Cons: Buying a suite means not always getting the best of any specific breed.
Develop Correct Code with DevPartner Studio 8.0
by Don Kiely
Compuware's DevPartner Studio 8.0 is a comprehensive suite of tools you can use to analyze and debug complex managed and unmanaged apps. Its features help you analyze virtually everything about how your code operates and how well it does what it does, enabling you write the most correct and efficient apps possible.
The tools help you find a dizzying array of problems in code. The error detection features help find memory and other resource problems, as well as a wide variety of common Windows programming errors. Static code analysis checks over code to make sure it complies with various standards and validates Win32 API calls. Performance analysis helps find bottlenecks across distributed apps. The System Comparison utility compares two computer systems to help figure out why code breaks on one machine, but not another (see Figure 1).
And, the list goes on and on.
The latest version adds support for VS 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0. I installed the product on a machine with VS 6.0, 2003, and 2005 installed, and it detected all three versions and integrated itself with all three development environments. It's awesome to have many of the same tools available, whether I'm working to migrate apps or supporting VS 6.0 apps.
I had one small glitch installing the product because I have Windows XP Data Execution Prevention (DEP) enabled. However, it was easy enough to respond to the DEP dialog to decrease security for DevPartner, then repair the installation.
VS 2005 integration is as tight as I've seen in the DevPartner line; almost everything you'll do with it is included in the inserted DevPartner menu item or any of five new toolbars installed with the product. There are also a few standalone utilities, such as the Rules Manager, that let you mange the rules used in the Code Review module used for static code analysis.
Some of the analyses can take quite a while to run. For example, running a Code Review of a complex app took hours and dominated processor use on a moderately powerful machine. But the analysis is so complete that it was well worth the wait.
My only real disappointment with the product is that it doesn't support managed apps running in a hosted CLR, such as SQLCLR apps in SQL Server 2005, when the host app does its own memory and locking management. I assume that DevPartner isn't able to reach inside the host app to get the information it needs for analysis.
If you're serious about the quality of the code you write—and work in a corporate environment that can afford it—DevPartner Studio is a must-have tool. You can survive without it, but you'll spend days tracking down problems that DevPartner can help you solve in minutes.
DevPartner Studio Professional Edition 8.0
Quick Facts: Complete set of code analysis and debugging tools for VS 6.0, 2003, and 2005.
Pros: Tools that go far beyond those in VS for analyzing code. Excellent documentation. Plenty of support for improving code quality.
Cons: Takes time upfront to learn how to use effectively. Some analyses can take significant time on complex projects. Profiling not supported in hosted CLR apps.
Don Kiely is a senior technology consultant in Fairbanks, Alaska. When he isn't writing software, he's writing about it, speaking about it at conferences, and training developers in it. Reach him at email@example.com.