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Looking Beyond Visual Studio

by: Grant Palin

This post was originally submitted to The Great Giveaway.

Up until about a year ago, I was programming in .NET using just Visual Studio. I was used to the tedium of manually compiling, testing, backing up projects, writing documentation, and so on. There was no awareness of tools and techniques, just much manual work.

My curiosity piqued by various writings on the web, I read an article about source control with Subversion. And in a flash, I realized that I was missing out on numerous tools and techniques. So I proceeded to learn about Subversion, and set up repositories for my projects.

And that was just the beginning. I set out to read about other practices and tools. I read, I experimented, I wrote, I revised, and I learned.

And now I feel I am much more knowledgeable than I was a year ago. Over that time, I have started using source control, build automation, code analysis and metrics, design patterns, and unit testing. I have applied these concepts to ongoing projects, and it has been quite an adventure.

I now know that when next I start a new project, I will have knowledge of tools and techniques to simplify and guide my programming efforts, both in getting started and in the long run. And these can be applied to other languages and platforms outside of .NET and Windows. I have also been applying these ideas to one of my PHP projects. The concepts are the same.

All of this learning has been done on my own time, for my own purposes. I now realize that many of these practices could be useful at my day job. I have helped to set up a Subversion server, and move one of our bigger projects into source control. I have also initiated discussions on unit testing, build automation, and code metrics. There is interest among my coworkers on the subject, and it is my hope to be able to apply my new knowledge for the benefit of our projects.

Just think: if I had not read that first article on Subversion, I might have carried on with my projects in the manual tedious way. I might not have learned anything new. But I did, and I started moving beyond my boundaries.

And after all of this, I can see that there is still much more to be learned. I shall continue to read about and explore the tools and practices, and apply them if I find them useful. My main lesson here is that it is important to be aware of what information is out there, and how it can be used to one’s benefit. Thanks to some initial exploration, I am now a better programmer, and will continue to better myself and my skills.

Posted 08-04-2008 4:33 AM by sergiopereira
Filed under: ,



Dew Drop - August 4, 2008 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew wrote Dew Drop - August 4, 2008 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew
on 08-04-2008 9:28 AM

Pingback from  Dew Drop - August 4, 2008 | Alvin Ashcraft's Morning Dew

wekempf wrote re: Looking Beyond Visual Studio
on 08-05-2008 4:55 PM

Holy smokes.  Your "day job" wasn't using version control?

Daz wrote re: Looking Beyond Visual Studio
on 08-05-2008 7:09 PM

We've been using source control for as long as i can remember.  Would not develop without it now.  Welcome to the nineties.  :)

Dan Howard wrote re: Looking Beyond Visual Studio
on 08-05-2008 10:21 PM

The problem is that Microsoft has always pushed Visual Shit Safe. The WORST source control product on the planet and a stain on humanity.

Glad to see that you've seen 'some' light. This year learn IntelliJ and move on from Visual Notepad.

DevShare.NET wrote re: Looking Beyond Visual Studio
on 08-06-2008 12:48 PM

Try these ALT.NET tools:

Grant Palin wrote re: Looking Beyond Visual Studio
on 08-06-2008 11:33 PM

Personally, any non-trivial project goes into source control. This works great for me, as I get the versioning, and can easily work on my projects on my desktop and laptop, and keep them synchronized.

That project I mentioned had been in source control actually - in good old Source Safe. I helped to check out the latest from that, and import into SVN, which is used moving forward. The VSS is kept around for reference purposes only.

I'm still trying to convince my coworkers to start using SVN for new projects - the next battle to be waged.

My reading list has grown considerably...I think it will be  a very long time before I get it all figured out!

Creating a PHP5 Framework | What Is Wrong With The World Today wrote Creating a PHP5 Framework | What Is Wrong With The World Today
on 08-31-2008 3:28 AM

Pingback from  Creating a PHP5 Framework | What Is Wrong With The World Today

Creating a PHP5 Framework | Gotya Toolz wrote Creating a PHP5 Framework | Gotya Toolz
on 01-26-2009 2:59 PM

Pingback from  Creating a PHP5 Framework | Gotya Toolz

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