Ang3lFir3 – Life as a Code Poet

August 1, 2006

Sandcastles aren’t just for kiddies anymore!!

Saturday Microsoft released the first CTP of Sandcastle…. and it works!!! So what is sandcastle? Well its a Documentation generation tool that uses reflection and XML comments to create awesome looking CHM documentation you can be proud to distribute with your assemblies.

After a few minutes with a little help from Ashley van Gerven’s Batch File OR Scott Hanselman’s powershell script you can be up and running since the instructions @ http://blogs.msdn.com/sandcastle/archive/2006/07/29/682398.aspx are just crazy. The Sandcastle team does mention on several occations that:

“For this CTP release our focus was on scalability and performance.”

Which is just fine by me (I totally approve actually, good work boys I prefer tools that work well and fast to “pretty” tools)…. Using Ashley van Gerven’s batch script I was producing beautiful MSDN style CHM’s for my assemblies that can easily be integrated into the build process in literally minutes. Even Continuous Integration builds. How cool is that!!!!

I found this entry in the FAQ to be probably one of the most instrumental reasons for me to truely consider integrating Sandcastle into my build cycle.

Is Sandcastle used by Microsoft for their API documentation?
Yes. This CTP version has a new architecture and has reduced the .Net Framework build time from 10 plus hours during VS 2005 ship cycle to 30 minutes. For the current CTP release the focus was on scalability and performance.

Have some fun and give Sandcastle a try even if you are already using similar tools like NDoc I still suggest trying it out…. if not for the meer pleasure of seeing it at work.

Download the CTP  here

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June 15, 2006

Telerik announces upcoming new products

Telerik (famous for their AJAX controls) just recently announced their upcoming new products, which is pretty exciting. Why, you ask? Because they include r.a.d.control for WinForms as well as Telerik Reporting and Telerik r.a.d.ajax (allows devs to AJAX-Enable ANY ASP.Net web app without writing code).

I've come to really love these controls for all the things they allow me to do with very little code that would otherwise have taken me days or weeks to begin to work out and since I loath writing Javascript they save me the hassle. More importantly the support and community surrounding Telerik's products is growing stronger every day.

But, back to the new offerings. Having these same benefits in WinForms applications and easy to use reporting tools for Visual Studio will be a blessing. When it comes to getting real work done I prefer to spend less time working out the details of the UI and more time focusing on the real business logic behind the applications. From my experiences, with the ajax controls, the new WinForms controls (which is what I am most excited about) should offer me that easily customizable set of controls that look great and offer the functionality I need and how I want it. Ohh and they offer WPF-like capabilities for enhanced levels of UI customization.

Check out the Demos:
WinForms
Telerik Reporting
Telerik r.a.d.ajax (Currently in Beta)

Scheduled Dates (as of date of this posting):
telerik r.a.d.ajax Official release is scheduled for June 26, 2006.
telerik Reporting Beta release is scheduled for September 01, 2006
telerik Reporting v1.0 Official release is scheduled for October 15, 2006
telerik r.a.d.controls for WinForms Beta release is scheduled for July 28, 2006
telerik r.a.d.controls for WinForms Official release is scheduled for August 15, 2006

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