Developer Tools, Code Generation, and Tech Conferences
I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since I posted something. Time sure flies when… well, it pretty much always flies, doesn’t it?
I’ve got a new tool to share with you called PropertyBuilder. It is simple enough: a couple of entries and it will generate the code for a variable and its related Property. I can’t take credit for the idea, I saw Richard Hale Shaw use something similar last year at VSLive! Dallas. Several times since then, while developing code with lots of properties, I thought that it would be a handy tool to have. Also, I have been reading Code Generation in Microsoft .NET, Kathleen Dollard’s book on .NET Code Generation, so I thought I could put some of this stuff together and write my own tool.
The tool itself is very simple. It stores a few basic templates that contain replacement values. It then replaces those values with the user entered values, and viola! Property code. Copy and paste the code into your application and there you have it. You could easily do a whole slew of variables/properties at one time. Obviously, the benefit of such a tool is fairly apparent: faster coding and less time spent slogging through the same-old same-old. Isn’t that worth a few hours of development time? Code Generation in general has enormous potential to ease your development burden.
But how often do we take the time to write code like this? With the constant demands of clients, bosses, and deadlines, probably not nearly often enough. The truth is I should have done this last year after the conference when it was new and fresh. Which brings me to my next point: just like we need to take some development time for ourselves, we also need to take training time. Yes, it’s time away from the demands of the job, and yes it costs money, but the cost of the effort, like the return on the time spent developing our tools, can pay huge dividends in the long run.
So, download the tool or write something like it for yourself. And sign up for a conference or take some classes. I’ve just cemented my plans for attending VSLive! Austin in November. I plan on doing a little live-blogging, and who knows what else I’ll come away with.