Visual Studio Magazine, Andy Clark
At the heart of FMS' Total .NET SourceBook is a Microsoft Access
database containing code that accesses databases, works with forms, and
performs numerous common .NET activities. This useful product gives you
a handy repository for searching this code and merging it into your .NET
projects. Rather than rummage through old coding projects and training
books for key techniques, you can keep key code samples in SourceBook to
have the techniques at your fingertips.
SourceBook comes with a sizable library of source code. Almost 600
samples show a variety of ADO.NET, ASP.NET, and Web services techniques.
Other samples implement common functions, such as threading and e-mail.
Most of the code comes as complete, documented classes or functions that
are ready to include in your projects—in both VB.NET and C# in many
coding languages, which adds to its potential as a training tool.
However, few of the non-.NET source examples are populated.
SourceBook comes with two possible interfaces. It integrates smoothly
into VS.NET, where you can access it by using a built-in navigator pane
that supports searching the library and adding sample classes to your
project automatically. SourceBook also has an easy-to-understand and
well-documented standalone explorer that groups the sample functions
into hierarchical folders that support browsing the code. The entire
tool is completely intuitive.
SourceBook is also easy to extend. You can add individual samples,
folders, and hierarchies of folders. You can use this to add sample code
on new topics that are specific to your operations. You can also create
your own database and use it along with the standard SourceBook
database. This could be useful for separating standard code your
business uses from the more general samples FMS provides.
SourceBook's biggest problem is its reliance on an Access
database—not the ideal platform for businesses that want to make the
tool available on an enterprise-wide basis, because it all but defeats
the notion of using it as a highly accessed centralized repository. FMS
has indicated that it's considering a SQL Server implementation, which
would make SourceBook more valuable for many businesses.
Although there's room for FMS to improve the tool's usefulness to
large development groups, Total .NET SourceBook's simple elegance is
impressive. It provides a convenient place to keep all those little
snippets of code you go back to time and again. It's also a great
training tool and has excellent potential for encouraging development
About the Author
Andy Clark is a consultant with iGate in the Richmond, Va., area. He
holds PMP, MCSD, and SJCP certifications. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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