SharpDevelop Open Source C# Toolkit Upgrade Available
A free Open Source IDE for C# and VB.NET projects called #develop (SharpDevelop) launches a free upgrade to its toolkit this week, which developers can download beginning September 22. The free toolkit makes writing C# code simpler by providing developers several key features, including a syntax-highlighting editor, auto-generator for VB.NET and C# code, and identifying compilation errors in source code. IDN spoke with #develop developer Christoph Wille to get a rundown of the features and improvements.
#develop (SharpDevelop), a free Open Source IDE for C# and VB.NET projects launches an upgrade to its toolkit this week, which developers can download beginning September 22. #develop is open-source (GPL), and lets developers download both source code and executables.
"This upgrade (version 0.91) will not so much introduce new features, but rather concentrate on improving existing features and stability," Christoph Wille, a developer with #develop and told Integration Developer News. "The #develop find and replace options have been much enhanced, with project and directory wide search and replace now possible," he said. A new feature is a regex (regular expression) toolbox. The #develop 0.91 beta upgrade can be downloaded from this location.
Among the specific #develop enhancements: the standard Search & Replace was refactored, and wildcard search and find in files was added; the type resolver has been improved; and the Forms Designer 'Format' menu sports alignment, sizing, spacing and ordering operations. Other upgrades include: the implementation of observed file save methods and VB.DOC integration.
The free toolkit makes writing C# code simpler by providing developers a by a syntax-highlighting editor and code completion. Other features include: auto generation of VB.NET and C# code, along with compilation errors marked in the source code; support for multiple file types, including XML. And you can change your preferred syntax highlighting on the fly: and a visual Forms Designer which lets developers create a new form by simply selecting an XML Form from the #develop File New dialog box.
While Wille demurs from a direct comparison with commercial .NET tools from Microsoft, he proudly notes that #develop has been written to fully support the .NET standards including C#, and said programs can be compiled and run using the [Open Source] Mono project's .NET implementation.
One key attraction for developers is that they don't have to know all the intricacies of C# to use #develop. "Besides C#, #develop also offers support for VB.NET and Java," he added. "Due to our architecture, #develop can be easily extended to support other languages - a developer sample for extending to other compilers is shipped, binding the GCC C compiler." That architecture, Wille told IDN, has appealed to users that may be interested in .NET, but haven't made the full transition to C#. "We see that people sometimes use #develop as a tool for migrating to C# or at least giving it a spin," Wille said.
On the whole, the #develop user community ranges widely from novice VB.NET programmers to seasoned professionals. "Even though VB.NET support is not yet perfect," Wille said that #develop "seems to be quite popular in this community, especially with aspiring programmers," adding that #develop seems to be used in C# training sometimes.
"The #develop features most popular with our users are without doubt the forms designers even though it is not yet perfect and the code completion and method insight features (a.k.a intellisense)," Wille said. The wizards provided with #develop also are quite popular, he added.
The #develop user community, which is quite active, can be reached through the #develop online forum.
Wille is also a developer with AlphaSierraPapa, an Active Server Pages development shop.