Anyone for Cider?

A taste of our preferred development tool

Imagine Cup We recently spent a week at the Microsoft Technology Centre in Reading. We had a great time, including an all-night code/debug-athon and copious amounts of Coca Cola.

There were experts on hand and we had the opportunity to seek advice and some invaluable guidance from them. Martin Grayson one of the user interface/user experience guys spent the first few days showing us various WinFX/.Net 3.0 features.

In other technologies, Paul Appleby helped explain the quagmire of Web Service Enhancements (WSE) so we could finally do the right thing and enforce a security model rather then just rely on SSL for security.

One of the first things we did was install Cider for VS2005. The difference in development was great. With the exception of the odd tweak there'll be no more Expressions Interactive Designer (EID) for us!

Don't get us wrong, it's a good tool, but it's only really a good tool for those who don't want to code, basically those that come from a designer background and can't get over dragging-'n'-dropping. You know the types we're talking about, artsy people.

When we moved from EID the main difference we noticed was the ease of generating nice effective animations. Sure, the drag-n-drop animations of EID were nice and "Flash", but if you actually look at the XAML file generated there's a ton of stuff you don't need...I mean, who wants a margin of 19.982221101 instead of 20?

You could certainly create these animations in the code-behind files in EID, but we wonder why you would want to? The experience is pretty annoying to say the least; what with all the CTP goodness.

Having said that, Cider is also a CTP release but developing using it and VS2005 has turned out to be a good experience. There's the odd glitch, but the majority seems pretty damn stable. One thing that does bother us, and this is where we turn to you guys for help, is that the "Designer" view hasn't yet been implemented. We're not that bothered about that, there's a page there to tell us it hasn't been finished and has been intentionally left blank.

However, if you ever want to take a peek at your XAML, which we often do, we have to wait for it to load up this holder page every single time. What would be nice is if we could just go straight into viewing the XAML and avoid the pointless message. Does anyone out there know if this is even possible?®

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