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Joel on Software

Working with Studio.NET

I've recently begun working with Visual Studio.NET.  In general, I am pleased by what I see here.  I am, however, having some difficulty figuring out the correct way to manage projects, solutions, references, and so on.  This part of it seems tedious.  This is exacerbated by the fact that I'm working on a team of developers using Source Safe to control shared files.

I've read some general information on MSDN about the mechanics of using the tool to successfully manage all these things, but I haven't really see much on the best strategies for effectively using solutions/projects and whatnot to get the job done.  Anyone have a good link or two that can shed some light on things?

I'd offer to describe our current strategy for using these things, but unfortunately we don't have anything I'd call worthy of the name "strategy."  We reorganize the solutions and projects frequently, every time someone comes up with a new bright idea about how this stuff is supposed to work.

help. please.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Could you be more specific? What do you find problematic?

We are using Visual Studio .NET and SourceSafe for the repository. It's actually not a bad combination since they are well intergrated.

We have 1 solution per product and projects are added on the basis of being separate functional units, possibility of re-use (e.g. some generic cusomt UI controls) and maintenance (dependencies, so if you make a change in one project it doesn't cause rebuild of dependent projects).

Basically, you can have all in one project but then you end up with a single .dll/.exe and this wouldn't be ideal for patches/updates for your current customers. On another hand, get to many projects and your application will have a very slow start up time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

It sounds to be like you all are kind of floating with your projects, and don't have a clear cut methodology for laying it all out.

Before you think about using the UI, your best step would be to map out your application structure using good ol' Pen and Paper (or marker, or crayon, whatever). Come up with, as a team, a common ground to work from, and stick to it.

This is usually the job of your project manager. If you don't have one, now would be a great time to think about designating someone. It doesn't have to be anything super-formal, just someone to make sure everything is following the plans agreed on.

But, you may be working in an environment where you don't have much control over it. If that is the case, then I would try to keep tabs on the project so *you* know what is going on.

Finally, I would recommend two books. The first is Code Complete by Steve McConnell. That will give you a solid foundation into the way things are supposed to work. It can be a bit intimidating though. The second is The Career Programmer: Guerilla Tactics for an Imperfect World which I found to be an extremely helpful resource when I was in a team that lacked direction and leadership.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

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