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ASP.NET without VS.NET

At the moment, I don't have Visual Studio . NET available.  So I am going to give it a run with another product like SharpDevelop, ASP Web Matrix or Dreamweaver MX.  Not sure which, so actually any input on that would be good, too.  I'm required to use VB.NET as the language.

The info I've found always shows how to start a .NET project using VS.NET, which creates all your important background stuff for you, but since I am sans VS, I have been trying to find some kind of checklist of things that are required for every project so I can learn how to create it all manually.  I am hoping this learning style will help me have a deeper understanding when I eventually do use VS.

Anyone know of such a checklist.  I've googled in futility for a while.

Clay Whipkey
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

How about someplace like ... not exactly a checklist, but there's no reason you can't do w/ notepad and a command prompt.  It's ugly, but it works.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

If you're bleeding edge, you can learn using ASP.NET 2.0 and the new Express products, which are in beta.

Josh E.
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I tried going this route when I first started developing in ASP.NET because jEdit ( is such a better editor than VS.NET. I didn't get very far at all and quickly got bogged down in the tedium. I gave up and gave in. I still hate VisualStudio.NET but I've learned to accept that it's the only way to develop.

SharpDevelop sucks big time because it doesn't have anything specific for ASP.NET development and it *takes a lot of memory*. I can't emphasize that last point enough. Its memory footprint is unbelievably large, bigger than any other application I run.

The only articles I was able to find are below:

In other words, it can be done but it's a royal pain in the ass.

Bill Brown
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

ASP.NET doesn't require anything special.

Write a .aspx file and drop it into a directory that's served by IIS, and you're off and running. Want code behind? Write a .cs file that derives from System.Web.Page, and use that as the base class for your .aspx file. Build it with your favorite build tool (NAnt, nmake, etc.).

If you want designers and auto-code-behind, then you're going to need to find an environment to help you out.

Brad Wilson (
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I agree with Brad and I also recommend using Web Matrix for learning. No Intellisense but there is a built in class viewer.

It also has some useful features like a built in web server for quick testing and basic data features and FTP support.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

C#Builder is nice too.

Andrew Burton
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I build my ASP.Net pages using TextPad and Nant. I'd use notepad, but I'm addicted to syntax highlighting. The .Net SDK has everything you need, including the visual debugger.

Oddly enough, I learned to do ASP.Net the SDK-way by reading through "Teach Yourself ASP.Net in 21 Days".

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The O'Rielly ASP.NET book is very good, and they don't generally lean to heavily on the Visual Studio aspect of things.  In fact they typically give examples of how to do things without Visual Studio.  It's definitely a slower start, but it isn't bad.  You can still pull off the code-behind and use the server side interface components.

To be honest though, I'm not a huge fan of the server side interface components or the ASP.NET model for how the page works.  Your app will behave in a much more reliable and predictable way if you treat it like the CGI application that it is, and manage your interface through a templating system the way PHP programmers do.

Clay Dowling
Wednesday, August 18, 2004

I've been using ASP.Net Unleashed, which is code-only so unlike most other books I've tried the first third isn't taken up talking about the IDE, it just gets right down to business.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

oh well, that tinyurl doesn't seem to want to work, so here's the full Amazon link:

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Fergal Grimes's book, _Microsoft .NET for Programmers_, is a good guide to doing .NET development with only the SDK.  To quote from the preface, "...for the beginning .NET programmer, [Visual Studio's] automation hinders understanding.  So we'll build our examples, and our case study, using the .NET SDK."

I like this book because unlike some others it is not a 1,000 page rehash of the SDK docs.  It is a rather modest 300 pager that starts off with a simple "Hello, world" example and by the end has explored most of the .NET environment, including types and assemblies, ADO.NET, remoting, web services, Windows Forms, and Web Forms/ASP.NET.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

We use UltraEdit to make the aspx and vb pages (don't ask), and the free vbc command-line compiler to compile, for our modules. I believe the main stuff for the web page was created initially in VS just to make the .configs and global.asax and such.

Not hard at all, and you learn ASP in-depth so much more.

Matt B
Thursday, August 19, 2004

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