Friday, April 15, 2005

New SharpDevelop version

SharpDevelop, the free open source IDE for C# has just released a PR of its version 1.1. As the developers warn in the site, this Preview Release is not even a beta, as has some bugs. But we can download it and take a look at the new and exciting possibilities that will make this excellent IDE even better.

And they are:

  • New help system
  • .- Now SharpDevelop includes an online help, MSDN style. In fact, the help system included in SharpDevelop can be configured to open its own help files, or the Microsoft ones, or any other.
  • XML edition
  • .- XML edition has been greatly upgraded in this version. We can, for example, create our own schema and set it as the default schema for every XML created from that point on. It comes complete with a schema validator.
  • NAnt integration
  • .- NAnt has been integrated onto the IDE in a most intuitive manner: we can use the open source tool to build our solutions, customize it and so on.
  • PInvoke integration
  • .- Personally, this addin has touched my heart. Thanks to it we'll be able to handle our calls to Win32 or any other unmanaged code, without further problems. It's very similar to the old API editor included in the Visual Basic 6 IDE. Speaking of this, if you're interested in PInvoke and what can you do by invoking unmanaged code (in fact, everything) add to your bookmarks the following right now: PInvoke, the wiki specialized in this rather obscure and undocumented characteristic. Complete with examples, it's very, very good.
  • SharpReport
  • .- Yes! At long last somebody has taken the gauntlet: SharpDevelop will have its own addin to create reports, just like Crystal Reports .NET embedded in Visual Studio 2003. Let's hope their tool works better than the crap from Bussines Objects.


All these features can be previewed with some videos the SharpDevelop developers have made avaliable to download from the site. When 1.1 goes from PR to stable, and all this addins are official, SharpDevelop would have taken another step (and a big one!) to establish itself as a serious and viable alternative to Microsoft and its Visual Studio, chiefly among all of us who can't afford a legal version of VS.

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