I've had a chance recently to speak with people about Code Generation and problems they perceived using Visual Studio 2003. Everyone is quick to point out that partial classes will solve alot of the problems with Code Generation when we have Visual Studio 2005, but they find it tedious or difficult to extend classes they have generated and then late regenerate them in Visual Studio 2003. Still, there are several perfectly good options for this in VS03.Generate abstract classes which you then inherit from. Particularly useful for data access layers, this would produce an AbstractTableName and then a simply 3 line TableName class. For example, if your table was named Customer and you were writing in VB, you would have AbstractCustomer.vb which looks like:'This is a class generated by your favorite Code Generation utility'such as CodeSmith (www.codesmithtools.com)Public MustInherit Class AbstractCustomers 'Generated properties and code go here...End ClassAnd a Customer.vb file which you did not generate which started containing only:Public Class Customers Inherits AbstractCustomersEnd ClassAnother valid option is to use preservation regions, a feature in my favorite code generation utility CodeSmith. This allows you to create a region which will be left, untouched, after you regenerate the fileCertainly we will have an easier time once we have partial classes, but as it will take time for shops to upgrade, you can call these techniques when you have to generate code and then extend upon the generation.
I am way behind in getting this word out, but I will be presenting on BizTalk Server 2004 at the Northwest Arkansas .NET Users Group on October 4th. If you're in the area, be sure to come by and check it out.
Today marks some major changes in my career. I've left my former employer GHN-Online and started work as a contractor for HD Vest. The primary reason for this change is one of commute, as I live in far southern Arlington, TX and GHN's offices were located at I-635 & Hwy. 75. For those of you not local to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, that is a commute of an hour (without traffic) each way. The new location with HD Vest will bring back a minimum of an hour into each of my days, and possible quite a bit more than that on "rainy" or otherwise miserable days.At the same time this change is happening, I am trying to focus more on moving Tech Knights to where I would like it to be. I will have a little more time and interest in getting it kicked off. I will also be getting even more involved with the local User Group community. Look for more information soon.