From time to time, as I'm working on projects, I invariably come across great sets of tools that make my life just a bit easier. My plan is to list the tools, test them out, and rate them somehow after I get some usage. I guess this is my way of sharing with the world 😀
So for the inaugural entry, we have two tools and one library:
- FaceID Browser. When creating custom add-ins for Office applications, you can create a command bar button (CommandBarButton) and apply an existing Office icon using the FaceID property. This tool allows you to visually map the integer values to the icons. I've tested it to work with Office 2003.
- Xsd Generator with GAT. For some reason or another, I like the idea of working with XML schemas when building an object model; schemas seem much more natural to me than working with classes in code. In addition, you get nice XML serialization markup for free 🙂 Matias Woloski has written a custom generator for .Net 2.0. I'm gonna give it a look-see. [Update:1] The binaries that are currently on the GDN website are not compatible with the RTM versions of VS2005. [Update:2] Holy crap. After several hours of fiddling, I finally got it to install. Damn, the December CTP of GAT extensions is still buggy as hell. For some reason or another, uninstalling the Xsd Generator after installing it would also remove all traces of the Microsoft.Practices.RecipeFramework dlls. WTF? So this would necessitate reinstalling the GAT extensions. On top of that, the December CTP changed the default namespace on the configuration file from http://schemas.microsoft.com/pag/ipg-core to http://schemas.microsoft.com/pag/gax-core took me at least a half an hour of digging to find this info. The other really stupid thing is that you can't change the config file after install without reinstalling...another big WTF; I mean, isn't that the whole point of having an XML config file? I also had to rebuild the references in two of the projects and add a missing reference to Microsoft.RecipeFramework.Common.Library. But in the end, it's worth the effort! I dig the fact that it generates generic lists instead of typed collections (typed collections are soo last gen. :-D).
- Microsoft Updater Application Block. Looks useful for anyone currently building lots of application add-ins for any of the Office applications as it will allow you to keep clients up-to-date without having to redeploy with each update. There's an article over at TheServerSide.Net on usage and details.
That's it for now. Look for more installments in the future.