Monthly Archives: December 2005

Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express Edition

The recent release of Visual Studio 2005 came with it the express edition of SQL Server 2005.  This is a trimmed down version of the full SQL Server 2005 we have all been waiting for but it’s included in the box.

One of the main drawbacks to the Express Edition is the lack of a tool we are all used like Enterprise Manager from SQL 2000.  Sure, you can use Server Explorer in VS 2005 and do some management of stored procedures, views and such but not the management we are all used to.

Enter Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio Express Edition, which provides a graphical management tool for SQL Server Express databases, with a bonus, you can also manage SQL Server 2005 databases as well.

Below you can see a screen shot of the main window.  What a great tool, and it’s free.  After using it for a few days I can say the interface is so much more enjoyable than the old SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Manager I have been using for the last few years.

Sqlexpress

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Roland Weigelt’s GhostDoc v1.9.2

Just a quick note for those lazy as I am.  Roland Weigelt’s GhostDoc for Visual Studio 2005 and 2003 is a real time saver.  In short it installs as an add-in for Visual Studio and will add XML documentation to your methods in your code. 

It is very customizable and just works.  If you find it teadious to always have to write documentation for your methods as I do you should check it out.  It is as easy as a right mouse click and choose "Document This" in your code and done.  It also rewrites documentation for methods whose parameters have change.

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Windows Live Domains

I recently moved my email domain for wewritesoftware.com to the new Microsoft Windows Live Domains.  Microsoft will host your email for you on their servers, the ones used by Hotmail.

You get 40 email accounts and full management of them via an administration screen.  Overall it was a very easy task.  The Windows Live site lists the following features:

  • Create up to 40 e-mail accounts within your domain
  • Get a 250 MB inbox for each account*
  • Check your e-mail from any Web-enabled PC
  • Junk e-mail filter protection using Microsoft SmartScreen technology
  • Virus scanning and cleaning of e-mail
  • Seamless access with MSN Messenger, MSN Spaces, etc.
  • It sounded pretty good so I figured I would give it a try.  I had to goto my domain hosting company and change my DNS MX recrord to point to Microsoft Live per their instructions, verified the DNS from Windows Live and I was done.  Below you can see the management screen:

    Windowslive 

    After the easy verification and testing it all just work.  I can send email to my wewritesoftware.com domain and it is all free.

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    Losing Intellisense on Visual Studio

    An interesting problem one of my fellow developers faced recently was losing Intellisense in Visual Studio 2003.  The interesting problem was Intellisense only was lost on web forms and in user controls and only for form objects like buttons and labels.

    Since Intellisense knew nothing about our controls such as buttons, it would stand to reason that Visual Studio knew nothing about them at all.  This proved true when our events assigned in the OnInit() method kept disappearing.  When a button, for example, is added to a web form and the OnClick() event is implemented but later removed also removes the events subscription in OnInit().  We were losing our events so this told us Visual Studio knew nothing of our controls.

    The problems didn’t happen all at once and where not very consistent either and got progressively worse.  We started by looking at the forms on the problem system and looking at the very same form on two different systems without any Intellisense problems, the form controls came up in Intellisense just fine.  This tells us it’s the system and not a code-related problem.

    I have had minor issues with Intellisense losing reference to various objects in the past, but a simple closing the solution and reloading normally fixed the issues.  In extreme cases, closing Visual Studio was required but nothing more.   This approach did not fix our problems.

    Our next step was to delete all of the files in the ASP.NET Cache located in C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\Temporary ASP.NET Files.  This is the location temporary files such as assemblies are copied.  After deleting these files we performed an IISReset to make sure IIS had a fresh start.  Trying Intellisense again in our project resulted in the same problems. 

    We also use various add-ins and third-party components.  Deciding to remove all of these, trying Intellisense again, reinstalling and other such things did not work. 

    We decided to give Microsoft a call and use one of our MSDN Universal incidents.  The call turned out to be worth the effort to learn this occurs in Visual Studio 2003 more often than I would expect.  In order to fix the problem we had to perform the following steps:

    1. Delete all files in the applications \bin directory (we had already done this)
    2. Delete all files and directories in the C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v1.1.4322\Temporary ASP.NET Files directory (we had already done this)
    3. Delete all files in the VSWebCache.  (we hadn’t tried this).  This directory is normally located in your documents and settings such as this – C:\Documents and Settings\rbazinet\VSWebCache.
    4. Perform an IISReset

    I was not even aware Visual Studio cached anything under my profile.  Well, after the IISReset and restarting Visual Studio and reloading the project, Intellisense had returned to it’s normal self. 

    Wow, what a way to fix a problem that should not be a problem in the first place.  I would expect this to be a bug fixed in Visual Studio but there doesn’t seem to be a hotfix available.  Let’s hope this is not an issue in Visual Studio 2005.

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