It's over a month now since Visual Studio 2005 officially RTM'd, and during that time I've been fortunate enough to have been using it for the majority of my time on most working days. One of the things we're trying to achieve is the integration of several distinct internal corporate web applications into a bespoke portal system, with single sign-on, common authorization model, common look and feel, etc. There's been quite a heavy R&D / proof-of-concept aspect to the workload so far, as we try out different ways of achieving this, and grow familiar with the new technologies available to us in ASP.NET 2.0.
I thought I'd share with you a few of the links that have been of most help to me over the past month or so:
- Scott Guthrie's Blog. If you develop ASP.NET applications, this is the one site, above all others, to which you should subscribe. Every single one of Scott's posts provides extremely useful tips and tricks - such as Tips For Nested Master Pages and Design Time, How to Change the Default Browser (not obvious, is it?). More importantly, it's here that you'll first learn about VS2005 add-ons such as Web Deployment Projects and the forthcoming new Web Project Model.
- Serializing a KeyedCollection. It doesn't work, but it's not your fault - it's a bug in the .NET Framework. Had I found this page earlier I would have saved myself multiple hours of frustration.
- Another serialization problem that foxed me for a while - I had a custom Principal object in a locally referenced assembly. Every time I tried to set my Context.User to an instance of this, I got a SerializationException with a "Type is not resolved.." message. Huh? More Googling threw up this post [Google Groups] from Nov 29 explaining the issue and giving some workarounds.
- Dan Wahlin - Sharing Master Pages across IIS Applications. This is *exactly* what we've been trying to do - Dan's post gave us a real leg-up.
- David Ebbo - Turning an ascx user control into a redistributable server control. Sounds like a neat trick, although I haven't had cause to try it yet.
- Rich Strahl - Understanding Page Inheritance in ASP.NET 2.0. If you've got into the habit of dynamically loading user controls into your pages in ASP.NET 1.1, and were planning on doing the same going forward, then you should check out Rick's article first. Things aren't quite as straightforward as they used to be...
- MSDN: Building ASP.NET 2.0 Web Sites using Web Standards. Don't scoff, it's an important topic! I've been waiting for valid (X)HTML output from Visual Studio for a long time, I'm glad to see MS are finally taking standards (and Accessibility) seriously.
- MSDN: GridView Examples. Scott Mitchell's huge (122 page) article explaining how to do anything (well, almost) with the GridView control. Talking of which, you could do worse than also subscribe to Marcie Robillard's new site, GridViewGirl.
Also, two books which have really helped me get up to speed: