.NET Tools

  Michendi 13:38 08 Feb 2005

This question is for those of you who have hands-on experience with developing sites with ASP.NET and C#.

I am just starting to learn the .NET technology. I currently use Macromedia Dreamweaver MX2004 as my principal development tool. Dreamweaver provides some ASP.NET & C# tools. In your opinion are the .NET tools provided by Dreamweaver adequate to develop commercial sites?
Are the costs (both financial and time spent learning the tool) of Microsoft Visual Studio a justified investment if one already owns and is proficient in Dreamweaver?

  Taran 13:58 08 Feb 2005

How long is a piece of string ?

I use (and teach) both and sometimes I switch and interchange between the two.

The answer depends entirely on your intended use and your ability and/or willingness to stick with a product and become proficient enough to use it properly.

You can build some quite complex web applications using the point and click tools built into Dreamweaver and I know a lot of developers who do just that.

In certain circumstances I fall back to the Visual Studio 2003 Enterprise Architect setup. Much of the time I also work in FrontPage.

Selecting the right tool for the right job springs to mind but Dreamweaver, since you already have it, seems a sensible choice to stay with for now.

Why not stay with it until you feel you have outgrown its abilities ?

By the time you reach that stage you will already be well advanced in your knowledge and your ability to pick up and deal with Visual Studio will be stronger. Visual Studio is not the simplest of applications to get your head around and what you already have is a very capable tool iin its own right.

  Michendi 22:13 08 Feb 2005

Thanks for your comments - much appreciated.

From what I can see (unless I am missing something) Dreamweaver - which I know very well - does not provide much in the way of C# editing tools. So I am thinking of buying just Visual C#.

So, the idea now is to continue using Dreamweaver for all the HTML/XHTML, XML, ASP.NET development and Microsoft Visual C# for the code. Do you think that this is a good plan?

  Taran 01:17 09 Feb 2005

I think I may have misunderstood your original question, or perhaps not as the case may be.

Dreamweaver has excellent built in support for either C# or VB ASP.NET, as well as for the other dynamic languages.

I had assumed that you were asking about C# purely from a web application perspective. If you were, then I still say that since you have it, Dreamweaver has a great deal of power and flexibility to offer and that investing in Visual Studio may or may not be beneficial in the short term. Long term you will reap what you sew, but you won't be cooking on gas straight away with Visual Studio.

Dreamweaver's built in tools can be used to build up some pretty impressive applications. In fact, once some basics concepts are grasped it is possible to develop quite sophisticated .NET applications without writing any code at all using Dreamweaver's functions for data bindings and server behaviours.

If you aren't careful though, this can get you into a bit of trouble since sometimes in the early days of web application development some people use functions without a strong understanding of what they are asking their pages to do and how they will perform on the web server.

I have seen some applications created this way that certainly worked, but that would have crippled a web server with the convoluted and unnecessary repetitions of database queries on an almost per-page basis.

On a large web application this can be a server killer and can/will generate all kinds of issues.

I'm going off on one here, but it is fair to point this out since having the tools and knowing how to use them and what the resulting output will do both client and server side is more than half the battle.

I still think that for C# ASP.NET you will be fine developing commercially, at least for now, using Dreamweaver. I know many developers who do just that (me for one !) and some of them do so exclusively (not me ;o)).

Visual Studio is a wonderful toolkit in the right hands. There are certain web applications that I use Dreamweaver for without reaching for VS and at other times I might go with FrontPage on its own or purely with VS. FrontPage, while we're on the subject, takes the cake from every single WYSIWYG web editor on the planet for working with dynamic sites using different data sources. It has to be one of the most misunderstood, unjustifiably maligned and underrated programs available.

Anyway, to drag this kicking and screaming back to the subject in hand, VS is superb but overkill and very complicated to some. Dreamweaver, if you already know it, seems a reasonable choice to stick with. If you reach the stage where you outgrow Dreamweaver's ability to keep pace with you or your web programs then VS could well be your answer. It could also be the bane of your life - most people regard VS as a steep learning curve. I regard it as very steep.

I'm not sure if you are just looking for more point and click C# .NET tools, but if you want to discuss some specific issues then feel free.

  Michendi 09:40 09 Feb 2005

Thanks Taran

Thanks for your detailed reply. I like your suggestion and will implement it.

You have saved me time and money - both of which I appreciate enormously :)

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