Where have the web project files gone?

I’m using ASP.NET 2.0 today to actually try to do something. I’ve opened it up before and had a bit of a look around, but this is the first time I’ve actually needed to make a new project and write a bit of code.

I’m trying to breath deeply and tell myself that change isn’t neccessarily a bad thing, but quite honestly my first impression of the web developer IDE is that I don’t like it.

Firstly it took me about 20 minutes to even figure out how to create a new web project. I clicked “new project” and searched high and low but couldn’t find any options to create an ASP.NET project in C#. Finally I resorted to actually googling for more information and found out that you actually need to hold down the little button and then choose “Add new website”.

“Why?” I asked myself as I thew dirty looks at my computer screen. Because ASP.NET projects don’t get project files anymore, that’s why. That’s also why looking at my references now takes about 30 clicks.

This seems a bit strange to me because I’ve always liked the way the project file makes it easy to open all the files in my project together. It’s also useful I often get projects from people whose computers are set up differently from mine and I find that opening the project files usually works a whole lot better than opening the solution files which is full of absolute paths.

The other thing that I really don’t like is the fact you can’t edit the code when you’re in debug mode any more. When I see my latest issues after I’ve built and run my code I want to make the changes while they’re fresh in my head from seeing the error message or debugging information. I don’t want to have to hold the information in my head while I wait for the compiler to come out of debug mode because I’m likely to think about something else (hehe! that dog has a fluffy tail!) while I’m waiting for the thing to close and then lose the exact changes I want to make by the time the software is good enough to allow me to edit my source again.

Maybe the problem is just that I haven’t understood the new ways to do things yet. On one hand, I like the fact that they were willing to upgrade to a model that (hopefully) makes more sense and is easier to work with because large amounts backwards compatibility can sometimes mean APIs that are bloated and hard to use. On the other hand it’s frustrating for me because I didn’t go into this thinking I’d have to relearn so much. I’ve invested a lot of time and effort to become useful with the last version of VS.NET and it’s really, really frustrating for me to not be able to just pick this up and run with it.

Posted on 11 Oct 05 by Helen Emerson (last updated on 11 Oct 05).
Filed under ASP.NET