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Close Analysis of the C#Builder Demo
This is my close analysis of the features shown in the C#Builder sneak preview demo, comparing it to C++Builder and Delphi, and includes many static screenshots from the demo. For another analysis see Paul Gustavson's article and for other screenshots see Dr.Bob's C#Builder section.
The general layout of the IDE is similar in many ways to C++Builder and Delphi with a few exceptions:
The various windows can be docked in different places. Borland says that it will be highly configurable.
A Browser window with navigation features displaying a "welcome" HTML document is shown in the IDE at the beginning of the demo. This appears to have functionality that integrates with the IDE, such as creating a new project, a history of recent projects, as well as links to external web resources. It is interesting to note that while displaying the Browser the Tool Palette changes to display HTML elements, raising the suspicion that HTML editing will be possible*.
* 07-May-2003: From the product description of C#Builder Professional at shop.borland.com there will be an integrated HTML editor.
The toolbars are fairly standard. The Desktop Settings feature from C++Builder and Delphi is present - this changes to a debug layout when debugging the application in the demo. A Team menu is also shown. Let's hope that this includes team collaboration features such as remote IDE viewing, pair editing, and live developer chat. Another possibility is source code control system integration, likely to be StarTeam if it is.
The File, New menu item shows two interesting options, C# Assembly and C# Application.
This looks strangely familiar ;) The References node probably lists Assemblies referenced by the project.
Forms are designed within the Designer window. Visual components appear on the form itself whereas non-visual components appear within a special panel below the form, such as the main menu and open and save dialog components in the screenshot.
There are many alignment buttons on the alignment toolbars at the top of the Designer window. Buttons are enabled depending on the selected item on the form.
The code editor shows several features including:
Two stages of code completion are shown in the following screenshots.
Code parameter tooltips.
The tool palette is in my view a much nicer presentation of the available controls than that used in C++Builder and Delphi. The vertical view of what were known as "tabs" makes the controls more accessible. It is also possible to change the layout so that each component is displayed with its name.
A drop-down Categories option appears to be some logical grouping of the available controls.
Controls visible when in the form designer (note the Borland Data Provider components):
Controls visible when the Browser, the Welcome document for example, is displayed:
Controls visible when in the code editor. Code snippets is likely to be a collection of short sections of code to insert (like code templates in C++Builder and Delphi). Let's hope that they can be keyboard activated too.
On the surface this is quite like the object inspector in C++Builder and Delphi. Some differences are evident:
These are the form properties:
And a menu item events:
The Dock property (akin to the Align property in C++Builder and Delphi) uses a custom property editor displaying a visual representation of the layout.
In C# the form and component property values are stored within the code. There is no separate dfm resource file. Properties can be edited from the object inspector or within the code. Changes are two-way.
Breakpoints are set in code as they are in C++Builder and Delphi.
The breakpoints list, event log, thread status and call stack are quite similar to those in C++Builder and Delphi.
Call stack when stopped at a breakpoint within a menu item click event handler:
Well that's all for this sneak preview analysis. If you have any comments or corrections then please contact me.
Thanks to George Kozaderov and Eric Engler for their comments which have helped to shape this article.
Until the next preview!
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