November CTP

Fri, December 17, 2004, 02:01 PM under Whidbey | VisualStudio
As you should be aware by now, there is a November CTP out (I learned about it here). Thought I'd briefly share some experiences on the sleek VS2005 Standard Edition.

The install went though OK, including launching VS. Creating a project was not so smooth though; some error about System.XML being corrupt. Repaired the installation and tried again: bingo! So now I do my usual thing of creating one of each Windows App and NETCF app (in both C# and VB) to see if it is worth continuing and yes, it all worked. Then turned my focus to CF projects only (if you are asking "why", welcome to my blog :-).

First noticeable omission compared to the Beta 1 (the October CTP escaped me), is Deploy to My Computer! Where has it gone? That was way cool (previously mentioned it in passing here - penultimate paragraph) and I hope it will come back before Whidbey RTMs. UPDATE: If you also want this feature back, GO VOTE FOR IT NOW (it has been cut and is not on the list for RTM.

Looking into the above further, I actually try to execute a CF exe on the desktop and it fails to find the right assemblies (exception and death). This also worked before and works today with VS2003! So I move the exe to the actual directory where the CF assemblies are, and now it works... interesting.

Major setback now: I cannot debug with the emulators (I am running XP in a VPC). This worked in Beta 1, so it is either a step backwards or something wrong with my installation. Just running up the emulators works fine, by the way. Taking that last step further, I decide to manually copy the exe to the emulator (even a plain deploy with VS doesn't work). I can now run the exe and have a play with it (after also copying the CF 2.0 cab and installing it, of course). BTW, sharing files is made much easier with the direct option to have a "Shared Folder" in the options of the emulator; it then appears as "Storage Card" in the image. UPDATE: Got emulator debugging working with thanks to Amit Chopra (Brian Chamberlain really).

Next thing to examine are the NETCF framework assemblies in ILDASM (yes I like Object Browser and other tools but I prefer exploring what's new through ILDASM - call me crazy). I like what I see, but this is not the purpose of this blog entry. I find a couple of areas of particular interest and decide to drill into them (as in look at the implementation of the methods). No IL!!! All methods have a code size of 1, which is the ret statement. What's going on here? I open the CF assembly I just created and, sure, I can see the IL fine. Also fine are the desktop framework assemblies. I must be missing something here but I have never encountered this before, so if anybody has any clue please share. UPDATE: Turns out with this release the CF assemblies on the desktop are just designer shims and have no real code in them; the workaround for examining non-publics and implementations is to copy the files from the device to the desktop and disassemble them - thank you to Mike Zintel and his team for pointing this out. BTW, if you don't fancy copying the files and can cope with unfriendly file names, just extract the appropriate cab files directly on your PC :-)

I'll update this entry with any relevant info, but that's all for now. Next time we'll see a cool addition to CF 2.0 that was not in the Beta. At some future date I will cover Generics, which are also available in this build.
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