Product Reviews

Total .NET SourceBook

The mother of all Visual Studio code libraries.

TN Sourcebook is a source code library product for Visual Studio .NET. It runs in two modes: there's a standalone Code Explorer as well as a VS .NET add-in. Both give you access to a library of hundreds of code samples in both VB .NET and C# (as well as a smattering of other things like config file sections, T-SQL, and ASP.NET code).

You can drag code from the SourceBook to your applications, or vice versa, so you can expand the library by adding snippets that you find useful. You can add notes to any bit of code you like (though, oddly, the notes do not seem to be searchable; you can customize the searchable name and description fields as well). Everything is organized in a tree by subject, and stored in local Jet databases (you can add additional databases to keep things even more organized if you like).

One of the most interesting features here is the Code Webservice. FMS promises to add new code on a continuing basis, and when you launch the product while connected to the Internet, it will automatically be available to add to your copy. This could end up being one of the most useful parts of the product, depending on how much attention they pay to it after release. FMS's support track record is good, so I have high hopes. Sure enough, there was a batch of content waiting there for me the first time I ran the program, which is a good sign. And it looks like they're going beyond code; the first round of downloads included some hints for working effectively with VS .NET and a white paper on macros.

The code all uses a Hungarian naming convention, and the samples I looked at were well-written. Some of the areas covered include general utility functions (registry, math, mail, diagnostics), ADO.NET, ASP.NET, graphics, performance counters, and XML. You'll even find code for working with Commerce Server, BizTalk Server, or MSMQ. There are over 750 chunks of code in the initial release, which is a pretty good amount of bang for the buck—though you should plan to spend some time exploring so you'll know what you purchased.

Previous SourceBook products from FMS have been very useful, and this looks like another fine addition to the line. You can download a limited trial edition (the main limitation of the product preview is that most of the code isn't included) from the FMS Web site.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD, MCDBA, is a former MCP columnist and the author of numerous development books.


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