For more tips like this, LIVE and IN PERSON, come see us at the MSDN Roadshow !
LIVING WIKI: This means that this blog post will get updated frequently with more content.
Last Modified: 8/31/09
This is a living Wiki of multiple tips focused on the ASP.NET developer who presents and demos a lot. This is 5 in a series of ASP.NET tips, which you can subscribe to here: This series of ASP.NET Tips is geared to the ASP.NET developer from novice to advanced. All the tips are categorized by level. Anything below 100 is simple, very easy beginner stuff. 100 Level means that you've worked a little bit with that technology. 200 is intermediate. 300 is advanced, 400 is deep dive. Each Friday, there will be a Living Wiki published (yes I know it's really redundantly repetitive) that contains a multiple of tips on a particular end goal - like being the best demo'er.
Tip 5a: Why Would I use the Import / Export Settings option? For Demo’ing, of course!
Visual Studio gives you an option to import and export your IDE settings. Why would you want use these? There are two scenarios that come readily to mind:
- You are switching between machines and you want your custom Toolbox components and code snippets to come with you, along with your customized layout.
- You are writing demo code and want to graciously package it up for someone else to use. Including step by step code snippets is not only extremely courteous, but extremely helpful.
In the screenshot, you can see that I have created step by step numbered instructions to build out a demo. It’s always best to demo something that starts off simple or from nothing at all. Then everyone can watch you build the application and follow along. It’s sometimes challenging to see the benefit of a features when there is a slick pre-canned and ready made demo that distracts from the core feature you are trying to showcase. A best practice is to set up Tabs for grouped for each demo or demo sequence. As you can see here, I have one for the AJAX4 demo, and another for Routing.
Ok I am convinced, what do I do next?
- Once you have your IDE and Toolbox the way you’d like. You can then opt to Import and Export Settings from the Tool menu
- Walk through the wizard, choosing Export settings, and pick out all the settings you wish to export.
- This will create a .vssettings file. Be sure to give it an intelligent name – by default it will use the date. I store this in the same directory as my demo code, so users can access it readily. (Have to thank devhammerfor this tip)
- On the flip side, for a user who wishes to use these settings, they just have to simply import the settings, navigating to the proper .vssettings file. Be sure to back up before importing, so you don’t lose your own custom settings.
Tip 5b. Do you create a lot of garbage projects?
If you are a demo’er like me, you create tons and tons of useless project files. Why keep storing them on your machine and why end up with default names like WebApplication222243? It’s easy enough to have these automatically not be persistent on your hard drive.
Pop open the Options box – go to Projects and Solutions and uncheck the box: Save projects when created. That way you can opt-in model should you ever need to save your lovely demo code.
Tip 5c. Do you see people squinting in your audience?
Then it’s time to whip out the magnifier option in Windows7. It’s easy to set up.
Go to your Start Menu- type in Magnifier and launch the program. Once running, all you need to do is hit the WINDOWS Key and + or – to toggle in and out of zoom mode. By default the zoom area will surround the centerpoint of your cursor.
Tip 5d. Are you downloading a lot of content?
This should really be a level 300 tip, but it belongs under Demo tips, so I will leave it here with a disclaimer: if you haven’t worked with the Registry before, don’t do so now. Assuming you are a demo’er then, odds are you are probably quite familiar with the Registry.
If you are like me the days before a new demo, you are probably downloading a ton of software. IE8 has made lots of improvements, including bumping up the number of simultaneous downloads from the paltry 2 to 6. However, that’s still not enough, IMHO, so as I have more many years, I pop into the registry to up that number a bit. Note: this will definitely throttle your bandwidth and performance, so find a number that works best for you. I use 12. It’s easy enough to set – just navigate to the folder FeatureControlvalue under the path HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\MAIN\ then drop into FEATURE_MAXCONNECTIONSPERSERVER. Inside that folder create a new DWORD value called: iexplore.exe with Decimal data: 12 (hex translation is: c).