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July 31, 2006 / Steven Pousty

In which I become assimilated

TheBorgAs some of you know, I have been a Java programmer for over 5 years and I have enjoyed programming in that language. There have been times when people have tried to entice me to switch to a Microsoft language and I have always said no. Well today I am writing code in C#. Although it is hard for me, I am going to try and keep my complaining to a minimum. I will probably be doing most of my future development in C# (.NET 2.0). Here are my reasons for switching:

  1. I am going to need to extend ArcGIS desktop as a good chunk of my daily work, which is not currently supported with Java
  2. My new employer is strictly an MS house. I know I can write Java on MS OS’s but it is not quite as tight as MS integration.
  3. I will probably not be doing much web dev anymore, mostly desktop applications. Maybe some web services, though I doubt it. In addition to working with ArcGIS I will also be working with Excel, Access, and SQL Server and it is all just easier if I use MS products.

I chose C# because it’s syntax is close enough to Java that I should be in good shape for understanding the core language.

Before I ask my questions first some quick comments.

  1. I am sad about cutting back on the amount of Java I use. I may still do some Java work since the Libraries for individual based simulations and spatial functions (gratuitous link to the Ramsey .NET discussion) are more robust and mature in Java. I will be doing some of that work so I will turn to Java for that.
  2. Man! MS development is expensive. Java developers are truly spoiled by great low-cost (best IDE ever!) or free IDEs with a ton of great libraries and free and open source libraries/application servers/cool stuff. I know some of this is coming to .NET land but they have a long way to go. Seems like most things in this universe cost, and some cost quite a bit.
  3. It makes me feel a bit dirty – there I said it. Its not a big deal and I am almost over it already but still. This must be what it feels like someone who is a Red Sox fan becoming a Yankees fan (though that is probably a bigger deal).

So now on to my questions

  1. I knew a bunch of the places to hang out in Java land but I don’t know them yet in .NET land. I hear that MSDN, The Code Project, and GotDotNet are some good places to hang out. Are there others? Is there an IRC channel for people interested in .NET on freenode. I assume #mono might be one place but are there others?
  2. Is there a good place to go to understand Visual Studio 2005? There are a lot of books and tips on C# but not much giving a tour on how to work with VS2005. Since so much seems to depend on how MS wants you to work I would like to understand VS better – solution files, projects, GACs, registry settings, adding Assemblies… Can someone help a brutha out.
  3. What is the embedded db for .NET 2005 (what do I use on my WinCE device)?

And a final word to my Java developer compatriots who may ask “how could you do it?” Well this morning I went out into the field and picked up 3 life list birds: Ash Throated Flycatcher, the White-Tailed Kite, and Yellow-billed magpie. Last week I ran animal habitat models for habitat conservation planning. This week I am designing and working on a geodatabase for a nature preserve. So while I like Java, I love my new work.

C’mon now add to the GIS blogosphere and answer some of my questions or leave some other pithy comment that I shall ponder for hours…



Leave a Comment
  1. Jennifer Louie / Jul 31 2006 6:41 pm

    Steve! Whoa, you coding in C#?! I can’t believe it!

    1. All of those places are good. I think I end up getting most of my MS development info from MS employee blogs nowadays. There’s a long list at

    2. Jeffrey Richter’s book “CLR via C#” is a great book for learning about all of those topics.

    3. I don’t know much about WinCE, but out of the box, the .NET Framework has data providers for SQL Server, OLE DB, Oracle, and ODBC.

    Good luck with C# and working in the MS world! Hope Folsom’s been treating you well!

  2. James Fee / Jul 31 2006 8:17 pm

    Steve, check out Get SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition which replaces SQL Server CE.

    Some blogs that I read about .NET:

    Scott Guthrie
    Nikhil Kothari
    Sara Ford
    Craig Skibo

    There are just so many out there. As Jennifer said, is the place. Just click on the catagory link on the left and pick your poison.

  3. Dave Bouwman / Jul 31 2006 8:34 pm


    Welcome to the machine.

    I agree with Jennifer – the msdn blogs are great for “what’s going on now”. I’m mainly in the mix of .NET and ArcObjects, so the ESRI forums are a good place to poke around and, of course

    For some really good blogs, got to, and listen to Scott Hanselman’s “Blog Roll” pod cast. His blog is must read stuff, and he gives his top 20 or so really great feeds. I checked it out the other day and added those that I was missing. All excellent.

    So, for the IDE stuff, there is an ok Oreilly book on it specifically, but I’d pick up some Wrox press books on whatever you’re working with (OOP w C# etc) and those should walk you through most of the IDE stuff while teaching you the language/domain at the same time. Be sure to check out the class diagramming tools in the IDE – they round-trip with the code – very nice.

    SQL Express is the free, do-what-you-want DB for .NET. It installs with VS2005, so you likely have an instance already. Just download the Managment Studio and you’re off. If you want to run it on the Compact Framework, I think it’s called SQL Anywhere (maybe everywhere). Both are free. You’ll need to get down with ADO.NET, or pick a code gen OR/M framework – there’s NHibernate, so you may want to check that out.

    I’m out on the East Coast with client meetings in the am, so I gotta bail, but IM me and I can give you more info.

    Cheers & kudos on the regular postings!


  4. thesteve0 / Jul 31 2006 9:03 pm

    Hey Jen!
    Thanks for the comments and hints. Yeah we are really liking Folsom and the Sacramento area? Keep in touch as you figure out what to do – I would love to hear about your new travels. You know we have large mountains up here if you ever want to come visit.

  5. thesteve0 / Jul 31 2006 9:09 pm

    Thanks James. You know I do really need to get a feedreader back up and running again. I have been relying too heavily on planetgs. Time to purge my opml and start anew. I have way too many things in there now so I never bother looking at it. Thanks for the tip on SQL Server 2005 mobile I will look into it.

  6. J / Aug 1 2006 4:20 am

    Great to hear Steve!

    For the db check out Microsoft SQL Server Everywhere. There are loads of links on Google as well.

    Also check out the Microsoft links on my blog for some good resources on .NET.

  7. Matt Priour / Aug 1 2006 8:08 pm

    Here is a link to a free ebook on Visual Studio Tips & Tricks

  8. thesteve0 / Aug 2 2006 10:11 am

    Thanks J and Matt. I downloaded the article but haven’t had time to read it thoroughly yet.
    J, I will check out those links soon.
    Thanks for helping a brutha out…

  9. Kokulan / Aug 12 2006 11:26 am

    I’ve read your article. I have been a vb programmer for last 7 years. I’m not used newer products of MS. I worked on vb 3.0, 4,5 and 6.0. I am a second year student in Software engineering field now. This sem I have java in my syllabus and this is the first time I have started studying Java. Can you help to find java community forums for beginners like me. As I’ve been a VB programmer, I hope i can grap things in java very quickly.

  10. thesteve0 / Aug 12 2006 9:11 pm

    Hey Kokulan:
    The main forum for java developers is:
    There is a lot of traffic there with very helpful ppl.

    Do you know about Sun’s tutorials/learning paths:

    Most of the blogs are geared towards ppl who understand Java and the technologies. I like Matt Raible’s blog and some of the blogs on

    The site
    has some good articles and discussions
    The O’Reilly Java site has good articles as well.

    Hope that gets you started…

  11. whereis the code / Jul 9 2007 7:11 pm

    Where is the code? you talk too much SHlT and not even a single line of code

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