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Free ASP.NET Goodies! : Page 5

Marketing professionals have long known the power of the word 'free.' But in this case it's all true: An article full of goodies, resources, tools, and utilities—that won't cost you a dime.

Utilities and Tools
In addition to the free ASP.NET Web controls, there are a number of free utilities available to make life easier for the ASP.NET developer.

UNLEASH IT (Formerly Known as WebDeploy)
By the time you read this, Matt Hawley should have released the recently re-named version of his very cool Web application deployment tool (see Figure 13). UNLEASH IT takes Visual Studio Web projects and strips out all of the files you do not need for deployment.

Figure 13: Web Deploy strips out the Visual Studio files not needed when you deploy an ASP.NET application.
Find out the latest about UNLEASH IT on Matt's blog.

ASP.NET Version Switcher
The ASP.NET Version Switcher is a simple utility that quickly switches the .NET Framework version that the ASPX pages are compiled against. Developers who have to test their Web applications for compatibility with different version of the .NET Framework will find this utility very helpful. Under the covers it uses the ASPNET_REGIIS command line tool that is included in the Microsoft .NET Framework.

Download the latest version of ASP.NET Version Switcher here.

More Free .NET Resources
Although they are not ASP.NET specific, there are a number of free .NET tools and utilities that are worth noting.

OlyMars. From MSDN France comes OlyMars! OlyMars is a SQL Server-centric .NET Code Generator. It instantly generates both SQL and .NET code creating a complete library of stored procedures, .NET classes, and ready-to-use Windows/Web Form controls. OlyMars is also fully extensible and can use your own custom templates. The generated code can be written in either VB .NET or C#.

RSS Bandit is an open-source (C#) .NET RSS desktop news aggregator. Use it to manage news and blogs that you wish to track.

NUnit is an open-source (C#) unit-testing framework for all .NET languages.

NAnt is an open-source, automated .NET build tool.

NDoc is an open-source (C#) project that generates class library documentation from .NET assemblies and the XML documentation files generated by the C# or VB .NET compiler.

The Windows Installer XML (WiX) is a toolset that builds Windows installation packages. It supports a command line environment that you may integrate into your build processes in order to produce MSI and MSM setup packages.

Lutz Roeder's Programming.NET. There are a number of free tools and utilities available from Lutz Roeder including Reflector and Resourcer. Reflector is a popular class browser tool and Resourcer is a .NET resource editor.

Sells Brothers RegExDesigner.NET. In addition to writing books, popular author Chris Sells has also been busy writing tools for .NET. For example, his RegexDesigner.NET is a powerful visual tool for helping you construct and test .NET Regular Expressions.

Obviously it is impossible for me to list all of the free Internet resources for the ASP.NET developer, or go into much depth on the ones I did cover. My goal was to provide you with a solid starting point as you begin to accumulate free tools for your ASP.NET toolbox. Occasionally doing a Google search for "free ASP.NET resources," "free ASP.NET controls," and "free ASP.NET tools" should yield references to the latest free resources available. Oh yeah. Better luck next time in Las Vegas!

Jim Duffy is founder and president of TakeNote Technologies, an award-winning training and software development company. He has a BS degree in Computer and Information Systems and over 19 years of programming and training experience. He is an energetic trainer, skilled developer, and has been published in leading developer-oriented publications. Jim, a Microsoft MVP award recipient, is a popular speaker at regional user groups and developer conferences. He is also a co-host of Computers 2K4, a call-in radio show on WRBZ (AM 850), 850 The Buzz, in Raleigh, NC. Jim is also the author of TakeNote's popular VFP database auditing product, FoxAudit. In addition to his duties with TakeNote, Jim is also the VP of Sales & Marketing for Red Matrix Technologies, a SQL Server tools vendor who's SQLAudit product adds complete audit trail support for SQL Server databases. Additional information about Jim, TakeNote Technologies, and Red Matrix Technologies can be found at www.takenote.com.
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