5 minute read

During each release of CodeSmith Generator, one thing we always do is test upgrade scenarios between each versions and check for backwards compatibility among other tests. Recently, I was amazed at how much change has taken place between CodeSmith Generator 4.x and the latest CodeSmith Generator 5.1.x release when it comes to the user interface. CodeSmith Generator has made a huge effort to make CodeSmith Generator rock solid, crazy fast, and easy to use. I’d like to give everyone a quick inside look as to how I think CodeSmith Generator has accomplished this.

Our goal from the beginning was to make CodeSmith Generator a top notch dependable tool. I think we have accomplished this through various forms. In the previous version of CodeSmith Generator a user would have to report every bug they found by using a custom built in component, CodeSmith Support. We have found that most of the time you’re in a hurry and stop using the tool or don’t report the issue. We have spent the time to make bug reporting much easier and provide us with as much possible as you want us using Exceptionless. So we can fix the bug with as little user intervention as possible. You can also choose in the options to send us feedback automatically, or you can choose the default option to send feedback at your digression.

When a crash occurred in CodeSmith Generator 4.x you had the option to send in a crash report via the following dialog. We have found that the previous approach doesn’t allow us to reproduce the issue as easily and most of the time doesn’t provide enough information.

Crash Report Dialog

Since the introduction of CodeSmith Generator 5.1.x we have added new functionality to CodeSmith Generator that allows the user to selectively choose which pieces of information are sent back to us. This dialog is the default dialog that can be added to any existing solution when using Exceptionless.

CodeSmith Studio Error Dialog

If you click on the click here link you will be presented with the following dialog that lets you choose which pieces of information you want to send back.

CodeSmith Studio Error Dialog Details

This additional information allows our project managers and team see what issues end users like yourself are experiencing so we can get a bug fix out quickly. If you provide your email address, we will contact you and let you know that we are looking into the issue. We have gathered a lot of feedback through the use of error reporting that has changed how we as a company work on bugs in the product. User feedback is very important to us. We review all user feedback that comes into CodeSmith Generator via CodeSmith Support. With the latest build of CodeSmith Generator, It has become even easier to contact CodeSmith Generator and let us know what you think. From the Help menu select feedback and you are prompted with the following dialog that allows you to ask a question, submit an idea or bug report. We have also included the functionality to search previous submitted ideas and vote on them.

Send Feedback Dialog

You might be thinking to yourself, CodeSmith Generator might be stable, but is it faster with the new release. The answer to that question is YES. We have spent a great deal of time focusing on Template Caching to ensure you never need to recompile a template unless a change has taken place. We have also introduced a new feature we call deep load. Deep loading allows us to grab all your schema information in advance so we don’t need to make multiple round trips back to your database. We have also spent time working with performance and memory profilers tweaking CodeSmith Generator for optimal performance. If you come across a scenario where you think CodeSmith is slow, please let us know by submitting a bug report. We have made improvements to the user interface across the board to allow you to know exactly how CodeSmith Generator is working. Take for example, previously when CodeSmith Generator started up you were prompted with a dialog like the following when samples were extracted:

CodeSmith 4.1 Extract Samples Progress

This dialog would freeze CodeSmith Generator, so naturally you would think that CodeSmith Generator had stopped working. We have since changed this to be multithreaded and also display you a progress bar.

CodeSmith 5.1 Extract Samples Progress

Another major change we have made is to simplify configuration.

Generator 4.1 Options

Can’t you tell this dialog was made by a developer ;). Let us know what you think of the new configuration dialog!

Generator 5.1 Options

We love being organized and providing you with all of our samples applications and templates. Below is a comparison between what you would have seen in CodeSmith Generator 4.x and CodeSmith Generator 5.x. Besides adding and updating a lot of the templates. We have now also made it easier to find the template you are looking for.

Generator 4 Template Explorer Generator 5 Template Explorer

In CodeSmith Generator 5.1 we have also included the sample applications to most of the Framework Templates. You can find this in the Documents\CodeSmith\Samples\v5.1\Projects\Framework-Samples folder on your computer. I hope that if you were a previous user of CodeSmith Generator and you try out the latest version of 5.x you notice these major changes as well as the minor changes like threading enhancements so you can navigate around CodeSmith Generator features much quicker.

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