During each release of CodeSmith, 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 4.x and the latest CodeSmith 5.1.x release when it comes to the user interface. CodeSmith has made a huge effort to make CodeSmith rock solid, crazy fast, and easy to use. I’d like to give everyone a quick inside look as to how I think CodeSmith has accomplished this.
Our goal from the beginning was to make CodeSmith a top notch dependable tool. I think we have accomplished this through various forms. In the previous version of CodeSmith a user would have to report every bug they found by using the built in tool, support or the community. 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 to. 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 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.
Since the introduction of CodeSmith 5.1.x we have added new functionality to CodeSmith that allows the user to selectively choose which pieces of information are sent back to us.
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.
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 via support, surveys, and the community forums. With the latest build of CodeSmith, It has become even easier to contact CodeSmith 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.
You might be thinking to yourself, CodeSmith 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 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 is working. Take for example, previously when CodeSmith started up you were prompted with a dialog like the following when samples were extracted:
This dialog would freeze CodeSmith, so naturally you would think that CodeSmith had stopped working. We have since changed this to be multithreaded and also display you a progress bar.
Another major change we have made is to simplify configuration.
Can’t you tell this dialog was made by a developer ;). Let us know what you think of the new configuration dialog!
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 4.x and CodeSmith 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.
In CodeSmith 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 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 features much quicker.
Oct 12 2009, 07:25 AM