Tools from MS Real Development 07 – Toronto

On October 29-07, I attended the real development event in Toronto presented by Jean-Luc David. I found this event interesting because it was really targeted at developers; it was mainly all demos, and the best part is that they showcased some interesting tools to help us develop better sites.

Not all of the tools shown where new to me, but they were used in a way made those tools that I was already using even more useful. Important to notice that the majority of the tools are free.

 I plan to present here a summary of all the tools they used, with a bit of description. I believe this will be helpful to the development community that couldn’t attend to the event.

Threat Analysis & Modeling –> This tool allows you to run an attack library against your web site, locate possible threats and suggest solutions

IE ActiveX Analyze –> Locates and identifies ActiveX controls on your web site, including objects, applets and embeds tags in your code

Built in Visual Studio 2005. This one I hadn’t use before and for sure will start using it. To use it go to Tools–>Check Accessibility… while on Design view of a page or user control. The tool will analyze the page and generate warnings. This checks for things like images without alternate code.

WebXACT. Checks accessibility on an already published web site. Is pretty easy to use, go to the site and enter the URL you would like to check; you’ll be presented with a report with the warnings/errors found. –> Checks the markup validity of web documents (HTML, XHTML, Etc). Simply enter your URL and start fixing 😉

Development Blocks
Personally I have used the 3 resources presented for development:

Enterprise Library(now in version 3.1), is a set of reusable, extensible development blocks, developed by the community with MS support that allow developers to focus on application specific development. Personally I have used: the Data Block, Caching Block and Logging Block.

ASP.Net Ajax is a open source framework developed by MS to make Ajax development easier.

Ajax Toolkit is a community developed library of reusable AJAX controls for ASP.Net.

There are a few ways to improve performance: Only post back what is needed (use ajax), only use the view state when required, use caching when possible, use session state if possible, etc.

Web App Stress Test Tool –> This tool I have been using for a quite some time; and while is not by any means an enterprise QA tool, it does help a lot. With this app you will be able to test your web site by simulating many concurrent users.

However, what was most interesting for me was that the presenter used it to measure the size of the pages. By doing that, he was able to compare the performance and the bandwidth usage of pages with/without view state.

Drip Leak Detector -> Using this tool you will be able to see exactly how much memory is used when you do an action on your site. Is very good to debug a site that you know is generating a memory leak but you don’t know where the leak is.

Debug View –> MS Tool that allows you to see the debug output on any computer you can reach by TCP/IP. It is very useful to debug production sites, but bear in mind that the site must have been written with this in mind to be able to get any results: That is, you need to include debug.write type of lines where ever you want to report something back.

Well, that is the extend of my notes. I hope this is helpful!

Author: ricardocovo

Senior Software Architect/Developer with extensive experience in web related technologies.

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