Earlier this year, I wrote a short post that covered different tools that you can use from the comfort of your favorite browser to help create examples, prototypes and just tinker in general. This post serves to introduce the newest member of the Fiddle family of tools (which surprisingly are only related by their name); .NET Fiddle.
.NET Fiddle is an online sandbox that was recently released by ENTech Solutions and allows you to easily write both C# and Visual Basic code within your browser and see how the output looks. It currently only supports Console applications, but it is a great start in the right direction and is incredibly easy to use to help hammer out simple algorithms or approaches that you are stuck on and sharing it with others (a feature common of all of the “fiddles”).
This post will cover some of the major features found in .NET Fiddle and set you on the path to coding from the comfort of your browser:
Sharing with Ease
.NET Fiddle features a bevy of ways to actually share code that you have written with others: through a traditional URL link, through Twitter, through Email and even through Facebook (in case you want to show Grandma how to write a bubble-sort)
.NET Fiddle like most members of the “fiddle” family offers an easily link-based approach to share your code with others, however it provides a few other ways to share through as well (primarily email and social media like Facebook and Twitter). In addition to just simply showing someone your code, .NET Fiddle extends this in a way that many other “fiddles’ have not: through collaboration!
Stop. Collaborate and Even Listen!
The collaboration features available in .NET Fiddle allow you to not only share your code with others, but actively work on it together in a real-time environment through TogetherJS with multiple users and it’s so easy!
With just a few clicks, you can send a link to your friend:
Began a collaboration Session in just a few clicks through TogetherJS.
When they log in, they will be prompted to join your existing Session:
Within just two short clicks, you’ll be collaborating over code in real time.
You’ll then be provided with a shared view of their code and you should see their cursor moving across the screen along with any changes that they make in real time:
You’ll see any changes that your team members make in real-time.
Communication is also such an important aspect of collaboration and writing messages within the code itself could be tedious. This is why .NET Fiddle provides a simple chat interface so that you can interact with your peers while coding:
An example of a chat between two developers.
If you think typing anything besides code is a waste of time however, you can use the other available Microphone option (if your browser supports it) which is an experimental feature that aims to allow “hands-free” collaboration (aside from the hands typing actual code):
Experimental Audio support is also in the works for when the caps lock key isn’t getting the job done and yelling is a requirement.
The Editor: Intellisense, Validation and more!
The editor itself and the environment also has something that has been carefully designed to make actually writing the code much easier than using a simple text editor. It features a basic set of Intellisense features that provide all of the available methods and properties as soon as you make it to the “.” character:
.NET Fiddle provides a basic level of Intellisense to bring about the familiarity of your favorite IDE.
The Editor will also validate on the fly and let you know when you (or one of your fellow collaborators) makes a mistake :
The Editor’s built-in validation will also assist you and let you know when you have made mistakes in your code as well.
Finally, you will be able to access all of your output as well as basic metrics regarding the execution of your program within the output area:
Example output from a .NET Fiddle that has been executed.
This will allow you to fine tune your programs or at least provide some feedback to make the necessary changes within your program (and see if it affects these statistics at all).
Check It Out
.NET Fiddle is completely free to use and it is obviously a very “new” technology so I am sure there are still a few bugs out there, but it's certainly a great step in the right direction. I’m sure it will continue to expand feature-wise and possibly incorporate the addition of other third party libraries or other possible project types (or languages) as well. I would encourage you to check it out if this has interested you at all or get with a friend and play around with the real-time collaboration functionality.
You can get started by following the link below:
If you are looking for a few other tools to mess around within the “Fiddle” family, I would recommend checking out all of the following:
- JS Bin - Very similar to JS Fiddle with a slightly different interface
- SQL Fiddle - Handles just about every flavor of SQL and allows you to define schema and execute queries from your browser
Filed under: CodeProject, Development