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I see the basic problem as caused by a "command line philosopy". There is a strong correlation between textual command line input and textual configuration files as input to a program system.
Configuration (and similar) info should be stored in some "binary" format. If you don't want to use a fullblown database, at least the configuration file should be built from Tag-Length-Value records, with an unrestricted Value field.
If, say, MS had promoted a basic TLV structure common to all system needing configuration info, a general reader/editor for this forma could be written, by MS or by anyone else. Such an editor could of course provide various export formats for use in Linux and other legacy systems, adding quoting as required by that format. But the authoritative file should be in the TLV format with no values - file names or others - being restricted by configuration file formats.
I'm just curious because I feel like I'm in the minority where I really don't care for using extensions where a CIL tool will do. I find them more flexible. They don't require an "installation" into visual studio. You don't have to worry that they won't work from inside a build script.
Like for example, I was just thinking about creating a tool that will package your current solution for distribution on the codeproject.
My two options are to:
1. write it as a VSIX visual studio extension/add in that will provide a button or menu option to package the solution for code project. It would work using the Project/ProjectItem stuff in EnvDTE. You use it (in theory) by right clicking on the solution and clicking "package for codeproject"
2. write it as a command like tool that simply parses the project files out of the csproj xml files and by reading the directory tree. You use it by making it a post build step on one of your solution projects.
I lean toward the latter. I think a lot of people would prefer to use the former. What do you prefer?
One issue I've found with VSIX, and YMMV because it really depends on how you use it, but let's say you have some sourcecode that is generated by a tool as part of your build process.
With a CLI you can copy the tool into your source directories somewhere, and reference that. That way anyone who copies your sourcetree can rebuild the project (including the the custom build steps that invoke your tool)
With a VSIX extension that doesn't work. First, they're huge, so copying it to a sourcetree folder is not necessarily feasible. Second, and perhaps more importantly, they need to be installed. The upshot of that is another developer cannot build your sourcecode without running an installer first.
That's why I'm heavily in favor of a CLI for build tasks in visual studio. For other VS productivity tools, that may not be my preference.
I have about 15 different tools as part of my building process - including code generators (called Custom Tools in VS), all implemented as VSIX package...
With that said - it is not code to share and those extensions are only part of the build in the development process and not there for the final build, so I'm on the easy side...
And yes - I had a case when I had to create a CLI version of the VSIX package to participate in command line build (part of DevOps agent)...
honey the codewitch wrote:
they need to be installed
This is the only problem with them...
So obviously - and as always - it depends...
"The only place where Success comes before Work is in the dictionary." Vidal Sassoon, 1928 - 2012
I consider command line tools to be a close relative of assembly programming.
Some people really take pleasure of demonstrating that they know by heart every single command line option / flag for two dozen different command line tools (the description of all the options for gcc comes in three hardcover volumes...).
Sorry, that is not for me. I more and more get a feeling that "fully mastering advanced tools" takes a strong precedence over "mastering the design of a good problem solution for the customer", especially among young programmers. Command line affectionados should by law be forbidden to develop end user applications.
Doesn't really matter - the developers are the users of the tools.
And a thousand CLI apps with easily forgotten switches is one of the reasons why people abandoned DOS and switched to Windows - including developers! Remember the old days and creating batch files to compile you project(s) because the switches were so "memorable"? I do ...
I only create CLI apps now that don't need any inputs even as a one off because it's easier to create, test, debug, and use a GUI app than remember what to type!
"I have no idea what I did, but I'm taking full credit for it." - ThisOldTony
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You make very good points. I've always felt however, that a build should be able to be accomplished from a command line script, for testing, source control/build control, and sometimes even deployment reasons.
I do prefer to be able to actually *do* everything from a GUI, but I do use CLI prebuild and postbuild steps, which only need to be typed into a project once, are saved with the project (persistent), and after that they are automatic any time the project or containing solution is built.
They also are easier to distribute along with the source for the project itself, because they don't require an install. Basically, if I enter pre/post build steps into the relevant projects, and those get performed by exes that are in the solution folder somewhere then all someone has to do is copy my source tree to be able to build it. Using the VSIX option means they
A) Need vstudio to build
B) more importantly perhaps, they need to run an install! before they can build
I really don't like that. Consequently, in this case I prefer CLI methods.
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