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Using InterDev's Toolbox

By Leon Platt,

Tip of the month - Using the InterDev Toolbox

Did you know that the InterDev Toolbox allows you to add you own custom tabs?  This feature allows you to access frequently used snippets of code in an instant.  To use a snippet of code in your current page just double click on it and it will be inserted at the current cursor location or you can use drag and drop to place the snippet anywhere in the page.  This sure beats the old copy / paste method.  I have several custom tabs set up in my toolbox.  One of the most common things I use this for is for setting up ADO connections and recordsets.  I just drag a connection into my page, choose a recordset (server-side, client-side, static, dynamic, whatever) and I'm ready to go.  A by product of this is that all of my ADO code is standard throughout my entire site (complete with comments), even across multiple sites as far as that goes.  If I need error logging or transactions, I just drag them onto my page.  When I'm finished, I just drag the code over to close the recordset, close the connection and kill the ado objects.  Another handy tab I have is for setting up crystal reports.  Certain code always needs to be included for every crystal report.  Simple just drag it in, then I just drag in my special crystal reports recordsets, one for each sub-report, drag in my code for passing in parameters if I have any, and finally drag in my code that calls the crystal viewer.  Even if you use include files to do some of this now, you still need to type in the #include statement.  Why not just drag it in.  With this method you can type up a few good comments once and be assured that they are included every time.  This works especially well with code that has several parameters that need to be set up (like error logging or VB script functions).  Just create a code snippet that acts like a template.  For the places that require data to be entered just type in something like ***INSERT TABLENAME HERE***.  Its easier than typing the code over and over and you don't have to worry about syntax errors either.  The possibilities are endless.  Oh yea, its easy to create snippets too.  All you need to do is highlight a section of code, drag it to your Toolbox, and rename it to something meaningful.  By the way this feature has been integrated into Visual Studio and will be part of the IDE for all programming languages in Visual Studio.NET.  I am surprised by the number of web developers who do not use this feature or who have no idea it even exists.  Start using this today and I guarantee you, your Toolbox will be full of snippets in two weeks.

Creating Tabs in your Toolbox

Right click on an empty spot in your Toolbox

Creating New Snippet under the Tab

Open a tab in your toolbox by clicking on it.

Highlight some code in your page and drag it to an empty spot in the Toolbox.

A new item will be created named "HTML Fragment"

Rename the New Snippet

Right Click on HTML Fragment and choose rename from the popup menu.

My Toolbox after some customizing

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