[aus-dotnet] ASPX Formatting in VS.NET Tips

Here is an email I sent to the aus-dotnet list today that I thought I’d share with my blog readers (well, those blog readers who aren’t also on the list!)

Thought I’d also just copy and paste the exact subject line too 😉

Hi guys,

I know that many web developers on the list and elsewhere are always annoyed
when VS.NET HTML Designer always messes up their nicely tabulated code.

So I’ve got a tip (or more) for you guys that i’ve found to work quite

If you’ve got a TextEditor such as TextPad (http://www.textpad.com)
installed, download a plugin called “XML Tidy”. (Available here:

Then all you need to do is load your .aspx page into textpad, and run the
XML Tidy tool, and it’ll reformat your document nicely.

A few other points of importance:
1) Formatting is done using WhiteSpaces. So, I’ve used another TextPad add
on called Tabout, which converts whitespaces to tabs.
2) XML Tidy expects your document to be well-formed XML documents (which the
ASPX pages aren’t).
It will give you a warning asking if you want to continue anyway, click yes,
and it’ll format it.
3) Also, make sure if you are linking to an external stylesheet using the
<link …> tag, close it by changing it to <link …/>
Basically convert it all to be XHTML compliant. [Eg: <br> changes to <br/>,
<hr> to <hr/>, <meta …> to <meta …/> etc…]

4) When you add these addons as external tools (as per the instructions) you
can just open the document up in textpad, and they (the tools) will have a
ctrl+1 or ctrl+2, etc… assigned to them for easy/quick access.

At first I was really cautious with it, in case something went horridly
wrong, but after quite a number of successes, I can post and say it worked
quite well.

But as always, be careful, tools can’t always be trusted 🙂

I’m sure there is a way to just add it as an external tool for VS.NET. But I
haven’t had time to investigate (after I’ve added it as an external tool in
VS.NET, XML Tidy gives a dialog box “You must pass the window handle of the
window containing the text to be operated on.”).

If you’re happy with messed up HTML then ignore this 🙂



Oh, and HTMLTidy doesn’t work as well, because from what i’ve read, it doesn’t like the Update: For replacing all of your <br> tags into <br/>, etc… Just do a find and replace, that is the easiest solution!

Reflector + MDNUG + Developer Resources

[Repost of my email to dotnet@stanski.com in regards to topics talked about at the recent Melbourne .NET User Group meeting]

Heya guys,

To all those who attended the MDNUG meeting tonight, great to see you all there!

Okay, so we talked about reflector a little and everyone sounded very impressed, and i’m sure many will not recall the website address so i’ll post it on here, and on my blog a bit later. (Posting here for everyones’ benefit)

Also will post websites for various other tools and resouces we talked about that I can remember.

Lutz Roeder’s Reflector: http://www.aisto.com/roeder/dotnet [also some other useful little tools on that website, so just dig around!]

There’s also a great addin tool by Denis Bauer by the name of Reflector.FileDisassembler listed here: http://www.denisbauer.com/NETTools

He’s also got a great “ASP.NET Version Switcher” application, for the times when you need to switch between ASP.NET 1.0/1.1/2.0.

If you are trying out VS.NET 2005 and are finding that the debug is no longer working, this is the application you need, if you don’t want to use the built in tool in the IIS Management Console.

Chris also mentioned the VS.NET powertoys blog, and for those who didn’t catch the URL, no wait, there was no URL given…

Anyway, the URL for that is: http://weblogs.asp.net/powertoys

Lots of add-ins for VS.NET 2002/2003 on there, there was even a recent powertoys contest run by Josh Ledgard the main guy running the powertoys blog.

Trying to remember everything else…

Ah yes, the other additional resources websites for developers:

Here are the main weblogs that you should check out:
Most of the Microsoft guys: http://blogs.msdn.com
Everyone else + Microsoft guys: http://weblogs.asp.net [this one and the above are the same, except top one is only the Microsoft bloggers]
Channel 9: http://channel9.msdn.com
ASP.NET: http://www.asp.net [Resources on only ASP.NET]
Windows.NET: http://www.windows.net [Resources on only Windows Forms.NET]
MSDN Webcasts: http://msdn.microsoft.com/webcasts
MSDN Webcasts blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/msdnwebcasts [Good for checking out the upcoming and past MSDN WebCasts]
DotNetRocks: http://www.franklins.net/dotnetrocks
MSDN TV: http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdntv
The .NET Show: http://msdn.microsoft.com/theshow
VB TV: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbtv

Note: The websites above that have videos and audio streams do have them available for download, so just save them and watch them when you are free.

I’ve downloaded plenty, but haven’t yet watched them all. Don’t have the time…

All of the above and more is linked on the main MSDN Website: http://msdn.microsoft.com

If I can remember anything else in the next few days i’ll post it up on my blog (http://will.id.au/blog), and as I always seem to be doing lately, i’ll post up a summary of the User Group meeting.

I’m sure i’ve missed a few items that you guys were interested in.

Also, in regards to the O/R mapping stuff, you can find a lot of those links on Chris Garty’s blog: http://weblogs.asp.net/chrisgarty (lots of handy links there)

I’ll actually post this email up on my blog “as is” for future reference if anybody needs to find it.



PS: Sorry if this is a bit like spam for some of you!

PPS: Oh, and yes, I do subscribe to several hundred weblogs (but that’s including all the individual blogs that get aggregated on weblogs.asp.net/blogs.msdn.com). But no, i’m not crazy. And yes, I do go through most of it.

PPPS: One final note, if you don’t already have a weblog, I strongly recommend you sign up for a free account somewhere and get Frank Arrigo (http://blogs.msdn.com/frankarr) to add you to the aus-dotnet OPML file.

I’m recommeding a blog because it is a great place to:
1) leave links that you might need later on, and for others who may find it useful
2) good way to communicate with others, share your wealth of knowledge
3) get yourself an online presence.

Getting started with Visual Web Developer Express?

Check out the Visual Web Developer Express Edition Guided Tour if you’re just getting familiarised with the new environment.

It runs you through the various new features of ASP.NET 2.0 and has some handy info on SQL Server Express (which I found handy).

Or if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking? ” Now why do I need to read a guided tour?” I’m sure i’ll find out everything I need to know by myself anyway? Well, then jump right ahead! Yup! Go for it!

I haven’t actually read that guided tour (well, except for the SQL Server part).

And here is another handy link: Web Development with Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition and SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, Part 1.

I’m fine with the Visual Web Dev, it’s just the getting it to play nicely with SQL Server Express that was causing a bit of pain. But thanks to the two above articles, I got it to work. And also posted my solution on the Channel9.msdn.com forums.

Ok, back to my lunch now…

Quick update on installation of VS 2005 Web Dev Express Edition

Just a quick note, got it installed just now. Though the final setup seems like it probably froze. (This is just after the two reboots).

But it works anyway.

Haven’t really played with it, but created one of the Start Kit sites, which is a Photo Album. Interesting choice…

I’ll play with it tommorow night or something, and let you guys know how it goes. Right now, it’s time for me to drift off into slumber land 🙂

Something odd I noticed, I sent off an email to the aus-dotnet mailing list at 6:55pm, it didn’t arrive in my inbox until 8:55pm. How odd… (This is the email that contains what I posted here in the previous post… Actually, I copy and pasted that stuff from the email onto here).

Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition

Just got home, and went to check out the channel9 site [http://channel9.msdn.com] and saw something new (aside from the layout).

It’s called Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition. And it comes in 5 flavours. VB 2005 Express, C# 2005 Express, J# 2005 Express, Visual Web Dev 2005 Express (And there is also SQL Server 2005 Express).

Check out the following link for more information.


Looks like we’re all going to have access to the Beta editions of these standalone products.

Oh, and check out: http://channel9.msdn.com/express

This is really cool stuff, we get to play with .NET 2.0 (beta) right now.

Oh, and do join the channel9 coding contest. What an excellent idea to get people to start using this new framework!

Time to think about writing a cool app for this.

Should be interesting to see what people create! I’m sure there are heaps of really creative things that can be created to take advantage of the features of the framework.