Large application portfolios and transient development teams are a reality in today’s enterprise environment. Team members are often shared between active projects, and the use of contract resources on-site and off-site is on the rise in order to assist with increasing demand. All the while maintenance of existing applications remains a critical aspect to keeping any organization functioning. Environments such as these can benefit from having their development solutions setup in such a way that a developer can pick it up immediately and run with it. They shouldn’t have to worry about installing libraries and tooling in order to be productive. They also shouldn’t have to worry about version skew of products over a wide range of projects, whether they are old or new.
Luckily, Telerik now provides project teams with a solution to this problem – the ability to copy referenced assemblies directly into the solution. We know a lot of you have been using a similar setup to resolve the same issues. Now we have an automated way to do this without going through the hassle of setting it up manually. Copying the assemblies to the solution makes your projects fully portable as all referenced Telerik assemblies and their dependencies will reside and live within the project itself. A project will build and run without the need to install the specific version of the tooling on the developer’s machine. This feature is also fully compliant with source control systems like TFS 2010 and TFS 2012 making work with a distributed and/or fluid project team much simpler and ensuring application support is a much easier process. Source control support also ensures that when Telerik controls are updated, that these changes are then propagated to current and future members of the team.
The feature to add referenced assemblies to solution will create a “lib” folder in the project solution directory where it will copy all required Telerik assemblies and dependencies needed to build and run the application. Project references will also be updated to point to the assemblies in the lib folder. This means when paired with a source control system like TFS, project team members can simply pull down the project from source control and begin working. Likewise, if a project is distributed to another developer by the sharing a zip file of the solution folder, it can simply be unzipped by the next developer and it will be in a state where it can be built and run.
Initiating the use of this feature can be found in a few different places:
1) When creating a new project
When you create a new Telerik based project, in the Project Configuration Wizard dialog you will see a checkbox (that is unchecked by default) indicating the ability to copy the referenced assemblies to the solution. The screenshot below shows the dialog you will encounter when creating a new C# RadControls Web Application.
2) When upgrading an existing Telerik project using the Upgrade Wizard
When upgrading a Telerik project to a newer version of the controls, the Solution Upgrade Wizard displays the checkbox to add the referenced assemblies to the solution, also unchecked by default. The screenshot below shows the upgrade dialog of a WinForms Project. Please note that the Upgrade Wizard is available on any Telerik-based project at any time. This means that you can copy the referenced assemblies to the solution through this dialog at any time, regardless of whether or not you are actually updating the distribution version.
3) When converting an existing project to a Telerik project
A very similar Project Configuration Wizard dialog is displayed when converting a regular project to a Telerik project, again the checkbox for add referenced assemblies to solution is unchecked by default. This screen shows the conversion of a regular empty ASP.Net web application to a Telerik ASP.Net web application.
Developers will be faced with working on multiple project assignments at any given time. They need the ability to adjust and be productive on any project that is thrown at them whether it be maintenance work or new development. It is also a reality that an organization can’t expect to be able to upgrade and fully test the impact of a new version of a control suite on every application in their portfolio in one fell swoop. Making projects portable through the use of a feature like adding referenced assemblies to a project solution greatly increases developer productivity as they can get directly into the code, without having to worry about installing additional tooling.
Telerik thinks ahead and not only provides you with a vast array of controls to make development more productive, we also believe in making the day-to-day experience of the developer as frictionless as possible. Providing the ability to copy referenced assemblies into a project solution is but one of the many ways that Telerik strives to make a developers life easier.
Carey Payette is a Developer Advocate. You can follow Carey on Twitter @careypayette or read her personal blog at www.codingbandit.com.