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Would you, as a .NET programmer, recommend using a design environment (like Visual Studio.NET or Visual C#.NET) to develop ASP.NET applications;
or hardcoding user controls and other components using C#?
My thought is that hardcoding takes 10-times longer, but may help a developer better understand the code.
I'm an old coder...(started with Pascal and C back in the early 90's). When I got into web development, I learned HTML, ASP, PHP, etc. and have been highly proficient in hand-coding with them over the years.
Never used site development software, but the ASP.NET library of functions, controls, etc. -- is extensive.
Guess I'll have to come up with the money to invest in Visual Studio.
Have you looked at the MS Express products? These are free development tools for the .NET framework. I've been using VB Express to write Win apps for a while now and it has all the bells and whistles of the Visual Studio dev environment but without the cost.
There is a Web Express for ASP.NET sites. I've not personally used this, but if it's anything like the other Express products it should be pretty good and give you what you need.
At least try Web Express initially and if it doesn't fit the bill then you may have to pay for VS. Anything developed in the Express versions is fully compatible with Visual Studio. I.e. you can upgrade your web app easily if you change your mind about Express.
I used VWD until I got a copy of VS 2005, and if I had to go back to VWD, it wouldn't slow me down a bit.