CodeSmith and Visual Studio.Net 2005 beta 2 story

I already blogged about CodeSmith being a wonderful tool so I won’t repeat my ode again. While CodeSmith is a great tool it doesn’t yet support integration into Visual Studio.Net 2005 beta 2. By integration I mean CodeSmith AddIn window and CodeSmithGenerator. I never find the former particulary useful thus I won’t bother with it. The later it is another story.

Generators are those tools that transform a data file into a source file whenever data file changes or on demand. A typical generator is DataSetGenererator that ships with Visual Studio.Net itself and takes care of transforming dataset schema into strong typed dataset source file. To find which generator is used for transformation you might take a look at data file properties, field Custom Tool. That was a brief description of generators. If you are wondering what does CodeSmithGenerator do it is pretty simple. It takes a properly defined xml file that defines which template to use with which property sets and accordingly produces a source file – basically what CodeSmith does, but this time right within Visual Studio IDE. I won’t elaborate here as it is not in the scope of this post.

So, what’s the problem. As mentioned CodeSmith doesn’t support Visual Studio.Net 2005 and doesn’t install its CodeSmithGenerator to work with it. Fear not, there is a simple solution. Let’s say you are installing CodeSmith on a computer with only Visual Studio.Net 2005 installed.

1. Install .net framework 1.1 which is required by CodeSmith (I am not sure if this step if required).
2. Install CodeSmith 3.0.
3. Add the following data into registry (paste it to a file named something.reg and double click on it).

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

@=”CodeSmith C# Code Generator”

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\VisualStudio\8.0\Generators is path to Visual Studio generators registry entries and {FAE04EC1-301F-11D3-BF4B-00C04F79EFBC} stands for C# generators (that work in C# projects). If you want to register generator for VB you should use this guid: instead (you can safely enter both versions) {164B10B9-B200-11D0-8C61-00A0C91E29D5}.

4. You’ll need a CodeSmith installed on a computer with Visual Studio.Net 2003 (if it doesn’t find Visual Studio.Net 2003 it won’t install necessary files). Copy files from C:\Program Files\CodeSmith\v3.0\bin (assuming CodeSmith is installed in C:\Program Files\CodeSmith\v3.0 folder) into target computer.
5. Run Visual Studio .NET 2003 Command Prompt and change directory to C:\Program Files\CodeSmith\v3.0\bin. Run installutil CodeSmith.VisualStudio.CodeGenerators.dll to register the dll as an ActiveX class (that CLSID entry from registry entry in step 3).

That’s it. You are free to run the CodeSmithGenerator now. Ah, yes, there is a minor issue. For some reason you won’t be able to register the CodeSmithGenerator – it will always run in trial mode. That said, I hope Eric will add support for Visual Studio.Net 2005 to avoid these problems in future.

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