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Investigating CodeSmith
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Before we begin the actual work of providing code-generation capabilities for the delivery process, we can investigate some features of CodeSmith to ensure that it can provide what we need. Figure 9-1 shows the CodeSmith IDE. If you do not wish to purchase CodeSmith, you can download a simple version that allows the execution of templates but does not offer the added help of the IDE. Take a look at Appendix A for further information. The IDE consists of three areas. To the left is the editing window, which lets you construct, compile, and execute templates. To the right at the top is the available linked folders providing rapid access to template files. To the right at the bottom are the properties relating to the currently open template file.
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CHAPTER 9 CODE GENERATION
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Figure 9-1. The CodeSmith IDE
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Our use of CodeSmith is not designed as a full tour of the product. We recommend you gain some Tip
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familiarity with the IDE before continuing.
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You can hook up the navigator to the CodeGen folder in the source code for this chapter to begin working with the following examples.
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Using Properties
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Using CodeSmith, we can very easily produce a template that accepts a parameter and produces some arbitrary output. Consider the following template: <%-Name: Author: Description: %> test.single.cst Marc Holmes Generates a file with a single variable.
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CHAPTER 9 CODE GENERATION
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<%@ CodeTemplate Language="C#" TargetLanguage="Text" Src="" Inherits="" Debug="False" Description="Generates a file with a single variable." %> <%@ Property Name="SolutionName" Type="System.String" Default="Etomic.Test" Optional="False" Category="Project" Description="The project name " %> This file generated by CodeSmith on <%= DateTime.Now.ToLongDateString() %> Name: <%=SolutionName%> When executed using Etomic.Test.1 as the SolutionName property (the type is set to System.String), the following output is observed: This file generated by CodeSmith on 17 January 2005 Name: Etomic.Test.1 So this is perfectly acceptable where we need only enter single property values to handle the transformation, but in fact we have multiple values for the same property (as we have multiple solutions). We cannot run CodeSmith multiple times since all of the solutions need to be in the same file for the ccnet.config file. The following template file demonstrates the use of a collection as a property: <%-Name: test.multiple.cst Author: Marc Holmes Description: Generates a file with multiple variables. %> <%@ CodeTemplate Language="C#" TargetLanguage="Text" Src="" Inherits="" Debug="False" Description="Generates a file with multiple variables." %> <%@ Property Name="SolutionNames" Type="System.String[]" Default="Etomic.Test" Optional="False" Category="Project" Description="The project name" %> This file generated by CodeSmith on <%= DateTime.Now.ToLongDateString() %> <% foreach(string SolutionName in SolutionNames) { %> Name: <%=SolutionName%> <% } %> In this instance I have used a string array CodeSmith can handle most framework types automatically to maintain the list of solution names. I can then use some C# to loop through the array and produce output for each value in the array. When we try to input the array for this template, the property editor identifies the need for a collection editor and produces the screen shown in Figure 9-2.
CHAPTER 9 CODE GENERATION
Figure 9-2. Collection editing in CodeSmith The resulting output looks like this: This file generated by CodeSmith on 17 January 2005 Name: Etomic.Test.1 Name: Etomic.Test.2 This is much closer to our desired use of CodeSmith. There are more complicated requirements, however: the need to use XML as the input to CodeSmith, and the need to output multiple files. Fortunately, both of these issues are handled neatly by CodeSmith with a little work on our part. The code used in the following solutions is lifted from the samples that come with CodeSmith and is repurposed for my specific needs here. First, we must use an XML file for input. Consider the following very basic XML file that we might want to use to maintain the master information: < xml version="1.0" > <ProjectSet xmlns="http://www.etomic.co.uk"> <Projects> <Project Name="Etomic.Test.1"/> <Project Name="Etomic.Test.2"/> </Projects> </ProjectSet> At the moment, this is no more complicated than the string array from the earlier example, but of course this schema can be extended. CodeSmith can handle the input of such a file through the creation of two things: an XML-serializable type and a suitable property editor. Fortunately, CodeSmith comes with the appropriate XmlSerializedFilePicker control and so we just need to reference and utilize the control.
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