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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On the 11th day of CAD...

On the 11th Day of CAD I give to you..... Free Visual Basic and some information on connecting to AutoCAD.

Well Santa Bill (Bill Gates and Microsoft) gives us free programming tools. This is great news considering I remember back in the day when I first started doing VB stuff it was roughly $900 or more which stopped me from buying my own version. This meant I only had VBA tools, or the version at the office. Well with Santa giving us the Express Version of VB, C++, C# we can now do some coding at home and learn some really cool things. There are some limitations with this however for most of our needs I think it will work. Enough talk about how cool this is, lets give you some links to where you can get it.

One of the main things I noticed with the express editions is that you can't set an application to run when debugging. What this means to us for AutoCAD programming is one of two things, You either have to write the code to start up AutoCAD in your VStudio project to allow you to debug, or not be able to step through your code. Not a huge deal but I like to be able to step through my code when coding for AutoCAD. Now keep in mind, this doesn't mean you can't debug for projects that aren't being written to connect to AutoCAD or any other application for that matter.

One other note, is that you can get a discounted price on Visual Studio with this promotion. I found out about this at Kean Walmsley's blog. (www.through-the-interface.typepad.com) This is a great resource for AutoCAD programming using Visual Studio.

It is probably also worth mentioning that you can get some templates that help you connect to AutoCAD and pre-build some of the information you need into your VS project. See this post from Kean for more information.

I hope this helps.

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