Learning To Program In Microsoft Visual Studio: From A Chromebook & Chrome OS User


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While there is the Neutron Drive IDE Web App for Programming in Chrome OS, anyone who wants to learn how to Program in any or all the Languages that come as part of Visual Studio, it’s probably best to learn how to Program using Visual Studio since it’s the Industry Standard IDE for Programming.

But Visual Studio is expensive!!!! I hear you cry, well that may be true for the Professional & Ultimate Editions of Visual Studio which have been part of the Visual Studio line since 2005. visual Studio Express 2013 is composed of 3 different Editions (Visual Studio Express Web for Developing Web Applications, Visual Studio Express Windows for Developing Windows 8+ Modern UI Apps & Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop for Developing Traditional Windows Programs that run on all versions of Windows) There is also an Express Edition of  the server-side Version Control Team Foundation Server that also runs on Client Machines thanks to Windows built-in Web Server IIS. These Express Editions including Team Foundation Server are free to Download & use on as many Windows Desktops or Laptops as you like, Visual Studio 2013 only runs on Windows 8/8.1 so if you’re running Windows 7 then you will need Visual Studio 2012. Visual Studio Express takes all the complexity out of Visual Studio Professional or Ultimate.

Programming using Visual Studio & Chrome OS

The only way to Program using Visual Studio on Chrome OS requires a Windows Computer with Visual Studio installed along with the Chrome Web Browser & the Chrome Remote Desktop extension installed and the Chrome Remote Desktop installed on your Chrome OS computer. See my last Article for more on Chrome Remote Desktop.

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop

Visual Studio runs just as smooth as if you were using it directly on your Windows computer over Chrome Remote Desktop when on a WiFi Network but it runs slightly slower when using a Mobile data connection, but this might show that there is some form of compression going on that’s not as noticeable when on WiFi.

Programming in Visual Studio while using Chrome OS gives you all the benefits of Chrome OS. This is true for any Programmer who wants to Program while away from home or the office, as they don’t have to take a heavy Laptop.

With Chromebooks being light and inexpensive compared to Windows Laptops, & Windows Ultrabooks of a comparable size and Wight being the same price if not more expensive than a regular Windows Laptop then a Chromebook makes the excellent companion  for a programmer especially when using Chrome Remote Desktop means that a Programmer doesn’t have to take their expensive Laptop on the road with them to Program.

Visual Studio Express is the perfect IDE for any novice Programmer as it allows you to install the correct tools for what you want to create.

  • If you want to create Web Apps then Visual Studio Express Web Edition is the right IDE for you.
  • If you want to create Windows 8 Modern Apps then Visual Studio Express Windows Edition is the right IDE for you.
  • If you want to create traditional Windows Programs then Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop Edition is the right IDE for you.

It’s even possible to install all three of the Visual Studio Express Editions if you require all three. If you’re a student and lucky enough to be able to get a Student MSDN Subscription then I’d suggest getting one of the none Express Editions of Visual Studio from there. (intact I’d recommend that any student that is able to get a Student MSDN Subscription gets all the downloads that they’re entitled to while they can).

Why I chose Microsoft Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop Edition

  I chose Microsoft Visual Studio Express Windows Desktop Edition because I’m currently interested in creating traditional Windows Desktop Programs not the Windows 8 Modern Apps or Web Apps. Once I’ve learnt how to write Programs in all the different Languages available in the Windows Desktop Edition I’ll move on to the Windows Edition before finally going on to the Web Edition.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to Program since Visual Studio Express originally came out in 2005 so learning to Program for the Windows Desktop was the obvious first step to take in the learning process for me, but for many of you that are reading this and are maybe thinking about learning to Program then the Visual Studio Web or Windows IDE’s might be more of what you’re into for your first step into Programming. (The downside to Programming for Windows & not the Windows Desktop is that you need to pay for a Developer Subscription to distribute your apps on the Windows Store, where as Windows Desktop Programs can be easily distributed  through Source Forge, Dropbox, Box, OneDrive & Copy meaning that you can get your Programs out there with little or no cost involved.)

I’ll do a follow-up Article at some point in the future.

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 Windows Desktop Edition running on Chrome OS via Chrome Remote Desktop

Roland

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Using Chrome Remote Desktop To Use Windows, Mac OS X Or Linux In Chrome OS


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While many people call Chromebooks not real Laptops because you can’t run programs like Visual Studio or Office on them and the fact that some of the Chrome OS apps that do the same thing are a little lacking in features compared to their Windows, Mac OS X or Linux equivalents.

Google does offer a lightweight and convenient solution for anyone who needs to use Windows, Mac OS X or Linux programs in the form of Chrome Remote Desktop, Chrome Remote Desktop allows you to keep using your Chromebook, Chromebox or Chromebase while being logged into a different OS remotely. This is handy if you need to use a particular program doesn’t have a Chrome OS equivalent.

I use Chrome Remote Desktop to log into my Windows 8.1 Pro Laptop to keep it up-to-date as well as  use programs like Visual Studio & PhotoShop. I can see Chrome Remote Desktop being a very useful app for College students, as they can keep their heavy Windows Laptop or MacBook Pro at home or in their dorm room and use a Chromebook at lectures and still be able to use programs like Visual Studio e.t.c. without having to worry about carrying a heavy Laptop all day along with their textbooks e.t.c.

A Windows 8.1 Pro session open in Chrome Remote Desktop, while TweetDeck is open and docked to the right hand side of my Chrome OS Desktop

A Windows 8.1 Pro session open in Chrome Remote Desktop, while TweetDeck is open and docked to the right hand side of my Chrome OS Desktop

Chrome Remote Desktop is really handy for me as I prefer the Keyboard on my Acer Chromebook to the Keyboard on my Toshiba Windows Laptop, so Chrome Remote Desktop allows me to Code in Visual Studio while still using my preferred Keyboard.

Google Calendar on the left of my Chrome OS Desktop, while Google Remote Desktop is on the right with Visual Studio running in Windows 8.1 Pro

Google Calendar on the left of my Chrome OS Desktop, while Google Remote Desktop is on the right with Visual Studio running in Windows 8.1 Pro

Chrome Remote Desktop has another handy little feature that is Remote Assistance that allows a Desktop can be shared to allow for someone to help with troubleshooting while not being sat in-front of the computer that needs troubleshooting, but this is beyond the scope of this Article as it’s not really a feature that many people will use compared to the Remote Desktop feature.

Roland

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Programming In Chrome OS Choices


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If you’re a Programmer and use Chrome OS you’ve got a choice of applications that you can use.

Text

Text is a simple text editor, it has line numbering and syntax highlighting. Text is ideal for anyone who prefers to Code in a minimalistic environment .

With Text there is no Debugging menu or on the fly Compiling to test your Code.

Text can also be used as a simple notepad as well.

Nitrous.IO

Nitrous.IO is a basic IDE for Ruby On Rails, node.js, Python & GO along with C/C++. Nitrous.IO uses a subscription model if you want to create more programs than what you get with a free account.

Nitrous.IO isn’t one of the best designed IDE’s around as it’s a very basic IDE.

Neutron Drive

Neutron Drive is as fully featured IDE that allows you to program in a large range of languages, and is ideal for any type of project that you might want to create.

best of all Neutron Drive is free, but as of writing I’m unable to find Neutron Drive in the Chrome Store.

Conclusion

Neutron Drive is probably the best programming app in the Chrome web Store, Neutron Drive seems to be hidden if you do a search from the Chrome Store homepage but a link is available from the Neutron Drive website, here is the neutron Drive Chrome Store listing.

There are other programming environments available on Chrome /Chrome OS, but this is just a small selection of what I’ve ether had installed in the past or currently got installed.

Roland

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Developing In Chrome OS Using Neutron Drive


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Neutron Drive is a fully featured Cloud based IDE that allows you to code in a large selection of Programming Languages, Scripting Languages, Markup/Template Languages, Query/Data Languages as well as others including CSS.

Page 1 of the Languages available in Neutron Drive

Page 1 of the Languages available in Neutron Drive

Page 2 of available Languages in Neutron Drive

Page 2 of available Languages in Neutron Drive

Once Neutron Drive is all setup for your chosen Language/Project it looks just like a conventional IDE such as Microsoft Visual Studio.

Neutron Drive setup with code entered & tabs for various aspects of the Project

Neutron Drive setup with code entered & tabs for various aspects of the Project

Like all apps designed for Chrome/Chrome OS Neutron Drive uses Google Drive to store your Projects.

I’ll go into Neutron Drive more in the future as I attempt to Program in the various languages available in Neutron Drive.

Conclusion

Neutron Drive looks to be the best Programming IDE for Chrome/Chrome OS and could be a way for Chromebooks, Chromeboxes & the recently introduced Chromebases into the Business/Professional world.

Roland

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Learning to Program In Google Apps Script (Part 2)


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In part two I’ll go through some more of the Google Apps Script tutorials.

The third Script

The third Script is basically just creating a custom function that uses Google Sheets to convert from Inches to Millimeters, it’s not as complex as the script used in the first of the Google Sheets Scripts that was the second of the tutorials that I did in the last part.

The fourth Script

The fourth Script is still pretty basic but it’s a little more advanced as it uses a Google Sheets Spreadsheet to send messages to multiple recipients, this could be used to send basic emails to multiple contacts. But in reality I think it’s just an example of what you can do with Scripts in Google Sheets.

In the next part of this series I’ll go through some more of the tutorials.

Roland

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Learning to Program In Google Apps Script (Part 1)


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Setting up Google Apps Script

The first thing that needs to be done is to Install the Google Apps Script web app from the Chrome Store, using the web app for Apps Script will prevent you from losing the bookmark in your bookmarks folder in Chrome and will make it easier to open Google Apps Script when you’re using Chrome OS as you’ll be able to pin it to the Chrome OS Shelf.

The Google Apps Script IDE

The Google Apps Script may look lightweight and simple when you first open it, but from reading what Apps Script can do on the Google Developers Apps Script tutorial site it looks like a very powerful scripting language.

Creating a first Script

Google Apps Script is based on the JavaScript scripting language so anyone proficient in JavaScript should feel right at home and only need to learn how to use the Google specific pieces of code to write a script or customization. for anyone who doesn’t know how to code in JavaScript the I’d recommend using the tutorials here and set up your workspace so you can follow the tutorials without having to switch between Chrome and Google Apps Script (if you’re using Chrome OS I’d even alter the resolution of your Chromebook, Chromebox or Chromebase so that you can snap Chrome and Google Apps script to the sides without any overlap 1536×864 resolution, it’s not the best for playing YouTube videos, but if you need to maximize your screen real estate then it’ll be ok, just remember to drop down to the recommended resolution when you’ve finished )

The first script in the tutorials

The first script in the tutorials is a simple one, but when I tried it I keep getting an error saying TypeError: Cannot find function getbody in object Document. (line 6, file “Code”)

Error message

Error message

But yet if I copy and past the code into the Apps Script editor it works without any problems what so ever.

Extending Google Sheets

The second example in the tutorials is a simple case of downloading a sample Google Sheets Spreadsheet into your Google Drive library and copying the sample code into the Apps Script editor and following the tutorial instructions for running the script. it doesn’t teach you much in the way of coding the particular Script but you can always look through the code that you’ve copied at your leisure, but the tutorial shows you some of the advanced scripts & customization that you can do with Apps Script.

In the next part I’ll go through another two maybe three of the tutorials from the Google Developers website.

Roland

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Programming in Chrome OS


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When it comes to programming in Chrome OS the main language and IDE is Google Apps Script. Google Apps Script is a Scripting language based on JavaScript. Google Apps Script can be thought of as similar to the VBA Scripting language used to develop automation style Add-ons in Microsoft Office.

Google Apps Script is used to develop customizations and automation Scripts for Google Services such as Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms and much more.

Google Apps Script project selection window

Google Apps Script project selection window

Google Apps Script’s IDE looks like the IDE from any other language, but with several differences.

  1. Google Apps Script can’t be used to create complex applications like you can with Python, C, C#, C++, Visual Basic as it’s more like VBA meets JavaScript.
  2. Google Apps Script can’t create Scripts for Microsoft Office as that requires VBA (but it might be possible to create Scripts for anything written in JavaScript).
  3. If you want to create anything big and complex like an OS and OS Kernel then you might be better with something like Assembly language or C or C++.
Google Apps Script Code Editor

Google Apps Script Code Editor

If you are proficient in JavaScript then it’s entirely possible that you can write some pretty complex customizations or even automation scripts for Google services.

If like me you’re new to Google Apps Script or even writing code then a wealth of tutorials and information can be found on the Google Developers website.

If you want to create something a bit more complex than what you can create in Google Apps Script while still using Chrome OS then there is the Nitrous.IO IDE that can create Python, PHP, Ruby/Rails, Node.js & Go programming languages, but for the average Chrome OS user then I think Google Apps Script will be more than adequate. Google Apps Script will be enough for professionals that are ether using Chrome OS or just the plain old Google Apps service on a Windows, Mac or Linux setup as Google Apps Script is a cloud based scripting service and your scripts are stored in Google Drive then it makes it a truly cross-platform  language that can be used on any of your devices (I’m not sure if scripts or customizations will work on the mobile versions of Google Drive or not).

My next Chrome OS series will be on learning how to create scripts and customizations for the Google services that are supported by Google Apps Script.

Roland

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