The Hillbilly has been a-codin' lately but I haven't been doing anything that I think would pique your interest. I've been dipping my toes into test-driven development and may have something to say about that if I can think of something original, which isn't likely.
So file this post under "filler" and I'll toss out a smorgasbord of roadkill topics that aren't worth full posts individually.
Purchased a copy of DevExpress's XtraGrid suite after rejecting others that I'm sure are just as good. The grid itself is flashy enough and, more importantly, does what I want it to do without me having to build the functionality myself.
But it comes with a set of "Look and Feel" controls and navigators that were a nice surprise. They aren't anything I would have paid for on their own because I didn't realize I needed them. The navigators are, among other things, a framework for adding Windows XP- or Office-style side bars. Very handy and for the most part, pretty easy to use despite a couple of inevitable quirks.
Have been a ReSharper user for just over a month now mostly because of peer pressure. It's worth the purchase price but I'll still type things out on occasion rather than use the templates/shortcuts. Sometimes it's calming to type without having to think. Probably the same reason I comment my code so heavily. Also likely the reason most of my code doesn't actually do anything. Regardless, add me to the list of satisfied users.
Anyway, I guess the underlying theme here is not to be scared of purchasing things like grids and ummm....code...helping....thingies. (Corollary: And don't waste too much time comparing one to another. Chances are, you'll make your decision within ten minutes of installing a trial but that's another post.) This is a different attitude than what I had five years ago where my reaction would be, "$400? Screw that, I'll build it." Now, it's more like "$400? For something that would take me at least a month to build? That's a month I could be spending playing Lego Star Wars II! Where's my credit card?"
The point is that your time is worth something. Maybe it's money but it's probably more intangible if this is for a side project of yours. To paraphrase an example I recently gave a friend, how much would you pay to go windsurfing for the weekend rather than staying home and doing your taxes? If it's more than what your accountant charges, haul out your chequebook.
So maybe it's because I live in the Bahamas where this attitude is more rampant, but nowadays I'm a big fan of paying somebody to do something I just plain find boring. There are lots of examples: Website templates, building a home network, taxes, parenting. All of these cut into time I could spend on more interesting tasks. Like blogging, apparently.
Final topic: trial versions. Specifically, the lack of them. I have a couple of examples here. Firstly, the trial version of ReSharper installed exactly as I expected. Click Download and click Run. Ever diligent, I went to the DevExpress site to install a CodeRush trial. They have a nice little link titled "Try and Buy".
Now this being the 21st century, I don't have time to read an entire page when evaluating software. My modus operandi is to click "Trial", "Try Me", "Try and Buy" or whatever, then scan the page for a button or link that says Download. And I gets cranky when I can't see it right away. And even crankier when it doesn't actually exist.
Yes, DevExpress expects you to contact them to test their product. And hillbillies don't talk to sales people. Via phone, e-mail, chat, morse code, or semaphore. It's just not something we do. Something inate in our genetics. My family still receives phone calls from the descendents of a sales person who tried to sell us an automatic squirrel-skinner back in '08.
So I'm afraid CodeRush remains untested by me. As does OmniPage (as opposed to ABBYY who will receive payment in short order, likely in the form of raccoon pelts, for their easily-tested and fully functional Fine Reader).