Thursday, March 5, 2009

How to integrate Generated code into your application

[This was originally posted at]

Code generation is great, but sometimes it can be confusing how to integrate that generated code into your custom application. Keep in mind that an application isn't solely SQL or C#. It could include Html, ASP.Net, Xml, JavaScript, project files, and much more.

  • New file: Generate its own, new, separate file. This is the most basic way. You could then integrate it into your other files:
    • (C#) Base Class - For an OOP language like C#, you could code-generate the base class, and then have your derived classes inherit it.
    • (C#) Partial classes - Starting with .Net 2.0, C# offered partial classes which let you split the class definition across multiple physical files.
    • All: Include statements - Many languages offer a way to include one file within another. For example, ASP.Net offers server side includes, MSBuild offers the import command, HTML allows you to reference an external JavaScript, etc... (Yes, you could to this with SQL to using SqlCmds)
  • Existing file: Merge into existing file with custom regions. For example, CodeSmith offers two kinds of custom regions:
    • InsertRegion - Insert your generated code into a marked region of a custom file
    • PreserveRegion - Insert your custom code into a code-generated file.

You could also integrate CodeSmith into your builds and processes by calling the CodeSmith console app.

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