I wanted to share an experience I had last week while working with my development team. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re the first group in my company to move to .NET 2.0. As a result, we’re also the first to get to really use Visual Studio 2005. We had been working on mockups and UI designs with our users for quite a while on this project.

Finally, we were getting ready to start work on the internals. The three of us met in a conference room with a projector and I pulled up the Class Designer in Visual Studio. I’ve done team-coding a few times before, where one person is typing while everyone else is yelling out bugs or typos. While the process can be annoying, it also tends to produce less-buggy code. Doing the same thing with the Class Designer worked out really well. It helped us visualize how everything would tie together. We were drawing out our code, but behind the scenes, the Class Designer was also spitting out workable code!

I don’t think I could use the Class Designer in all cases, but it really does force you to think about design issues and it makes for a good team development product. It also helps ease developers who aren’t as comfortable with OO concepts see how inheritance is working. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.