QuickSharp Guide

QuickSharp is a streamlined integrated development environment (IDE) for Microsoft's .NET platform. It is primarily aimed at C# programmers but its highly extensible architecture and flexible feature set mean it can easily be adapted to support other languages and development tools.

QuickSharp is open source and open-ended, featuring a highly modular architecture that supports easy extension and customization using a simple plugin-based approach. Plugins can be developed using any .NET language and QuickSharp itself makes an effective plugin development environment. Although the plugin architecture is simple it is not restricted. All aspects of QuickSharp's functionality can be accessed from plugins allowing enhancements from a simple short-cut key modification to an entire development subsystem to be added to the existing QuickSharp framework.

This framework is based on the central QuickSharp component, the 'QuickSharp.Core'. This is the heart of any QuickSharp-based application; it provides the basic application foundation and the plugin management system to allow extension and customization for any purpose. In fact the QuickSharp IDE is simply one possible application developed from the QuickSharp.Core; replace the existing plugin set with new plugins and you have a completely different application. QuickSharp supports customized branding and provides the basic plumbing for any application including a sophisticated docking-window architecture (similar to that used by Microsoft's Visual Studio), plugin loading and management, user settings management, simplified menu and toolbar customization, themes and versatile document handling.

The QuickSharp project is divided into two sub-projects: the QuickSharp IDE and the QuickSharp SDK. The IDE provides an integrated application presenting various features for developing .NET applications while the SDK presents the underlying components of the IDE as a tool kit for developing applications on the QuickSharp platform. Similarly this guide is divided into two sections: an outline of the IDE and a development guide for the SDK.

QuickSharp IDE

The QuickSharp IDE is intended to serve as a thin 'wrapper' around the .NET Framework tools. By providing an editing environment and tool integration it attempts to ease the process of working with these tools without attempting to hide them behind visual editors or wizards.

Consequently, QuickSharp is not really intended as a beginner's tool; to get the most from QuickSharp you will need to understand the .NET Framework and the tools provided by the Framework SDK.

For experienced developers QuickSharp provides a lightweight environment for experimentation and ad hoc programming tasks while its extensibility provides scope for creating specialized development functions using plugins.

QuickSharp SDK

The QuickSharp SDK provides the resources required to build applications on the QuickSharp platform. It includes the latest build of the QuickSharp.Core, the full set of IDE plugins, source code, core documentation and a Visual Studio 2008 sample project demonstrating a basic QuickSharp application.