Introduction to The Coding Draftsman's AutoCAD Programming Guide
Hello and welcome to the The Coding Draftsman's AutoCAD Programming Guide.
This guide will get you started developing software using the AutoCAD Dot Net API and Visual Studio Community Edition. It is a really exciting time to be developing software extensions for AutoCAD and verticals. With Autodesk giving coders a place to sale their wares (The Autodesk Exchange Store) and Microsoft releasing a full version of Visual Studio for free there really is nothing holding you back from producing the software you've always wanted.
If you want to develop software additions for AutoCAD it is kinda of a must have. Autodesk has several different ways you can get this software. You can download an evaluation copy and use it for 30 days. You can purchase a pay as you go license or buy the software outright and purchase a maintenance subscription. To look at your options for purchasing the software check out their site. You could also get developer additions of this software by joining the Autodesk Developer Network. If you intend of using your software for the purposes of software development then the Autodesk Developer Network is defiantly a very solid investment. If your intention is to sell drafting services you must purchase the software individually though.
For years Microsoft has had Express editions of their Visual Studio IDE and they have been great, but in 2014 they released the Community Edition which is actually a full featured edition of the software for free. This is really just a no brainier here guys and gals. This free edition does debugging and testing. I was already a big fan of Visual Studio but the changes that Microsoft has been implementing has really turned me into a huge Microsoft fan in general.
Visual Studio Online (Optional)
Cloud cloud it's all about the cloud. Microsoft (and Autodesk too) are really all about the cloud these days. And if you are following the offerings it is truly amazing the growth in this area. Visual Studio Online is a fantastic tool. Even if you are a single user and you only program from one development computer I suggest using the service to backup your code. This service allows you to create as many private repositories for your code as you need. And if you start expanding to coding with friends or coworkers you can connect up to 5 users for free. Check out the site for all the information. I for one use all the free services I can get my hands on.
Every year Autodesk updates their Dot net wizards. These wizards aid in the setup of projects. I personally don't tend to use these. Call me a control freak but I like to create my own project templates.