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Mono Releases 1.3

Moma helps Mono improve

Mono has released version 1.2.3, and there are a lot of improvements and additions. In my opinion, the biggest addition is the new Visual Basic compiler. It's not ready for prime time and is still officially unsupported, but this is the first version of VB to be included as a standard part of a release. Note that it only targets VB8 and .NET 2.0; there are no plans to make it backward-compatible with .NET 1.1 (The runtime supports .NET 1.1 so programs compiled with Microsoft Visual Basic 1.1 will run under Mono.) It includes generics and can compile itself. This version is considered to be feature complete, but not fully debugged. The team needs programmers to try to compile and run their VB.NET programs with Mono and report bugs.

Another big advance in this release is that ASP.NET is now "control complete" except for WebParts. This means that although they may have some bugs and be missing minor features, for the most part, all ASP.NET 2.0 controls are now usable. If you find a bug or missing feature, it's likely it'll be fixed soon after you submit a bug report. Mainsoft has contributed heavily to this part of the project, including hundreds of bug fixes and tests in addition to the code for the controls themselves. Part of the work Mainsoft did was to port the Personal Web site, Club site, Small business, Classifieds, and Time Tracker ASP.NET applications to run on its Grasshopper project. They have not been tested directly on Mono, but should be close to running. We'll have more about Grasshopper next month.

Other ASP.NET enhancements include Tag Mapping in config files, the 2.0 Session State Model, support for custom profiles via the 2.0 ProfileCommon class generated from the profile properties listed in Web.config, and a full implementation of App_Local/GlobalResources.

Despite all the improvements, the Mono implementation of ASP.NET 2.0 is still incomplete, and has many bug and performance issues to be worked on; what's needed most now is for people to test their Web sites using Mono and report issues.

System.Windows.Forms continues to improve after its Mono 1.2 release. Just since the 1.2.2 release it has received over 115 bug fixes, plus many performance improvements, and it continues to support more .NET 2.0 features. Included in this release are the TableLayout control, auto completion for ListViewGroups, and updates to the 2.0 API, along with SendKeys from .NET 1.1.

Mono has upgraded its support for the Python language by replacing IronPython with the IronPython Community Edition (IPCE). IPCE includes IronPython and a number of other tools, libraries, and extensions. Part of this is associated with the FePy project, which also packages IronPython with other tools.

System.Net.Sockets is now 2.0 complete.

Moma Rocks!
Last month I reported that Moma, the Mono Migration Analyzer, helped Mono find and add 496 missing methods and 65 methods that threw NotImplemented exceptions. Some 212 bogus TODOs were removed. The Mono team asked everyone to help by running Moma on as.NET .exes and .dlls and send in reports.

For the 1.2.3 release, this has allowed Mono to find and add the most popular 1,933 missing methods and complete the 164 most popular TODOs.

How does this play out in the real world? I ran Moma on SharpDevelop 2.1 Beta 3 using both Mono 1.2.2 and Mono 1.2.3. The result are shown in Figure 1. The SD2.1 RC1 column compares Mono 1.2.3 with the newly available SharpDevelop 2.1 RC1.

The total missing is the combination of the missing and NotImplemented throws since both are about the same. Moma counts all the instances where a method is called; I eliminated duplicate calls and counted the number of unique methods missing, etc. Note that the number of TODOs increased.

This is because some of the missing methods have been implemented, but now have TODOs associated with them. Of the 312 TODOs called by SharpDevelop in 1.2.3, less than 10 unique methods accounted for more than half of the total.

Odds and Ends
A Mono-based MP3 player won best MP3 and portable audio player at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES). You can see the details at http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-12760_7-9672478-5.html?tag=txt.

In January, I gave a presentation on Mono at the Atlanta Code Camp; to see the PowerPoint slides go to www.atlantacodecamp.com/ and in the text box describing the Atlanta Code Camp 2007, click the "check out the downloads page" text.

More Stories By Dennis Hayes

Dennis Hayes is a programmer at Georgia Tech in Atlanta Georgia where he writes software for the Adult Cognition Lab in the Psychology Department. He has been involved with the Mono project for over six years, and has been writing the Monkey Business column for over five years.

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