Chris Gomez

Development topics for the indie programmer

Intro to Git in Visual Studio

More and more, my topics are going to involve you downloading and looking at code.  And that will mean you can get the code from GitHub.  The idea of “social coding” has gone beyond the hot new fad to being the standard for open source projects.

Even for Microsoft developers who are used to waiting for CTP’s and Preview SDKs, this is changing rapidly.  The ASP.NET team has embraced open source, and are developing the next generation of ASP.NET in the open, and it’s all available to view and contribute to on GitHub.  Even TFS supports Git repositories now and so do the other sites in the “social coding” space.

If your daily home is Windows and Visual Studio, here’s a short primer on how you can get started.

Okay, I have Visual Studio, what else do I need to install?

Right now, nothing.  Let’s start with Visual Studio’s capabilities and move on from there.

At the Philly.Net Hands-On Lab last September, I demonstrated a few tools by using a GitHub repository.  We’ll practice cloning this repository first.

The purpose of this post, and this lab, is just to show you how to use the Git tools built into Visual Studio.  As you get more advanced, there are a lot of other great things you can do with Git, and I’ll have some tips for you on that as well.

Get the URL for the repository

If you head to, you’ll find the repository.  First off, you could just use the Download ZIP button in the lower right to get the code.  But instead, copy the clone url.  We can use that inside Visual Studio.

The url is:

Open Team Explorer in Visual Studio 2013

You can use any Visual Studio edition to do this.  Whether you have Ultimate, Professional, Community or an Express Edition, this works.  Since this project is an ASP.NET Web API project, you COULD use Visual Studio 2013 Express for Web.

But don’t do that.  If you need a free version of Visual Studio, get Visual Studio Community.  It is equivalent to the Professional version, but it is absolutely free for you to use to get started learning to code.  Get it here.  Do not bother with the Express editions anymore.  It is high time they were unified again and kudos to Microsoft for doing it.


3D Game Development: Sculpting Worlds with Unity

Last night at Philly GameWorks in Malvern, we learned the basics of using the Unity game engine to create an outdoor world you can then explore using standard first person gaming controls.

We’ll be working more with Unity and other game engines at the meetup, and we want to see you there.  There should be no worries that you haven’t been keeping up as we strive to have meetups that cater to the beginner and the Philly GameWorks enthusiast.

(You can download this ZIP file stored on Dropbox and run the Windows executable if you want to see the product. Hopefully that works for you if you are interested:

We hadn’t written a single line of script code and we had built a world that we could explore in a first person viewpoint complete with a beautiful sky, mountains, hills, trees, grass and environmental sounds.


We used the standard installed Character Controller package to insert a First Person Controller that you could use to walk around your creation when playing the game right inside Unity.


Start your journey in code

It is cliche to say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Nevertheless, starting a journey to become a software developer is going to take awhile.  Therefore, my advice is you start today.

When I related how my journey began when I was ten years old, it isn’t to scare you into believing that you only have a few decades to go.  Not every moment of every day of that time was spent improving as a developer.  I gave up on the whole thing for a few stints of years at a time.  Then I became reinvigorated and got a few jobs.  Next thing you know, it’s a career.

What I believe you must do is begin immersing yourself in the discipline.  This doesn’t mean immersion as in fanatic devotion.  It means that you should do what you can to start listening to voices in the development community.  It means you should try to build some meaningful application.  It means you should code. More...