How to get Visual Studio 2008 Pro for Free

I often read posts and other comments from people who complain that Visual Studio is too expensive, etc. Sometimes they aren't even aware that the free EXPRESS versions exist.

Well, don't fret. There are two ways you can get Visual Studio 2008 (as well as Microsoft Expression Studio, XNA Game Studio, Sql Server 2005,  and even Windows Server OS)- all free.

1) If you are a university student, find out if your school has an MSDN AA Account. This is your ticket to a free copy.

2) Go to DreamSpark. Dreamspark is Microsoft's free software site for students. All you need to do is log in with your Live ID (Passport) account, and download your free stuff. You'll need to verify you are a student by choosing your school. If it's not listed, DreamSpark has partnered with JourneyEd to verify U.S. students at schools throughout the country. JourneyEd will help you through a simple verification process – it will be just like an online purchase, but it will cost you nothing. At the end of the process you’ll get an email with your personal verification link back to DreamSpark.  Just click the "Other verification options" link.

Easy, huh?


Modifying The AppSettings Section in Web.Config


I see frequent questions related to "how can I change web.config programmatically?" -- of course if you do this in a running app, it is going to recycle and you will lose all your Session, Cache and Application items. However, there can be times -- for example if this is part of an installation page and you need to save the entered items -- when this is necessary. Since most of the time these values will be stored in the <appSettings... section, here is a simple method to facilitate this:


public void Modify(string key, string value)
Configuration configuration = WebConfigurationManager.OpenWebConfiguration("~");
AppSettingsSection appSettingsSection = (AppSettingsSection)configuration.GetSection("appSettings");
   if (appSettingsSection != null)
       appSettingsSection.Settings[key].Value = value;