Creating Code Smith Templates
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by Brian Mains
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CodeSmith Scripts

A script starts with a header; similar to an ASPX page, the top of the script defines the CodeTemplate header as shown below.

Listing 1

<%@ CodeTemplate Language="C#" TargetLanguage="Text" Src="" Inherits="" 
Debug="False" Description="Template description here." %>

Most of the attributes are obvious in their function; I am going to mention that templates can have code-behind files.

The script can make use of properties. Properties are not quite like code-behind properties of server controls in ASP.NET.  Instead, these properties allow the person running the script to change some of the data that the script will use.  One of my example scripts is shown in the Property Grid (as shown below).

Figure 2

The property definition is shown below. It uses a script setting with the "at" sign to note the use of a property. This property has several options that can be defined for it. Take a look at the definition below.

Listing 2

<%@ Property Name="InheritedProviderClassName" Type="String" 
Default="SomeProvider" Optional="False" Category="Class" %>

Some properties are required and some are optional, as noted by the optional attribute. A required property will cause a build error if no value is supplied. In addition, the category attribute breaks out these attributes into separate logical containers. Properties can also have a default value. The last thing I will mention is that there are various types that a property can be defined as. In most cases, it may be a string, but more specialized objects are available, as defined in the CodeSmith API. For instance, the following property uses the StringCollection object to represent a series of strings in comma-separated fashion. There is an example of this in the screenshot above, looking at the ProviderMethodNames property in the Parameters category.

Listing 3

<%@ Property Name="ProviderMethodNames" Type="StringCollection" Default="" 
Optional="False" Category="Parameters" %>

Any assemblies and imports being referenced in the script can be defined as below.

Listing 4

<%@ Assembly Name="System.Data" %>
<%@ Assembly Name="CodeSmith.CustomProperties" %>
<%@ Import Namespace="System.Data" %>
<%@ Import Namespace="System.Xml" %>
<%@ Import Namespace="CodeSmith.CustomProperties" %>

Again, this highlights the similarities to ASPX, where import statements define the namespaces being used.


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