When including my own custom control in another ASP.NET page, is it possible to see what it will look like rather than the little gray placeholder the IDE shows by default?
What you're talking about is not actually a custom control but a user control. A user control is just like the old include ASP directive, and there's no way (currently) to make it display anything other than the gray box.
If you want better design-time support you need to develop Custom Controls instead of User Controls. They require significantly more coding (they are classes inheriting other classes and all the layout has to be programmatically defined), but they have far better integration with the IDE. Examples of this type of control are the built-in DataGrid (it shows sample rows), the calendar control and almost all third-party controls.
Besides the added design-time support, they are compiled and have built-in support for licensing, which makes them far more easy to redistribute and comercialize.
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