Building applications

For this example, it is best to build your sample application using the Debug build configuration. The first step is to ensure that Debug is selected as the active configuration. As noted earlier in this chapter around Figure 1-7 you'll find the setting available on your project properties. It's also available from the main Visual Studio display in the Solution Configurations drop-down list box that's part of the Standard Toolbar. Visual Studio provides an entire Build menu with the various options available for building an application. There are essentially two options for building applications:

>■ Build — This option uses the currently active build configuration to build the project or solution, depending upon what is available. >■ Publish — For Visual Basic developers, this option starts the process of creating a release build, but note that it also ties in with the deployment of your application, in that you are asked to provide an URL where the application will be published.

The Build menu supports building for either the current project or the entire solution. Thus, you can choose to build only a single project in your solution or all of the projects that have been defined as part of the current configuration. Of course, anytime you choose to test-run your application, the compiler will automatically perform a compilation check to ensure that you run the most recent version of your code.

You can either select Build from the menu or use the Ctrl+Shift+B keyboard combination to initiate a build. When you build your application, the Output window along the bottom edge of the development environment will open. As shown in Figure 1-25, it displays status messages associated with the build process. This window should indicate your success in building the application.

If problems are encountered while building your application, Visual Studio provides a separate window to help track them. If an error occurs, the Task List window will open as a tabbed window in the same region occupied by the Output window (refer to Figure 1-25). Each error triggers a separate item in the Task List; if you double-click an error, Visual Studio automatically repositions you on the line with the error. Once your application has been built successfully, you can run it.

Once your application has been built successfully, you will find the executable file located in the targeted directory. By default, for .NET applications this is the \bin subdirectory of your project directory.

FiGURE 1-25

FiGURE 1-25

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