what you will learn in this chapter_
> Versions of Visual Studio
> An introduction to key Visual Basic terms
> Targeting a runtime environment
> Creating a baseline Visual Basic Windows Form
> Project properties — application, compilation, debug
> Setting properties
> IntelliSense, code expansion, and code snippets
> Recording and using macros
> The Class Designer
> Team Foundation Server — Team Explorer
You can work with Visual Basic without Visual Studio. In fact, Appendix A focuses on using the Visual Basic compiler from the command line. In practice, however, most Visual Basic developers treat the two as almost inseparable; without a version of Visual Studio, you're forced to work from the command line to create project files by hand, to make calls to the associated compilers, and to manually address the tools necessary to build your application. While Visual Basic supports this at the same level as C#, F#, C++ and other .NET languages, this isn't the typical focus of a Visual Basic professional.
Visual Basic's success rose from its increased productivity in comparison to other languages when building business applications. Visual Studio 2010 increases your productivity and provides assistance in debugging your applications and is the natural tool for Visual Basic developers.
Accordingly, the current edition of this book is going to start off by introducing you to Visual Studio 2010 and how to build and manage Visual Basic applications. The focus of this chapter is on ensuring that everyone has a core set of knowledge related to tasks like creating and debugging applications in Visual Studio 2010. Visual Studio 2010 will be used throughout the book for building solutions. Note while this is the start, don't think of it as an 'intro' chapter. This chapter will intro key elements of working with Visual Studio, but will also go beyond that. You may find yourself referencing back to it later for advanced topics that you glossed over your first time through. Visual Studio is a powerful and, at times, complex tool and you aren't expected to master it on your first read through this chapter.
When Visual Studio 2005 was released, Microsoft expanded on the different versions of Visual Studio available for use. At the low-cost end, and currently free, is Visual Basic Express Edition. This tool enables you to build desktop applications with Visual Basic only. Its companion for Web development is Visual Web Developer Express, which enables you to build ASP.NET applications. At the high end, Microsoft offers Visual Studio Ultimate. Each of the high-end, Professional, Premium, and Ultimate editions is available as part of an MSDN subscription and each of these editions further extends the core Visual Studio 2010 capabilities beyond the core Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to help improve design, testing, and collaboration between developers.
Of course, the focus of this chapter is how Visual Studio enables you to use Visual Basic to build applications geared toward "better, faster, cheaper" business goals. To this end, we'll be examining features of Visual Studio starting with those in the core Visual Basic 2010 Express Edition and building up to the full Visual Studio Team Suite.
This chapter provides an overview of many of the capabilities of Visual Studio 2010. It also provides a brief introduction to the features available by using one of the more feature-rich versions of Visual Studio. Experienced developers will probably gloss over much of this information although I encourage them to review the new historical debugging features available in Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate covered in this chapter. The goal is to demonstrate how Visual Studio makes you, as a developer, more productive and successful.
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.