As aVB 2008 programmer, you may choose among numerous tools to build your .NET applications. This approach is quite different from the world of VB6, where we had only a single IDE to contend with: Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0. That being said, the point of this chapter is to provide a tour of various .NET development options, including, of course, Visual Studio 2008. The chapter opens, however, with an examination of working with the VB 2008 command-line compiler, vbc.exe, and the simplest of all text editors, Notepad (notepad.exe).
While you could work through this entire text using nothing other than vbc.exe and a simple text editor, I'd bet you are also interested in working with feature-rich integrated development environments (IDEs). To this end, you will be introduced to an open source IDE named SharpDevelop. This IDE rivals the functionality of many commercial .NET development environments (and it's free!). After briefly examining the Visual Basic 2008 Express IDE, you will turn your attention to Visual Studio 2008. This chapter wraps up with a brief discussion regarding the role of the Microsoft.VisualBasic.dll assembly and a survey of additional .NET development tools you may wish to investigate at your leisure.
Note Over the course of this chapter, you will see a number of VB programming constructs we have not formally examined. If you are unfamiliar with the syntax, don't fret. Chapter 3 will formally begin your examination of the VB language.
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