The Integrated Help System

The final aspect of Visual Studio 2008 you must be comfortable with from the outset is the fully integrated help system. The .NET Framework 3.5 SDK documentation (aka the MSDN Library) is extremely good, very readable, and full of useful information. Given the huge number of predefined .NET types (which number well into the thousands), you must be willing to roll up your sleeves and dig into the provided documentation. If you resist, you are doomed to a long, frustrating, and painful existence as a .NET developer.

Visual Studio 2008 provides the Dynamic Help window (accessed via the Help >- Dynamic Help menu selection), which changes its contents (dynamically!) based on what item (window, menu, source code keyword, etc.) is currently selected. For example, if you place the cursor on the Console class, the Dynamic Help window displays a set of links regarding the System.Console type.

Note Another handy shortcut is the F1 key of Visual Studio 2008. Simply locate your mouse cursor inside a keyword, type, or method and press the F1 key. The IDE will automatically take you to the correct help page.

You should also be aware of a very important subdirectory of the .NET Framework 3.5 SDK documentation. First, activate the Help >- Contents menu option of the documentation. Under the .NET Development >- .NET Framework SDK >- .NET Framework >- .NET Framework Class Library Reference node of the documentation, you will find complete documentation of each and every namespace in the .NET base class libraries (see Figure 2-24).

Contents Filtered by: (unfiLteredj l+l Development Tools and Languages l+l Enterprise Servers and Development ©■■ Mobile and Embedded Development □■■ .NET Development

■■■■ .NET Framework Programming □■■Windows Presentation Foundation 13 Windows Communication Foundation 13 Windows CardSpace 13 Windows Workflow Foundation □■■Samples

.NET Framework Class Library

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