Practical Activities in VB.NET

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Practical Activities
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Figure A11
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The Visual Basic NET Start Page
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Activity 1: Starting up VB NET and creating a new WinForms Project
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When you rst start up Visual Basic, you are presented with the Start page (in the centre of Figure A11) This shows recently edited projects in a list and gives you options to start a new project or open an existing project that is not in the list (for example a project that you have copied to your PC) To start a new VB project, click on the New Project button The IDE will respond by bringing up the New Project dialog box, shown in Figure A12 From this dialog box, you can create a new project using any of the supported languages (Visual Studio NET can be used to program in Visual Basic, C# or C++) as well as creating a setup package for installing any project you have completed For our purposes, we will always start one of the Visual Basic project types The default (for the entire IDE as it is rst installed) is to start up a Visual Basic NET project that is a Windows application, which, as luck has it, is what we will be doing for the rst of these activities We can also create Console applications (applications that work in a Command Prompt window), Class Library projects (for writing code that can be used by a number of other applications), libraries of new Windows controls to place on forms, Web applications and services and a number of other project types We
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1 n Software Development and NET
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Figure A12
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The New Project dialog
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will build a simple Console application later in this group of activities and look into some of the other options later in the book, but for now we will accept the default Windows application The New Project dialog also allows us to specify the name of the project (recommended, since otherwise it will be given a default name that has nothing to do with its purpose), and the folder it will be located in To create a new Windows application project: Run Visual Basic from the Windows Start button From the Start button, select Start/Programs/Microsoft Visual Studio NET/ Microsoft Visual Studio NET Select to create a new Visual Basic project Press the New Project button on the Start page, and when the New Project dialog box appears, change the default project name (WindowsApplication1) in the Name box to Hello This will create a project named Hello in a folder called Hello in the default location for Visual Studio projects We will change this default location in a later activity, but for this rst project, Visual Studio s suggested default will suf ce Press OK to create the project There will be a short urry of disk activity before Visual Studio places you at the starting point of a new Windows application The IDE should now appear as shown in Figure A13 The default form of the project is shown in the main application workspace (where the Start page used to be) Notice that a new tab has been added
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Practical Activities
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Figure A13
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A new Windows Application project
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to the top of this area specifying the new form s le name (currently Form1vb) and the current development mode ([Design]) The Start page is still available by clicking on its tab, and if we add any other component les to the project, these will also get a tab here The tabs at the top of this form are one of the most important navigational aids in Visual Studio, allowing quick access to forms, code windows and other designers
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Activity 2: Changing the appearance of the default form
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You will notice that the form that has appeared in the design view has certain settings already applied For example, its caption is currently Form1, it has a grey background colour and buttons to minimize, maximize and close it in the caption bar Generally, we will want to change some of these as well as other settings for the form, and to do this as the program is being worked on (ie in design mode), we use the Properties window Get to the Properties Window and change the form s caption and Name If Visual Studio still has its default con guration, the Properties window will be to the right of the IDE (its caption bar is labelled Properties) However, if any changes
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