Creating Windows Forms Applications with Visual Studio in VS .NET

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Writing a form by hand is instructive for understanding the simplicity of the model, but you will rarely write Windows Forms code completely by hand Usually you will use the Visual Studio IDE to design your forms the Rapid Application Development (RAD) way Let's step through an example
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Creating an Empty Windows Forms Project
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1 Open Visual Studio 2005 and create a new project by selecting File > New > Project This displays the New Project dialog
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2 Select Windows Application as the project type 3 Specify the name VSDataApp for the project This will become the name of the solution and the project file, and a folder will be created for the solution, with a project folder created under that If you want to override the default behavior of creating a separate solution folder, or change the name of that folder, you can do so with the options at the bottom of the dialog (see Figure C1)
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Figure C1 New Project Dialog
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Once the project is created, Visual Studio will create the main form for your application and will display it in the designer window within the main work area
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4 Grab the bottom right corner of the form, and drag it down and to the right to resize the default size for the form to be more rectangular and about the same size as the form you created with code in the last section (500 x 400) You can monitor the resizing of the form by looking in the bottom right of the status bar in the Visual Studio designer, which shows the current size of the form
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Working with the Toolbox
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If the Toolbox isn't visible, do one of the following (see Figure C2):
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- Display it by choosing View > Toolbox - If there is a Toolbox tab on the left side of the Visual Studio window, click on that and it will slide out
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Figure C2 Docking the Toolbox Window
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You can then dock the window by clicking on the pushpin icon at the top right
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2 If the All Windows Forms group tab isn't expanded at the top of the Toolbox (indicated by a plus sign next to it), expand it by clicking on the plus sign icon The Toolbox displays a graphical palette of controls and components that you can drag and drop onto a form or designer surface to create instances of the control The controls and components in the Toolbox are grouped into categories to help organize them into logical groups You can customize the Toolbox to add your own or third-party controls to it or you can add additional group tabs The Windows All Forms group at the top includes all the built-in controls in alphabetical order, so if you cannot remember what group a particular control belongs to, you can always find it there
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3 From the Toolbox, drag and drop a Button control from the Toolbox palette onto the form, and do the same for the DataGridView control (new in 20) When you first drag the DataGridView control onto the form, a little window will pop up (see Figure C3) called a smart tag (new in 20) This is an in-place control panel for some of the most common properties and actions you may need to manipulate on a control when you are working with it in the designer You can dismiss the tag by clicking somewhere else in the form or on another control, or by pressing the Esc key
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Figure C3 Data Control Smart Tags
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Once you have the controls on the form, you can click and drag on them to reposition them on the form You can also click and drag on the corners or edges of the controls to resize them as desired Note that as you drag the controls around the form, snap-lines will appear to help you align the control you are dragging with the other controls on the form These subtle blue and magenta lines appear between the control being dragged and other controls or a dashed gray line between the control and the edges of the form These help you precisely align the tops, bottoms, and sides of controls, as well as the baseline of the text in a control (the line that runs from under label2 tHRough the text box shown in Figure C4) When you drag and drop controls or components on a form like this, you are actually declaring and initializing member variables in the form class using a visual drag-and-drop metaphor You will get to the generated code shortly, but the net result is very similar to what you coded by hand in the last section