Appendices in Visual Basic .NET

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Appendices
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Figure Appx14
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The Visual Basic Compiler issuing an error message
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Figure Appx15
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Executing a compiled program
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Writing a Windows Program
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The process for creating a Windows program is the same in almost every respect to that of creating a console one Of course, it is necessary to incorporate all of the usual Windows object instances into the program, and import the SystemWindowsFormsForm namespace, but the actual code and compile process is almost exactly the same As an example, enter the short Windows program shown in Listing Appx12
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Imports SystemWindowsFormsForm Module WinProg Public Sub Main() Dim F As Form F = New Form() FText = "Hello Windows" ApplicationRun(F) End Sub End Module Listing Appx12: The full code of a simple WinForms program
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We need to do a little extra to compile this program, because the compiler needs to be made aware of the library les that it will nd the various component classes in We get a big clue from the Imports statement at the top of the
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Appendices
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Figure Appx16
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Compiling a WinForms program
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listing, since SystemWindowsForms is located in the library le SystemWindowsFormsdll (dll stands for Dynamic Link Library) We also need to incorporate the Systemdll library These are added to the compilation using the /r (reference) switch as shown in Figure Appx16 If you compile then execute this program for the Command Prompt window, it will behave as you expect However, if you nd the executable (HelloWinexe) and double-click on it, you should notice that the program executes as normal, but that a new Console window opens behind it, and stays on the screen until the Windows form is closed To get around this, you need to compile with the /target:winexe, or /t:winexe switch, as shown in Figure Appx17 This contains an implicit instruction to the compiler not to generate code to open a Console window:
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Figure Appx17
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Compiling a Windows-only executable (note the /t:winexe switch)
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With the tools and con guration described above, you can write any Windows program that you could with Visual Studio, although in most cases it would involve a huge amount of additional effort since there is no Intellisense pop-up help, you cannot use the Windows Forms Designer, etc In the end, most programmers would go for the more expensive but convenient route of using Visual Studio, but the free availability of the NET Framework is a boon to learners or those who would like to dip their toes in the water of NET programming
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APPENDIX
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Connections
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Making a Connection to a Database
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This operation will be similar whether you connect to a server-based database system like SQL Server or Oracle, or a le-based system like Access or Paradox The rst requirement is that you know what database you intend to connect to, for which you can use the Server Explorer Figure Appx21 shows the Server Explorer window in Visual Studio NET Typically, this will show all of the servers (network, mail, database, etc) that the PC currently has access to In the case of the explorer shown, the PC is a laptop that is not currently connected to a network and shows that there are two sources of data At the bottom of the tree view is the CIS-LAP21 SQL Server (which is actually an installation of MSDE) This provides access to a number of databases, and the screen-shot shows that the Bank, Biblio2002, master and tempdb databases are live, having been accessed in the current session The others are marked with a (red) cross which indicates that they are currently off-line
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Figure Appx21
The Server Explorer
Appendices
Figure Appx22
Adding a database connection to a form
To create a connection to any of these databases from a Visual Basic WinForms program, you need to drag a database resource from the Server Explorer to a form Open up any of the database nodes to access the resources If, for example, I wished to use the Authors database table from a Visual Basic form, I could simply drag it from the explorer and drop it on the form, as shown in Figure Appx22 This has the effect of adding a Connection object and a DataAdapter object to the hidden controls tray for the form, as shown We could now go on to use the Connection and the DataAdapter from code within the form The drag and drop operation also instantiates a number of Command objects for use with the database Command objects allow us to perform operations on the database, and individual commands are instantiated and set up to allow selections, insertions, updates and deletions to be made to the database table dropped on the form These objects will also be linked into any data-aware controls that are added to the form to create interactions between the controls and the database automatically