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Monday, November 12, 2007

Getting Started with Visual Studio Part 1

This is intended to be a quick start tutorial so make sure to read them all in order. Use the GettingStarted Label on the web page to find all the articles in this series. This is the result of what happened to us last week. We had been promised a class in C#.NET to accommodate an upgrade project, but instead, most of us got laid off. Since I had been to the pre-training training, I attempt here to share the wealth.

This tutorial will use the Visual Studio 2008 Express (free) editions only, and will cover ASP.NET and C#.NET development ONLY. There will be no VB or J# here. Also, I am not a Microsoft hack, so when something sucks, I'll say so. Ok, on with it.

First topic: Getting the software.

Today the software may be found here.

If this page is not live anymore, then try googling for VS Express 2008 Download. Be sure to download C# and Visual Web Developer.

Accept all the defaults and reboot between and after the installs. Now you will see the IDE's under Start - All Programs.

Let's get started.

Click on the Visual Studio 2008 link to bring up the IDE. It takes the news channel several seconds to load so be patient. Let's talk about some conceptual topics before we start coding.

C# is like C++

Yes, it's kind of like C++ and kind of like Java. Everything is a class object. Even strings and integers are classes. Even though C# makes it easy to instantiate them, they are very much the same.

Managed memory

Because of the way the .NET framework manages memory, you need not worry about memory and resource leaks. When the memory manager notices that nobody is holding a pointer to some object, it places it on a list of items that can be wiped. This means that you as a developer have no control over when objects are destroyed, and no guarantee that they'll be destroyed in any particular order, even if the item is a parent of an object that is not being destroyed. I know, it's not the coder's way. Get over it.

CLR and Languages

The Microsoft Common Language Runtime makes it so you can create objects in one language and use them freely in another. For instance a Zip code lookup object in C# can be used in J#, VB.NET, or other C# projects. The CLR is your friend. Gone are the days of having to rewrite all your Delphi Projects into VB. You're going to like this, I promise.

Tomorrow, our first project. Don't forget to bookmark this. Your assignment for tonight is to download and install C#, ASP.NET, and optionally the GIMP.

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