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2.1 Start Page

When you open Visual Studio .NET for the first time (unless you configure it otherwise), you'll find yourself looking at the Visual Studio .NET application window, as shown in Figure 2-1.

Figure 2-1. Visual Studio .NET Start Page with Online Resource tab displayed

Along the top of the application window is a fairly typical collection of Windows menu items and buttons, plus several that are specific to the Visual Studio .NET integrated development environment. Specialized tabs that provide access to tools and controls, and to other servers and databases in the development environment, appear to the left of the application window, labeled Toolbox and Server Explorer, respectively. Additional windows for exploring the files and classes associated with a particular project and for accessing help, appear on the righthand side. More windows are available through the Visual Studio .NET menu bar (see Section 2.3).

At the center of the application window is the Start Page, which contain three tabs, one for creating new projects or opening existing ones (the Projects tab), another for locating online resources, such as code samples, community sites or available web services (the Online Resources tab), and a third for creating a profile to personalize your development environment (the My Profile tab).

As shown in Figure 2-1, the lefthand side of the Online Resource tab contains links to a variety of MSDN and other resources available over the Internet. These include:

Get Started

Allows you to search for code samples related to your project.

What's New

Links to new developments in the .NET world, training and events, and tips.

Online Community

Links to the .NET community, including web sites, newsgroups, tech support resources, code examples, and component sources.


Links to news stories about .NET in general, and specific topics such as XML Web Services.

Search Online

Provides a form for searching the MSDN online library.


Links to free and subscriber downloads, including sample applications.

XML Web Services

Provides forms to search for or register web services.

Web Hosting

Links to hosting providers.

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