JavaScript Editor JavaScript Editor     JavaScript Debugger

Previous Section Next Section

Main Page

The Visual Basic Integrated Development Environment

The IDE, shown in Figure 1.19, has become more complex than in previous versions of Visual Basic, and being able to use it, or at least knowing what the various parts are called, is a skill we'll need in the coming chapters. Part of the reasons it's become more complex is that the same IDE is now shared by all Visual Studio languages, such as VB and C# (something Microsoft has promised for many years, but only implemented now). We've already seen the IDE at work, of course, but now it's time to take a more systematic look.

Click To expand
Figure 1.19: The Visual Basic Integrated Development Environment.

There are so many independent windows in the IDE that it's easy to misplace or rearrange them inadvertently. The IDE windows are docking windows, which means you can use the mouse to move windows around as you like; when the windows are near an edge, they'll "dock"-adhere-to that edge, so you can reconfigure the IDE windows as you like. If you move IDE windows inadvertently, don't panic; just use the mouse to move them back.


You also can restore the default window layout by selecting the Tools|Options item, then selecting the General item in the Environment folder, and clicking the Reset Window Layout button. That's really good to know, because sooner or later, Visual Basic will dock some window you didn't want to dock, such as the Edit|Replace window, to the IDE, rearranging all your other windows, and it can take a long time to try to fix that manually.

Also note that the windows in the IDE come with an X button at upper left, which means you can close them. I don't know about you, but I sometimes click these when I don't mean to, and a window I wanted disappears. It's easy to panic: The toolbox is gone! I'll have to reinstall everything! In fact, all you have to do is to find that window in the View menu again (such as View|Toolbox) to make it reappear. (Note that some windows are hidden in the View|Other Windows menu item, which opens a submenu of additional windows-there are simply too many windows to fit them all into one menu without needing to use a submenu.)

There's so much packed into the IDE that Microsoft has started to make windows share space, and you can keep them separate using tabs such as those you can see above the form at the center of Figure 1.19. If you click the Form1.vb[Design] tab, you see the form itself as it'll appear when the program runs; if you click the Form1.vb tab, you'll see the form's code, and if you click the Start Page tab, you'll see the Start page, which lets you select from among recent solutions to open. Also note at lower right that the Properties window and the Dynamic Help window-a new VB .NET feature-are sharing the same space, and you can select between them using tabs.

The IDE is a very crowded place, and in an effort to unclutter the cluttered IDE a little, VB .NET adds a new button in dockable IDE windows-a little thumbtack button at upper right as you see in various windows in Figure 1.19, next to the X close button. This is the "auto-hide" feature, which lets you reduce a window to a tab connected to the edge it's docked on. For example, in Figure 1.19, the Server Explorer (which lets you explore data sources on servers) window is hidden and has become a tab at upper left in the IDE. If I let the mouse move over that tab, the full Sever Explorer window will glide open, covering most of the toolbox. You can auto-hide most windows like this; for example, if I were to click the thumbtack button in the toolbox, it would close and become a tab under the Server Explorer tab in the IDE. To restore a window to stay-open status, just click the thumbtack again.

And, of course, you can customize the IDE as well. For example, to customize IDE options such as the fonts and colors used to display code, you select the Tools|Options menu item and use the various items in the Environment folder. To customize menus and toolbars, such as specifying the toolbars to display (How many are there to choose from? Twenty-seven.), or what buttons go on what toolbars, use the Tools|Customize menu item.

That's it for general discussion-it's time to get to the IDE itself, starting with the Start page.

Main Page

The Start Page

We've already seen the Start page, which is what you see when you first start Visual Basic, and which appears outlined in Figure 1.20. You can use the Start page to select from recent projects; by default, the Get Started item is selected in the Start page at upper left. You can also create a new project here by clicking the New Project button.

Click To expand
Figure 1.20: The Visual Basic IDE Start page.

The Start page has other useful aspects as well: for example, because you use the same IDE for all Visual Studio languages, it'll also search through all those languages when you search the help files. To make it search only pertinent help files, you can select the My Profile item in the Start page, and select either Visual Basic or Visual Basic and Related (which is my preference) in the Help Filter drop-down list box.


The Start page is actually being displayed in a browser. Its URL is vs:/default.htm, as you can see in a drop-down list box above the Start page. Entering a new URL in that drop-down list box and pressing Enter navigates to that new URL, replacing the Start page. And if you have an URL in your code (a quoted string that begins with "http://"), VB .NET will turn that text into a hyperlink, underline it, and allow you to click that URL to bring up the corresponding Web page in place of the Start page.

Main Page

The Menu System

After you've started Visual Basic and have seen the Start page, you often turn to the menu system to proceed, as when you want to create a new project and use the File|New|Project menu item to bring up the New Project dialog box (you can do the same thing by clicking the New Project button in the Start page).

The IDE menu system is very involved, with many items to choose from-and you don't even see it all at once. The menu system changes as you make selections in the rest of the IDE-for example, the Project menu will display 16 items if you first select a project in the Solution Explorer, but only 4 items if you have selected a solution, not a project. In fact, there are even more dramatic changes; for example, try clicking a form under design and you'll see a Data menu in the menu bar, used to generate datasets. If you then select not the form but the form's code, however (for example, double-click the form to open the code window), the Data menu disappears.

There are hundreds of menu items here, and many useful ones that will quickly become favorites, such as File|New|Project that you use to create a new project, or the most recently used (MRU) list of files and projects that you can access from the Recent Files or Recent Projects items near the bottom of the File menu.


You can set the number of items that appear in MRU lists by selecting the Tools|Options menu item, clicking the Environment folder and selecting the General item, and entering a value in the "most recently used lists" text box.

The menu system also allows you to switch from debug to release modes if you use the Build|Configuration Manager item, lets you configure the IDE with the Tools|Options and Tools|Customize items, and so on. I'll introduce more and more menu items throughout the book as appropriate.

Main Page


The toolbars feature is another handy aspect of the IDE. These appear near the top of the IDE, as shown in Figure 1.21. There are plenty of toolbars to choose from, and sometimes VB .NET will choose for you, as when it displays the Debug toolbar when you've launched a program with the Start item in the Debug menu.

Click To expand
Figure 1.21: Visual Basic IDE toolbars.

Because the IDE displays tool tips (those small yellow windows with explanatory text that appear when you let the mouse rest over controls such as buttons in a toolbar), it's easy to get to know what the buttons in the toolbars do. As mentioned, you can also customize the toolbars in the IDE, selecting which toolbars to display or customizing which buttons appear in which toolbars with the Tools|Customize menu item, or you can right-click a toolbar itself to get a menu of the possible toolbars to display (the bottom item in this popup menu is Customize, which lets you customize which buttons go where), or you can open the Toolbars submenu in the View menu to do the same thing (as is often the case in VB, there's more than one way to do it).

Toolbars provide a quick way to select menu items, and although I personally usually stick to using the menu system, there's no doubt that toolbar buttons can be quicker; for example, to save the file you're currently working on, you only need to click the diskette button in the standard toolbar (as you see in Figure 1.21), or the stacked diskettes button to save all the files in the solution.

Main Page

The New Project Dialog Box

When you want to create a new project, you turn to the New Project dialog box. We've already used this quite a bit, and you can see it in Figure 1.22.

Click To expand
Figure 1.22: The New Project dialog box.

In addition to letting you select from all the possible types of projects you can create in Visual Basic, you can also set the name of the project, and its location; for Windows projects, the location is a folder on disk, but for Web projects, you specify a server running IIS.

Note also that you can add projects to the current solution using the New Project dialog box; just click the Add to Solution radio button instead of the Close Solution one (the default). If your project is entirely new, VB .NET will create an enclosing solution for the new project if there isn't already one.

Finally, note the Setup and Deployment Projects folder, which you use to create projects for deploying your program as we'll do near the end of the book.

Main Page

Graphical Designers

When you're working on a project that has user interface elements-such as forms, VB .NET can display what those elements will look like at run time, and, of course, that's what makes Visual Basic visual. For example, when you're looking at a Windows form, you're actually looking at a Windows form designer, as you see in Figure 1.23, and you can manipulate the form, as well as add controls to it and so on.

Click To expand
Figure 1.23: A Visual Basic application graphical designer.

There are several different types of graphical designers, including:

  • Windows form designers

  • Web form designers

  • Component designers

  • XML designers

You may have noticed-or may already know from VB6-that Windows forms display a grid of dots, which you can see in Figure 1.23. To set the grid spacing, and specify whether or not controls should "snap" to the grid (that is, position their corners on grid points), you can use the Tools|Options menu item to open the Options dialog box, and select the Windows Form Designer folder, displaying the possible options for you to set.


In Visual Basic 6.0, coordinates for forms and controls were expressed in twips; in Visual Basic .NET, coordinates are expressed in pixels (and only pixels).

Main Page

Code Designers

Unlike graphical designers, code designers let you edit the code for a component, and you can see a code designer in Figure 1.24. You can use the tabs at the top center of the IDE to switch between graphical designers (such as the tabs Form1.vb[Design], which displays a graphical designer, and the Form1.vb tab, which displays the corresponding code designer). You can also switch between graphical and code designers using the Designer and Code items in the View menu, or you can use the top two buttons at left in the Solution Explorer.

Click To expand
Figure 1.24: A code designer.

Note the two drop-down list boxes at the top of the code designer; the one on the left lets you select what object's code you're working with, and the one on the right lets you select the part of the code that you want to work on, letting you select between the declarations area, functions, Sub procedures, and methods (all of which we'll see starting in Chapter 2). The declarations area, which you select by selecting the (Declarations) item in the right-hand list box, is where you can put declarations of module-level objects, as we'll discover in Chapter 3 (see "Understanding Scope" in that chapter).


When you double-click a control in a graphical designer, its code designer will open and Visual Basic creates an event handler (see "Handling Events" in Chapter 4) for its default event (such as the Click event for buttons), which is a procedure that is called when the event occurs, as we'll see in Chapter 4. To add code to a different event handler, select the object you want to work with in the left-hand drop-down list box in the code designer, and select the event you want to add code to in the right-hand drop-down list box; Visual Basic will create an event handler for that event.

Also note the + and - boxes in the code designer's text area, at left. Those are new in VB .NET, and were introduced because VB .NET now writes a great deal of code for your forms and components automatically. You can use the + and - buttons to show or hide that code. For example, here's what that code looks like for a typical Windows form:

#Region " Windows Form Designer generated code "

    Public Sub New()

        'This call is required by the Windows Form Designer.

        'Add any initialization after the InitializeComponent() call

    End Sub

    'Form overrides dispose to clean up the component list.
    Protected Overloads Overrides Sub Dispose(ByVal disposing As Boolean)
        If disposing Then
            If Not (components Is Nothing) Then
            End If
        End If
    End Sub
    Friend WithEvents TextBox1 As System.Windows.Forms.TextBox
    Friend WithEvents Button1 As System.Windows.Forms.Button

    'Required by the Windows Form Designer
    Private components As System.ComponentModel.Container

    'NOTE: The following procedure is required by the Windows Form Designer
    'It can be modified using the Windows Form Designer.
    'Do not modify it using the code editor.
    <System.Diagnostics.DebuggerStepThrough()> Private Sub _
        Me.TextBox1 = New System.Windows.Forms.TextBox()
        Me.Button1 = New System.Windows.Forms.Button()
        Me.TextBox1.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(32, 128)
        Me.TextBox1.Name = "TextBox1"
        Me.TextBox1.Size = New System.Drawing.Size(224, 20)
        Me.TextBox1.TabIndex = 0
        Me.TextBox1.Text = ""
        Me.Button1.Location = New System.Drawing.Point(112, 56)
        Me.Button1.Name = "Button1"
        Me.Button1.TabIndex = 1
        Me.Button1.Text = "Click Me"
        Me.AutoScaleBaseSize = New System.Drawing.Size(5, 13)
        Me.ClientSize = New System.Drawing.Size(292, 213)
        Me.Controls.AddRange(New System.Windows.Forms.Control() _
            {Me.Button1, Me.TextBox1})
        Me.Name = "Form1"
        Me.Text = "Form1"

    End Sub

#End Region

We'll dissect what this code means when we start working with Windows applications in depth in Chapter 4; for now, note the #Region and #End Region directives at top and bottom of this code-those are how the code designer knows that this region of code can be collapsed or expanded with a + or - button. Visual Basic also automatically adds those + or - buttons for other programming constructions like procedures, enumerations, and so on, allowing you to hide the parts of your code you don't want to see. The IDE is cluttered enough, and this helps a little in uncluttering it.


You can use the #Region and #End Region directives in your own code as well, allowing you to expand and contract whole sections of code at once.

As with the rest of the IDE, there are features upon features packed into code designers-for example, right-clicking a symbol lets you go to its definition, or its declaration, and so on.

Main Page


One useful feature of VB .NET code designers is Microsoft's IntelliSense. IntelliSense is what's responsible for those boxes that open as you write your code, listing all the possible options and even completing your typing for you. IntelliSense is one of the first things you encounter when you use VB .NET, and you can see an example in Figure 1.25, where I'm looking at all the members of a text box object.

Click To expand
Figure 1.25: Using IntelliSense.

If you enter some code that VB .NET considers a syntax error, it will underline the error with a wavy red line. You can rest the mouse over the underlined text to see a tool tip explaining what VB .NET thinks is wrong. That's not part of the IntelliSense package, although it also is useful.

IntelliSense is made up of a number of options, including:

  • List Members-Lists the members of an object.

  • Parameter Info-Lists the arguments of procedure calls.

  • Quick Info-Displays information in tool tips as the mouse rests on elements in your code.

  • Complete Word-Completes typed words.

  • Automatic Brace Matching-Adds parentheses or braces as needed.

There's also a Visual Basic-specific IntelliSense, which offers syntax tips that display the syntax of the statement you're typing. That's great if you know what statement you want to use but don't recall its exact syntax, because its syntax is automatically displayed.


IntelliSense is particularly useful when you can't remember what arguments a built-in Visual Basic procedure accepts (if these terms are not familiar to you, note that they're coming up in the next chapter), because it'll display those arguments as you type in the call to the procedure. Such procedures also can be overloaded, which means they have several forms that take different arguments-in such cases, IntelliSense will display an up and down arrow in its tool tip with the text "1 of n" where n is the number of overloaded forms, and you can use the arrows to select the overloaded form of the procedure you want prompts for.

IntelliSense is something you quickly get used to, and come to rely on. However, you can turn various parts of IntelliSense off if you want; just select the Tools|Options menu item, then select the Text Editor folder, then the Basic subfolder, and finally the General item in the Basic subfolder. You'll see a number of IntelliSense options you can turn on and off with check boxes.

Main Page

The Object Explorer

IntelliSense is useful because it tells you what syntax is correct automatically, or lists all the members of an object that are available. Another useful tool that's too often overlooked by Visual Basic programmers is the Object Explorer. This tool lets you look at all the members of an object at once, which is invaluable to pry into the heart of objects you've added to your code. The Object Explorer helps open up any mysterious objects that Visual Basic has added to your code so you can see what's going on inside.

To open the Object Explorer, select View|Other Windows|Object Explorer (see Figure 1.26.)

Click To expand
Figure 1.26: The Object Explorer.

The Object Explorer shows all the objects in your program and gives you access to what's going on in all of them. For example, in Figure 1.26, I'm looking at a Windows form, Form1, and all its internal members-and the parameters they require-are made visible. To close the Object Explorer, just click the X button at its upper right.

Main Page

The Toolbox

The toolbox is something that all veteran Visual Basic developers are familiar with, and you can see it in Figure 1.27.

Click To expand
Figure 1.27: The Visual Basic toolbox.

Microsoft has crammed more into the toolbox with each successive version of Visual Basic, and now the toolbox uses tabs to divide its contents into categories; you can see these tabs, marked Data, Components, Windows Forms, and General, in Figure 1.27. The tabs available, as you might surmise, depend on the type of project you're working on-and even what type of designer you're working with. The Data, Components, Windows Forms, and General tabs appear when you're working with a Windows form in a Windows form designer, but when you switch to a code designer in the same project, all you'll see are General and Clipboard Ring (which displays recent items stored in the clipboard, and allows you to select from among them) in the toolbox. When you're working on a Web form, you'll see Data, Web Forms, Components, Components, HTML, Clipboard Ring, and General, and so on.

The Data tab displays tools for creating datasets and making data connections, the Windows Forms tab displays tools for adding controls to Windows forms, the Web Forms tab displays tools for adding server controls to Web forms, and so on. The General tab is empty by default, and is a place to store general components, controls, and fragments of code in. (You can even add more tabs to the toolbox by right-clicking the toolbox and selecting the Add Tab item.) In fact, there are so many controls that even when you click a tab in the toolbox, you'll still most likely get a list that you have to scroll to see everything that's available.


When you're adding controls to forms using the toolbox, note that you can use the items in the Format menu and the Layout toolbar to align, make the same size, and set the spacing for controls. You can also select multiple controls and move and resize them all at once.

Main Page

The Solution Explorer

We've already discussed the Solution Explorer quite a bit; this window gives you an overview of the solution you're working with, including all the projects in it, and the items in those projects. (You can see the Solution Explorer in Figure 1.28.) This tool displays a hierarchy-with the solution at the top of the hierarchy, the projects one step down in the hierarchy, and the items in each project as the next step down.

Click To expand
Figure 1.28: The Solution Explorer.

You can set the properties of various items in a project by selecting them in the Solution Explorer and then setting their properties in the properties window. And you can set properties of solutions and projects by right-clicking them and selecting the Properties item in the menu that appears, or you can select an item and click the properties button, which is the right-most button at the top of the Solutions Explorer.

If you're working on an object that has both a user interface and code, you can switch between graphical and code designers by using the buttons that appear at top left in the Solution Explorer when that object has been selected. You can right-click a solution and add a new project to it by selecting the Add|New Project menu item in the popup menu that appears. And you can specify which of multiple projects runs first-that is, is the startup project or projects-by right-clicking the project and selecting the Set As Startup Object item, or by right-clicking the solution and selecting the Set Startup Projects item.

Much of what goes on in the VB .NET IDE depends on which solution or project is the current one, and you set that by selecting it in the Solution Explorer. For example, you can specify what icon you want an application to use in Windows if you don't like the plain default one; to do that, you select its project in the Solution Explorer, select Properties in the Project menu, then open the Common Properties|Build folder, browse to the .ico (icon) file you want, and click OK.

The Solution Explorer tracks the items in your projects; to add new items, you can use the menu items in the Project menu, such as Add Windows Form and Add User Control. To add new empty modules and classes to a project (we'll see what these terms mean in detail in the next chapter), you can use the Project|Add New Items menu item.

The Solution Explorer sees things in terms of files, as you can see in Figure 1.28. There, the References folder holds the currently referenced items (such as namespaces) in a project, AssemblyInfo.vb is the file that holds information about the assembly you're creating, and Form1.vb is the file that holds the code for the form under design. However, there's another way of looking at object-oriented programs-in terms of classes-and the Class View Window does that.


The data in AssemblyInfo.vb gives all kinds of information about the assembly, such as its version number. To set the version number of the assembly you're creating, open AssemblyInfo.vb and edit the line <Assembly: AssemblyVersion("1.0.*")> according to the directions you'll find directly above this line. Windows will be able to display this version number to the user in Windows tools such as the Windows Explorer.

Main Page

The Class View Window

If you click the Class View tab under the Solution Explorer, you'll see the Class View window, as shown in Figure 1.29. This view presents solutions and projects in terms of the classes they contain, and the members of these classes.

Click To expand
Figure 1.29: The Class View window.

Using the Class View window gives you an easy way of jumping to a member of class that you want to access quickly-just find it in the Class View window, and double-click it to bring it up in a code designer.

Main Page

The Properties Window

The Properties window is another old favorite in Visual Basic, although now it shares its space with the Dynamic Help window. The Properties window appears in Figure 1.30.

Click To expand
Figure 1.30: The Properties window.

You set properties of various objects in Visual Basic to customize them; for example, we've set the Text property of a button in the WinHello project to "Click Me" to make that text appear in the button. To set an object's properties when you're designing your program in Visual Basic-called design time (as opposed to run time)-you select that object (by clicking a control or form, or a project, or a solution), and then set the new property values you want in the Properties window.

The Properties window is divided into two columns of text, with the properties on the left, and their settings on the right. The object you're setting properties for appears in the drop-down list box at the top of the Properties window, and you can select from all the available objects using that list box. When you select a property, Visual Basic will give you an explanation of the property in the panel at the bottom of the Properties window, as you see in Figure 1.30. And you can display the properties alphabetically by clicking the second button from the left at the top of the Properties window, or in categories by clicking the left-most button.

To change a property's setting, you only have to click the right-hand column next to the name of the property, and enter the new setting. Often properties can have only a few specific values, in which case Visual Basic will display a drop-down list box next to the property's name when you click the right-hand column, and you can select values from that list. Sometimes, Visual Basic requires more information, as when you create data connections, and instead of a list box, a button with an ellipsis ("") appears; when you click that button, Visual Basic will usually walk you through the steps it needs to get that information. Note also that, as usual with properties and methods in Visual Basic, not all properties of a form or control will be available at design time in the Properties window when you're designing your code-some will be available only at run time.

In fact, there aren't many changes in the Properties window from VB6 (something VB6 programmers might be pleased to hear), so if you've used it before, you're all set.

Main Page

The Dynamic Help Window

The window that shares the Properties window's space, however, is quite new-the Dynamic Help window. Visual Basic .NET includes the usual Help menu with Contents, Index, and Search items, of course, but it also now supports dynamic help, which looks things up for you automatically. You can see the Dynamic Help window by clicking the Dynamic Help tab under the Properties window, and you can see the Dynamic Help window in Figure 1.31.

Click To expand
Figure 1.31: The Dynamic Help window.

VB .NET looks up all kinds of help topics on the element you've selected automatically; for example, in Figure 1.31, I've selected a button on a Windows form, and dynamic help has responded by displaying all kinds of helpful links to information on buttons. This is more helpful than simply searching the whole help system for the word "button", because dynamic help will typically select introductory and overview help topics, not all the hundreds of topics with the word "button" in their text. If you click a help link in the Dynamic Help window, the corresponding help topic is opened in the central space of the IDE where the designers appear (and you can switch between designers and help topics using tabs).


If you're like me, you'll find it too cramped in the IDE to display help topics effectively. You can have VB .NET display help in an external IDE-independent window instead, if you wish-select Tools|Options, then select the Help item in the Environment folder, click the External Help radio button and click OK.

Main Page

Component Trays

In VB6, when you added a component to a form, and that component wasn't visible at run time-such as a timer control-the timer would still appear on the form at design time. That's changed in VB .NET; now, when you add components that are invisible at run time, they'll appear in a component tray, which will appear automatically in the designer, as you see in Figure 1.32.

Click To expand
Figure 1.32: Adding a timer to an application in a component tray.

Main Page

The Server Explorer

You use the Server Explorer, which appears in Figure 1.33, to explore what's going on in a server, and it's a great tool to help make distant severs feel less distant, because you can see everything you need in an easy graphical environment.

Click To expand
Figure 1.33: The Server Explorer.

You can do more than just look using the Server Explorer too-you can drag and drop whole items onto Windows forms or Web forms from the Server Explorer. For example, if you dragged a database table onto a form, VB .NET would create the connection and command objects you need to access that table from code.

Main Page

The Output Window

If you look at the bottom of the IDE, you'll see two tabs for the Output and Breakpoints windows. We'll look at the Breakpoints window when we discuss debugging, because it lets you manage the breakpoints at which program execution halts when you're debugging your code. The Output window, which you see in Figure 1.34, on the other hand, gives you the results of building and running programs, as you can also see in Figure 1.34.

Click To expand
Figure 1.34: The Output window.

You can also send messages to the Output window yourself if you use the System.Diagnostics.Debug.Write method like this: System.Diagnostics. Debug.Write("Hello from the Output window!").

Main Page

The Task List

The Task List is another useful window that not many Visual Basic programmers know about. To see it, select the View|Show Tasks|All; this window appears in Figure 1.35. As its name implies, the Task List displays tasks that VB .NET assumes you still have to take care of, and when you click a task, the corresponding location in a code designer appears.

Click To expand
Figure 1.35: The Task List.

There are a number of such tasks; for example, if VB .NET has detected a syntax error, underlined with a wavy line as shown in Figure 1.35, that error will appear in the task list. If you've used a wizard, such as the Upgrade Wizard where VB .NET still wants you to take care of certain issues, it'll put a TODO comment into the code, as we saw earlier:

If blnDrawFlag Then
    'UPGRADE_ISSUE: Graphics statements can't be migrated.
    'Click for more: ms-help://MS.MSDNVS/vbcon/html/vbup2034.htm
End If

TODO comments like this will appear in the Task List.


In fact, you can create your own custom comments that the Task List will track. To do so, select the Tools|Options menu item then select the Task List item in the Environment folder, and enter the name of your custom comments in the Comment Token area. For example, if I entered STEVE there, then any comments beginning with 'STEVE will be tracked in the Task List.

Main Page

The Command Window

Plenty of other windows are available. For example, selecting View|Other Windows|Command Window opens the Command window, as you see in Figure 1.36.

Click To expand
Figure 1.36: The Command window.

This window is a little like the Immediate window in VB6, because you can enter commands like File.AddNewProject here and VB .NET will display the Add New Project dialog box. However, this window is not exactly like the Immediate window, because you can't enter Visual Basic code and have it executed.

And there are other windows that we'll see as needed, such as when we're discussing debugging programs where we'll introduce the Call Stack window, the Breakpoints window, Watch and Value display windows, Autos and Locals windows, and so on.

There's another new aspect of the IDE that bears mention-macros. You can use macros to execute a series of commands in the Visual Studio environment. If you want to give macros a try, take a look at the Macros submenu in the Tools menu.

There's more to the IDE than we've been able to cover here, but now we've gotten the foundation we'll need in the coming chapters. I'll end this chapter by taking a look at coding practices in VB .NET; if you're not thoroughly familiar with Visual Basic yet, some of this might not make sense, so treat it as a section to refer back to later.

Previous Section Next Section

JavaScript Editor Free JavaScript Editor     JavaScript Editor