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Chapter 1

Microsoft .NET Framework Primer for the Visual Basic Developer
In this chapter: The Applications You Can Build. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 A Truly Integrated Development Environment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 What Is .NET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Data Access: ADO.NET. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Windows Applications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Web Applications. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . 25 Enhancements in Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0. . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 The Microsoft .NET Framework and the corresponding versions of Microsoft Visual Studio that target the .NET Framework are major innovations for softwaredevelopers. If you have been programming in Visual Basic 6 (or earlier), you will appreciate the advances in productivity, security, reliability, and “deployability” offered by these new development and execution environments. Every program relies on its platform and other libraries to provide run-time services. Visual Basic 6 programmers know well the types of services provided by the Visual BasicRuntime. Java programmers use the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Other programmers use the libraries for the technologies they develop with. The Microsoft .NET Framework class library provides a rich library for creating applications that run on the platform (or execution environment) known as the common language runtime (CLR). This chapter will introduce you to the basics of the .NET Framework, itsclass library, and the developer tools that make up Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. At the end of this chapter are some highlights of the new features in .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005 that are covered in more detail in the rest of this book.

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Introducing Microsoft Visual Basic 2005 for Developers

The .NET Framework CLR is an execution environment that manages key platformservices, including memory and security. Code that targets the .NET Framework is often referred to as managed code because it requires management services provided by the execution environment. All Visual Basic code you write for the .NET Framework is managed code. This includes Windows applications, Web applications, and all other types of applications.

The Applications You Can Build
You haveprobably heard a lot of hype about .NET and XML Web services. Much of that hype is well deserved because the .NET Framework and Visual Studio 2005 make building and consuming Web services so easy. But Microsoft .NET technologies are not just about Web services. Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework are just as powerful for creating other types of applications including Windows and Webapplications. At times, the hype around Web services has overshadowed the wide range of applications you can create with Microsoft .NET technologies and the many benefits of targeting the .NET Framework, including increased security, increased developer productivity, decreased deployment and maintenance costs, and an extensive pre-built library for many generic tasks.

Smart Client Windows ApplicationsYou can, of course, create GUI-driven Windows applications that are similar to the Windows applications you create with Visual Basic 6. These .NET applications are often called Windows Forms applications, thick clients, or smart clients. The Microsoft .NET Framework offers many features for Windows GUI applications that have been enhanced beyond Visual Basic 6 capabilities, such as docking,...
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