Using the IDE

The Visual Studio .NET (VS.NET) integrated development environment (IDE) offers a rich feature set with tremendous productivity aids, such as:

  • IntelliSense, which pops up with help on every method and function call as you type

  • Integrated dynamic help

  • Integrated build and compile support

  • Integrated support for source control software

  • Built-in task list

  • A modern interface with a tabbed page metaphor for code and layout screens, dockable toolbars, a Solution Explorer, and Properties windows

  • WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) design of Windows and Web Forms

  • Drag-and-drop form design, which allows you to drag controls from the Toolbox and position them on the design surface

Visual Studio .NET will save you a great deal of typing and will generate a tremendous amount of boiler plate code. This can be a mixed blessing, however, because the generated code can add a lot of clutter to your files.

In addition, VS.NET creates solutions and projects with directories and files in a number of places on your hard disk, and it can be confusing sorting out where everything is. Because VS.NET creates projects and file relationships for you and “saves” you from the details, it can be difficult at first to understand what all the files are and how they relate to one another. This is the chronic problem with helpful systems: if you want to do what they anticipate you will want to do, it is very easy; but if you want to do something unusual, it can be terribly difficult to find your way through ...

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