Writing and Building Your Programs

There are two obvious ways to enter, compile, and run the programs in this book. You can enter the text into a text editor like Notepad and then use the command-line compiler, or you can use the Visual Studio .NET Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to write the code and then request that the IDE call the compiler for you.

The job of the compiler is to turn your source code into a working program. It turns out to be just slightly more complicated than that because .NET uses an intermediate language called Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL, sometimes abbreviated to IL). The compiler reads your source code and produces IL. The .NET Just In Time (JIT) compiler then reads your IL code and produces an executable application in memory.

Using a Text Editor

You can enter source code like the “Hello World” program from Example 2-1 in any text editor, such as Notepad. You then save the code in a text file. For instance, you might name the file containing the “Hello World” program HelloWorld.vb.

You can then compile the source code by opening the Visual Studio .NET Command Prompt. In order to ensure that your compiler environment variables are set properly (so that your compiler will work properly) you will want to open a special DOS box provided in the .NET SDK. After installing the SDK, you will typically find this program at:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\Common7\Tools\vsvars32.bat"

I recommend that you save a shortcut to ...

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