The release of Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio Team Systems marked a major revision to the .NET development experience. It brought us code snippets, custom project templates, refactoring, data binding wizards, smart tags, modeling tools, automated testing tools, and project and task managementto name just a few features.
Visual Studio 2008 builds on these tools and provides additional core changes and additions to the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE). The languages have many new improvements, the Framework has a number of additions, and the tools have been significantly enhanced. For instance, Visual Studio 2008 includes such things as Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) for building richer client solutions, Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to help build more dynamic service-oriented solutions, and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) to enable structured programming around business processes. In addition, there are language enhancements such as the Language Integrated Query (LINQ) and team systems enhancements such as code metrics, performance profiling, and a revised team build system. All of these tools are meant to increase your productivity and success rate. This book is meant to help you unlock the many tools built into Visual Studio so that you can realize these gains.
Who Should Read This Book?
Developers who rely on Visual Studio to get work done will want to read this book. It provides great detail on the many features inside the latest version of the IDE. The book covers all the following key topics:
Understanding the basics of solutions, projects, editors, and designers
Writing macros, add-ins, and wizards
Debugging with the IDE
Sharing code with team members and the larger community
Writing ASP.NET applications
Writing and consuming web services and using the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
Coding with Windows forms and with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
Working with data and databases
Creating and hosting workflow-based applications using Windows Workflow Foundation (WF)
Using team collaboration and the Visual Studio Team System products
Testing applications at both the system and unit test level
Managing source code changes and builds
This book is not a language book; it is a tools book. If you are trying to understand Visual Basic or C#, you will want a companion book that focuses on those subjects. If you can write C# or Visual Basic code, this book will radically help you to optimize your productivity with Visual Studio. Again, this book is not a primer on the .NET languages. However, we do cover the new language features (such as LINQ) in both C# and Visual Basic. We also try to provide simple examples that can be read by developers of both languages. By and large, however, this book has one primary focus: detailing and explaining the intricacies of the Visual Studio 2008 IDE to enable developers to be more productive.
How Is This Book Organized?
You can read this book cover to cover, or you can pick the chapters that apply most to your current need. We sometimes reference content across chapters, but for the most part, each chapter can stand by itself. This organization allows you to jump around and read as time (and interest) permits. There are four parts to the book; each part is described next.
Part I: An Introduction to Visual Studio 2008
The chapters in this part provide an overview of what to expect from Visual Studio 2008. Readers who are familiar only with prior versions of Visual Studio will want to review these chapters. In addition, we cover the new language enhancement for the 2008 versions of VB and C#.
Part II: An In-Depth Look at the IDE
This part covers the core development experience relative to Visual Studio. It provides developers with a base understanding of the rich features of their primary tool. The chapters walk through the many menus and windows that define each tool. We cover the base concepts of projects and solutions, and we explore in detail the explorers, editors, and designers.
Part III: Writing and Working with Code
Part III builds on the topics discussed in Part II by digging into the powerful productivity features of Visual Studio 2008. These chapters investigate the developer productivity aids that are present in the IDE, and discuss how to best use Visual Studio for refactoring and debugging your code.
Part IV: Extending Visual Studio
For those developers interested in customizing, automating, or extending the Visual Studio IDE, these chapters are for you. We explain the automation model and then document how to use that API to automate the IDE through macros. We also cover how you can extend the IDE's capabilities by writing your own add-ins.
Part V: Creating Enterprise Applications
Part V focuses on how to work with the IDE tools to write your applications. Each chapter provides an in-depth overview of how to use Visual Studio to help you design and develop an application. We cover writing applications using ASP.NET, web services and WCF, Windows forms, WPF, WF, and working with data and databases.
Part VI: Visual Studio Team System
Finally, Part VI discusses the special set of Visual Studio versions collectively referred to as Visual Studio Team System (VSTS). We devote an entire chapter to each individual VSTS edition: Development Edition, Architecture Edition, Test Edition, and Database Edition. We also explore, in-depth, the key concepts of team collaboration, work item tracking, and version control using the VSTS client editions in conjunction with the Team Foundation Server product. And lastly, we discuss the concept of automated builds within the context of Visual Studio Team System.
Conventions Used in This Book
The following typographic conventions are used in this book:
Code lines, commands, statements, variables, and text you see onscreen appears in a monospace typeface.
Placeholders in syntax descriptions appear in an italic monospace typeface. You replace the placeholder with the actual filename, parameter, or whatever element it represents.
Italics highlight technical terms when they're being defined.
A code-continuation icon is used before a line of code that is really a continuation of the preceding line. Sometimes a line of code is too long to fit as a single line on the page. If you see before a line of code, remember that it's part of the line immediately above it.
The book also contains Notes, Tips, and Cautions to help you spot important or useful information more quickly.
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