What's New in Visual Studio .NET
The first time you open Visual Studio .NET, you will notice that there have been many changes from previous versions. Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework will change the way you view and create software. Some of the differences between Visual Studio .NET and its predecessors like Visual C++ 6.0 include
Redesigned user interface:
The Visual Studio .NET user interface is a combination of the best features found in the previous versions of Visual C++, Visual Basic, and Visual InterDev.
Advanced Help system:
Help is literally at your fingertips. With the new Dynamic Help system, links to help documentation are context aware; that is, they are displayed based on what you are currently working on. Also, Microsoft Developers Network (MSDN) is now incorporated into the integrated development environment (IDE) without having to use an external help application.
Vastly improved debugger:
By incorporating multiple languages into Visual Studio .NET, they support cross-language debugging. You now have the ability to easily step from Visual Basic .NET to Visual C# code.
Visual Studio .NET now contains the necessary toolset to deploy your finished application to its final destination. Using Microsoft Installer technology, you can create merge modules or entire installations within the Visual Studio .NET IDE.
Automatic code documentation:
By using a combination of Extensible Markup Language (XML) tags, you can create well-formatted documentation for your code without relying on third-party utilities.
.NET is a technology that can't really be summed up in one succinct phrase. Needless to say, .NET is more than just a framework. Included within the .NET umbrella are such things as Windows Forms, web services and, of course, the new Microsoft programming language, C#.
The changes that come with Visual Studio .NET are enormous. Trying to understand all of these changes can seem overwhelming. However, upon completion of this book, you will know how, and be able to use all the features of the .NET Framework. If you need to create several objects that must communicate with each other across process or even the Internet, you will apply what you learn in Chapter 39, "Remoting." If you need to create an object that can persist itself after the program has terminated, you will use the knowledge from Chapter 7, "File and Stream I/O and Object Persistence." In all, you will benefit from the beginning from informed design decisions.