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Visual Studio 2010 : Designing Windows Forms

11/27/2011 11:38:01 AM
The basic building block of a smart client Windows application is the Windows Form. Windows Forms, a key technology of the .NET Framework, provide
  • Libraries for creating a UI

  • Libraries for common tasks, such as reading and writing to the file system

  • A set of controls that provide common UI elements

The Windows Forms Designer is the Visual Studio visual design surface for working with Windows Forms. Use the Windows Forms Designer for these tasks:

  • Visually lay out your UI.

  • Configure UI attributes.

  • Write custom code that's executed when users interact with your form.

Figure 1 displays the Windows Forms Designer in Visual Studio. The next section walks you through creating a new Windows application and using the forms designer.

Figure 1. Use the Windows Forms Designer to lay out your user interface.

1. Creating your first smart client project

Visual Studio uses Solutions and Projects containers to organize all the files necessary to build an application. When you create a new Windows application, Visual Studio creates all the files you need and prepares the development environment with the windows, designers, and editors that you need to work with your new project.

To create a new smart client project in Visual Studio, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File=>New=>Project.

    The New Project window appears.

    You can also open the New Project window by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N. On some editions of the product, you can choose File=>New Project to create a project.

  2. In the Installed Templates hierarchy, click the programming language you want to use.

    A list of project templates that are available for that programming language appears on the right.

    Windows applications created by using Visual Basic, C#, managed C++, and F# use the .NET Framework.

  3. Click the Windows Forms Application icon.

  4. Enter a unique name for your application in the Name text box.

    Although you can give your application any name you want, you probably should choose a name that describes your application. Many developers include the word Windows or the abbreviation Win in an application's name to distinguish it from other kinds of applications, such as Web or mobile applications. In this example, I use the default name WindowsApplication1.

  5. Click OK to create the application.

    Visual Studio creates a new solution with a Windows project. A new Windows Form is added to the project, and Visual Studio displays the form in the Windows Forms Designer.

2. Saying, "Hello world!"

When you create a new Windows application, Visual Studio generates all the code necessary to display the Windows Form on the screen when you run your application. To run your new Windows application, press Ctrl+F5. Visual Studio builds your Windows application and displays a blank Windows Form.

Most Windows applications use menus, text boxes, and buttons. These types of user interface elements are controls. Follow these steps to add controls to make your application say, "Hello world!":

  1. Open the control toolbox by pressing Ctrl+Alt+X.

  2. Make sure that you open the tab named All Windows Forms.

  3. Drag and drop a label control from the toolbox onto the Form Designer.

  4. Drag and drop a button control onto the forms designer.

  5. Double-click the button control.

    Visual Studio creates a block of code to handle the button's Click event. The Code Editor appears with the cursor flashing in the block of code.

  6. Type this line in the Code Editor:

    • VB

      label1.Text = "Hello World!"

    • C#

      label1.Text = "Hello World!";

  7. Press Ctrl+F5 to run your Windows Form.

    When you click the button on your form, Hello World! appears on the label you add in Step 3, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. "Hello World!" appears on the form's label.
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