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Overview of Windows-based Applications 

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 offers several ways to develop Windows-based applications that run locally on users' computers. With Visual Studio 2005, you can create Windows-based applications and user interfaces (UI) by using Windows Forms. You can also create Windows service applications by using either Visual Studio or the Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 Software Development Kit (SDK), and you can create Windows Win32-based applications by using the Visual Studio Project Wizard.

Visual Studio Windows-based Applications

A Visual Studio Windows-based application is built around the .NET Framework, a rich set of classes that you can use to develop sophisticated applications. You can create Windows-based applications using any programming language that works with the .NET Framework (Visual Basic, C#, Visual J#, C++, and many others) and .NET Framework debugging tools.

Windows-based applications created with .NET Framework classes offer other benefits. You can access operating-system services and take advantage of other benefits provided by your user's computing environment. You can access data using ADO.NET. For more information, see Creating Data Applications with Visual Studio. GDI+ enables you to do advanced drawing and painting within your forms. For more information, see Graphics and Drawing in Windows Forms. Your Windows-based applications can make calls to methods exposed through XML Web services, so you can take advantage of information and computing resources from a variety of sources and partners. For more information, see Introduction to Programming XML Web Services in Managed Code

Visual Studio Tools for Windows-based Application Development

Just as with any other .NET Framework application, you can create Windows-based applications in a text editor, make calls to .NET Framework methods and classes, compile your application at the command line, and distribute the resulting executable application.

Alternatively, you can use Visual Studio 2005. When you use Visual Studio 2005 to create Windows-based applications, you are creating essentially the same application that you could create by manually writing code. The advantage of using Visual Studio 2005 is that it provides tools that can make application development faster, easier, and more reliable. The following list shows some of the more important Windows-based application development tools:

  • Visual designers for Windows Forms with drag-and-drop controls. For more information, see Windows Forms Designer.

  • Code-aware editors that include statement completion, syntax checking, and other IntelliSense features.

  • Integrated compilation and debugging.

  • Project management tools for creating and managing application files, including deployment locally, over an intranet or over the Internet.

If you have used Visual Studio before, these features will seem familiar; they are similar to features available in previous versions of Visual Basic and Visual C++. Visual Studio 2005 expands on these features to provide a rich collection of tools for developing Windows-based applications.

Kinds of Windows-based Applications

With Visual Studio you can develop several different kinds of Windows-based applications. You can create Windows Forms and Windows service applications that leverage the power of the .NET Framework, or you can use Visual C++ to create Windows Win32-based applications.

Windows Forms

For more information about Windows Forms and how to work with them in Visual Studio, see the following topics.

Topic Description

Getting Started with Windows Forms

Provides information on how to create and develop Windows Forms.

Windows Forms Walkthroughs and How-to Topics

Lists topics that provide you with step-by-step instructions about how to develop commonly created applications based on Windows Forms.

Windows Forms Controls

Provides a collection of topics detailing the specific characteristics and usage of the Windows Forms controls.

Windows Service Applications

Using Visual Studio 2005 or the Microsoft .NET Framework version 2.0 Software Development Kit (SDK), you can create services by creating an application that is installed as a service. This type of application is called a Windows service. With .NET Framework features, you can create services, install them, and start, stop, and otherwise control their behavior.

For more information, see Windows Service Applications.

Win32 Projects

You can use the Project Wizard to create Win32 project types, including console applications, executable Windows-based applications, dynamic-link libraries (DLLs), and static libraries.

For more information, see Creating a Win32 Windows Application.

See Also

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