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Integrated Development Environment Changes in Visual Basic .NET

Visual Basic .NET is fully integrated into the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE), which differs in several ways from the Visual Basic 6.0 IDE. The following sections describe the changes:

Window and Layout Changes

Menu Changes

Keyboard Mapping Changes

Window and Layout Changes

The standard arrangement of windows is different in Visual Basic .NET than it was in Visual Basic 6.0. If you prefer the Visual Basic 6.0 arrangement, you can set it by choosing Visual Basic 6 from the Window Layout drop-down list on the My Profile tab of the Visual Studio Start Page.

In Visual Basic 6.0, the IDE was set to an MDI layout by default; you could optionally set it to SDI layout in the Tools, Options dialog box. In Visual Basic .NET, the default layout for the IDE is the new Tabbed documents layout; you can optionally set it to MDI layout in the Tools, Options dialog box.

In Visual Basic 6.0, you could control the docking behavior for some tool windows in the Tools, Options dialog box. In Visual Basic .NET, all windows are dockable by default; you can control their behavior via the Dockable command on the Windows menu.

There are also some differences in the available windows between Visual Basic 6.0 and Visual Basic .NET.

Note   In Visual Basic .NET, some of the debugging windows are only available in run mode; when you switch to design mode, the windows are hidden.

The following table shows some Visual Basic 6.0 windows and their Visual Basic .NET equivalents.

Visual Basic 6.0Visual Basic .NET
Color PaletteNo equivalent
Data ViewNo direct equivalent; replaced by Server Explorer
Form LayoutNo equivalent
ImmediateCommand Window
Project ExplorerSolution Explorer
WatchesWatch 1, Watch 2, Watch 3, Watch 4

Menu Changes

Menu commands in Visual Studio .NET are standardized for all languages; in some cases, Visual Basic 6.0 menu commands are replaced by different commands in Visual Studio .NET.

In Visual Basic 6.0, all menu commands were visible at all times but were grayed-out when out of context; in Visual Basic .NET, the set of available commands differs according to context.

The following table lists some common Visual Basic 6.0 commands and their Visual Basic .NET equivalents.

Visual Basic 6.0Visual Basic .NET
Add-Ins, Add-In ManagerTools, Add-in Manager
Debug, Add WatchAdd Watch (context menu only)
Debug, Edit WatchNo equivalent. Watches are edited in the Watch window.
Debug, Run To CursorRun To Cursor (context menu only)
Debug, Set Next StatementSet Next Statement (context menu only)
Debug, Show Next StatementShow Next Statement (context menu only)
Debug, Toggle BreakpointDisable Breakpoint or Breakpoint (context menu only)
Edit, Complete WordEdit, Intellisense, Complete Word
Edit, FindEdit, Find and Replace
Edit, Find NextEdit, Find and Replace
Edit, IndentEdit, Advanced, Increase Line Indent
Edit, Insert FileEdit, Insert File As Text
Edit, List ConstantsEdit, Intellisense, List Members
Edit, List Properties/MethodsEdit, Intellisense, List Members
Edit, OutdentEdit, Advanced, Decrease Line Indent
Edit, Parameter InfoEdit, Intellisense, Parameter Info
Edit, Quick InfoEdit, Intellisense, Quick Info
Edit, ReplaceEdit, Find and Replace
File, Make ProjectNameBuild, Build ProjectName
File, Make Project GroupBuild, Build Solution
File, Print SetupFile, Page Setup
File, Recent files listFile, Recent Projects
File, Remove ProjectEdit, Remove
File, Save Project GroupFile, Save SolutionName or File, Save All
File, Save Project Group AsFile, Save SolutionName As
File, Save SelectionFile, Save Selected Items
Format, Size to GridNo equivalent. Controlled by Snap to Grid environment option.
Help, Microsoft on the WebHelp, Show Start Page
Project, Add Class ModuleProject, Add Class
Project, Add Data EnvironmentNo equivalent. Data Environment is not supported.
Project, Add Data ReportNo equivalent. Data Reports are not supported.
Project, Add DHTML PageNo equivalent. DHTML Pages are not supported.
Project, Add FileProject, Add New Item or Project, Add Existing Item
Note   In Visual Basic 6.0 the file itself was added to the project; in Visual Basic .NET a copy of the file is added.
Project, Add FormProject, Add Windows Form or Project, Add Inherited Form
Project, Add MDI FormProject, Add Windows Form or Project, Add Inherited Form
Project, Add Property PageNo equivalent. Property Pages are not supported.
Project, Add User DocumentNo equivalent. ActiveX Documents are not supported.
Project, Add Web ClassNo equivalent. Web Classes are not supported.
Project, ComponentsNo equivalent. Components are managed in the Toolbox.
Project, ReferencesNo equivalent. References are managed in Solution Explorer.
Project, Remove itemEdit, Delete
Note   Remove removed the item from the project but not from disk; Delete deletes the item.
Run, BreakDebug, Break All
Run, EndDebug, Stop Debugging
Run, RestartDebug, Restart
Run, StartDebug, Start
Run, Start With Full CompileDebug, Start Without Debugging
Tools, Add ProcedureNo equivalent. Procedures are added in the Code Editor.
Tools, Menu EditorNo equivalent. The Menu Editor is replaced by the MainMenu and ContextMenu components.
Tools, Procedure AttributesNo equivalent.
Tools, SourceSafeFile, Source Control
View, Call StackDebug, Windows, Call Stack
View, Color PaletteNo equivalent. There is no Color Palette window.
View, Data View WindowNo equivalent. There is no Data View window.
View, DefinitionGo To Definition (context menu only)
View, Form Layout WindowNo equivalent. There is no Form Layout window.
View, Immediate WindowDebug, Windows, Immediate
View, Last PositionNo equivalent. Use Bookmarks.
View, Locals WindowDebug, Windows, Locals
View, ObjectView, Designer
View, Object BrowserView, Other Windows, Object Browser
View, Project ExplorerView, Solution Explorer
View, Watch WindowDebug, Windows, Watch
Window, Arrange IconsNo equivalent.
Window, CascadeOnly available in MDI layout mode.
Window, Tile HorizontallyOnly available in MDI layout mode.
Window, Tile VerticallyOnly available in MDI layout mode.
Window, Window listWindows...

Keyboard Mapping Changes

Keyboard mappings in Visual Studio .NET are standardized so that you can use the same keyboard shortcuts for all languages and tools. The result is that some of the familiar Visual Basic 6.0 keyboard shortcuts now invoke different functions. For example, in Visual Basic 6.0, F8 was the keyboard shortcut for Step Into when debugging; in Visual Basic .NET, F8 is the shortcut for Go to Next Location in the Code Editor.

If you prefer the Visual Basic 6.0 keyboard mappings, you can set them by choosing Visual Basic 6 from the Keyboard Scheme drop-down list on the My Profile tab of the Visual Studio Start Page.

See Also

Customizing the Development Environment | Using the Debugger | Introduction to Visual Basic .NET for Visual Basic Veterans

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