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Introduction to Starter Kits 

A Starter Kit is essentially an enhanced project template that can be shared with other members of the community. A Starter Kit includes code samples, documentation, and other resources to help you learn new tools and programming techniques while building useful, real-world applications.

All the techniques and tasks that apply to templates apply to Starter Kits. For more information, see Visual Studio Templates.

This topic explains the types of Starter Kits, how to share them with the community, and how to create projects using the Starter Kits included with Visual Studio.

Types of Starter Kits

Starter Kits can be sample applications for customization or learning tools that demonstrate how to use Visual Studio.

Sample Applications

Sample applications for customization contain a working Visual Studio project, possibly including template code to implement specific tasks, and documentation. The documentation describes what the application does and offers suggestions for customizing the application. The documentation is displayed when you create a new project using the Starter Kit.

An example of a sample application is a plug-in for an application that you use regularly, such as Windows Media Player or Windows Messenger. The documentation for these Starter Kits describes how the plug-in works, how the code works, and how to install the plug-in.

Learning Tools

Learning tools provide a completed application and step-by-step documentation that teaches you how to recreate the application from scratch. If you have no previous experience with Visual Studio, these Starter Kits accelerate learning of both the development environment and the programming language. When you are done, you have created a useful application such as a photo management application or a DVD collection application.

A learning tools Starter Kit contains a completed, fully functional version of the application that can be used as a reference and the following items to use and refer to when creating the application:

  • A project that contains template code to implement a task or set of tasks. This might not be a working project that builds without errors.

  • Code snippets that can be used in the project. You can add code snippets to a Starter Kit code file by choosing the Insert Code Snippets command.

  • Code for controls.

  • Project item templates that can be used in the project. You can add project items by using the Add New Item dialog box.

  • Step-by-step documentation that describes how to complete and use the Starter Kit.

When you create a new project from a Starter Kit, you are presented with the documentation, which contains a series of tasks. These tasks describe how to create parts of the application by working in the development environment, adding items to the project, and copying code snippets. Each task should take approximately 10 minutes to read and implement, and the entire application should take approximately two hours to develop. Additional documentation might be provided to help you learn about the key concepts of the development environment and the programming language.

Finding and Sharing Starter Kits

You can find Starter Kits in the New Project dialog box, which you can use to select the Starter Kits that are installed with Visual Studio or to find and download Starter Kits from Web sites that support the Visual Studio Web services. For more information, How to: Find New Templates.

Starter Kits can be shared through e-mail or file shares. For more information, see How to: Share Templates Across a Development Team.

Using Starter Kits to Create Projects

Visual Studio 2005 includes several Starter Kits to use as examples.

To create a project from a Starter Kit included with Visual Studio

  1. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Project.

  2. In the Project types pane of the New Project dialog box, expand Visual Basic, Visual C#, or Visual J#, and click Starter Kits.

  3. Select a Starter Kit, enter a name for the new project, and click OK.

If you want to learn more about how the Starter Kits included with Visual Studio 2005 function, you can find the template .zip files at [InstallDirectory]\Common7\IDE\ProjectTemplates\[Language]\Starter Kits. [InstallDirectory] stands for the path to the directory where Visual Studio is installed, and [Language] stands for a programming language.

See Also