What's New in Windows Forms for Visual Basic 6.0 Users

Windows Forms is the new object-oriented framework that implements the .NET Framework. Windows Forms and the Windows Forms controls provide a robust architecture for Windows-based application development in Visual Basic.


If you are familiar with forms in Visual Basic 6.0, see Forms Tasks for Visual Basic 6.0 Users for an introduction to the new concepts.

The following are all a part of client application development with Windows Forms.

Windows Forms

Windows Forms is the new platform for Microsoft Windows-based application development, based on the .NET Framework. You can use this framework to create powerful and rich Windows-based applications using a clear, object-oriented, extensible set of classes. For details, see Windows Forms Overview.

Windows Forms Controls

Visual Basic 2008 includes all of the controls that you are familiar with from Visual Basic 6.0, and most controls are enhanced with new properties, methods, and events that make them more powerful. Also, there are a number of new controls and components to create your user interface. For more information, see Controls to Use on Windows Forms.

Windows Forms as the Presentation Layer of a Three-Tier Application

Using HTTP calls to a server connected to a database, Windows Forms can act as the user interface combining the user interface of a client application with the advanced processing of an application server.

Creating a Client Application

You can use Windows Forms to create a rich client application using Visual Basic. This application can access a wide variety of data sources and provide data-display and data-editing facilities using Windows Forms controls. For details, see Walkthrough: Creating a Simple Windows Form.

Windows Forms Security Model

Windows Forms security is based on the security policies established within the .NET Framework. The System.Security namespace provides the underlying structure of the .NET Framework security system, including base classes for permissions. For details, see Windows Forms Security.

Tag and Name Properties

The Tag and Name properties are now part of the Control class. The Tag property is a repository within memory to store data about the control. The Name property contains the name of the control. The Name property can be used at run time to evaluate the object by name rather than by type and programmatic name. For more information about the Tag property, see Control.Tag Property. For more information about the Name property, see Control.Name Property.

Nonrectangular Windows Forms

It is easy to customize the shape of Windows Forms. For nonrectangular forms, you just need an image file and a few property settings. For details, see How to: Create a Shaped Windows Form.

Smart Device Programmability

You can now use Visual Basic to develop rich applications for resource-constrained devices. You can use the tools provided by Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Compact Framework, a subset of the .NET Framework, to create, build, and debug applications that run on smart devices.

While almost the entire Visual Basic language is supported for device development, certain Visual Basic 2008 features were changed or dropped to accommodate for the inherent differences in device applications. For more information, see Differences from Desktop in .NET Compact Framework Development.

What's New in Windows Forms and Controls for Visual Studio 2005

In addition to the features listed above, there are a number of features and enhancements that are brand new in Visual Basic 2008, including several new controls, support for background operations, and custom drawing of several controls. For more information, see Additions to Windows Forms for the .NET Framework 2.0.

Community Additions