“M.S. Visual Studio 2005” – A Software Review

 

 

 


By Dr. M.V.S. Peri Sastry. B.E, Ph.D.

 

1. Introduction:

 

            Visual Studio 2005(VS 2005) is the latest software released from the stables of Microsoft, the software giant whose name is synonymous with windows operating system. On 9th December 2005, Mr. Bill Gates, the founder and chief Architect of Micro Soft (MS) was in Bangable to launch M.S. Visual Studio 2005 as part of Global launch of the software product. I was one of the selected groups of about 4000 software developers to participate in this event. I have got free 90 day trial version of this software at that event, as part of the launch kit.

 

            The purpose of this article is to give a brief introduction to this mamoth software product  which makes development of windows based application software an enjoyable exercise A secondary objective is who want to develop application using VS 2005.

 

2. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 :

 

            VS 2005 is an Integrated Development Environment(IDE). This only means, that you can type-in your program code, drag-and drop the objects like ‘log-in Vies’ etc; modify the code, run and test your application software; in an integrated way; from this IDE. It is similar to the way one works from a table (similar to IDE) which has all functional tools like telephone, computer, calling bell, letter pad, pen, pencil, eraser, text books etc; all within arms reach; without even leaning from your chain.

            This IDE idea is not new to VS 2005 alone. There are many other  IDEs like Java Sun  1 Studio, IBM Websphere  Application Server and BETA Weblogic Application server etc; core main advantage of VS 2005 is that it can be used to develop standalone application for windows or for use on World Wide Web; using a host of languages like ASPdotNet, Visual Basic 2005, C# and Jscript…

So in VS 2005, we have a jumbo jet that

 

            All this way look like a bit of hype, but it is real. While one can think that this makes VS 2005 a huge animal, others can see beauty and grace in a software of elephantine proportions. This is all of the more so, because each of these languages themselves comprise of multi million line code compilers and other system software.

           

            Let us understand the context of all this. We live in an era, where computer applications are really complex and large. Just think of an Integrated Banking Application consisting of Bank Branches, many products, services, Automatic teller machine networks, internet enabled banking, Credit Cards etc; software developers who work on such large projects its need equally huge (functionality wise) development tools (IDEs) to achieve good  productivity and deliver application software solutions on time and within budgets.

 

 I will provide my comments of VS 2005 under two headings

    - IDE & Tool Box

    - Visual Basic 2005 ( Which I choose as default language in the IDE)   as compared
       to Visual Basic 6 (which is earlier version of Visual Basic )

 

3.  Microsoft Visual Studio 2005  IDE & Tool Box

 

            Now to some of the details that make VS 2005 a good IDE:

¨      It has a good Graphical User Interface(GUI) with tool bars, solution explorer (which gives a view of your application software or solution Like ERP or Banking software or Website etc as a free), forms and programs in VB, ASP.Net, C# etc.

¨      It has new objects like Master Templates and enterprise templates, to give uniform and standard look and feel to your web applications.

¨      The ‘code behind’ of the controls are neatly packaged into separate files. Eg: login.topx.vb which you can see in figure 2 on the right hand side under solution explorer of my c:\website 4\application

¨      It has default.aspx as start page. But gives the facility to make some other form as the start page.

¨      If you see on the left extreme of figure 2, you will see neatly laid out Tool Box with groups of web-control objects under the groups Standard, Validation, Navigation, Login (which incidentally supplies the create user wizard) when we see the create wizard table selected by me in my Web Site 1 example.

¨      Down below in figure 2 you see ‘debug window’. It cause you don’t see any errors; but cannot miss “0 Errors warnings 0 messages” error list.

¨      The properties window seen at right hand side bottom area of figure 2 is very useful in setting the properties of object selected.

¨      The main work area which is called form area is having nice tabs ‘Design’ and Source’ which when we click give us Design/Code. In figure 2 ‘Design’ is selected and ‘Code is hidden, as you can see.

 

 

            Figure 1  tries to capture the world of Application Software development in this internet age.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                     ERP  E-Com   etc;
 

 


                                                             C  ,  C ++

Microsoft

 

Clients

 
                                                             Java,   PERL  

SUN

 
                                                              BASIC, VB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Figure-1  World View of Web Based Applications(See Previous page)

 

 

 

 

 

Figure-2  (above)  The IDE Screen Of MS Visual Studio 2005 (Blank WebSite2403 )

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 3 (above) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4 (above) 


   

Log In

User Name:

*

Password:

*

Remember me next time.

 

 

Figure5 (above) 

 

Partial Class _Default

    Inherits System.Web.UI.Page

 

    Protected Sub Login1_Authenticate(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As System.Web.UI.WebControls.AuthenticateEventArgs) Handles Login1.Authenticate

        Response.Redirect("date.aspx")

    End Sub

End Class

 

 

Figure 6 (above) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Comparison between Visual Basic 6 and Visual Basic 2005

 

Functionality:

-         The notable change for Visual Basic 6.0 developers is the introduction of the .NET Framework.  In Visual Basic 6.0, many functions and services were provided by the Visual Basic runtime, Msvbvm60.dll.  The .NET Framework builds on the concept and brings a foundation of base classes, in the spirit of the Visual Basic runtime, to all languages in the form of the .NET Framework.

-         It facilitates building standalone projects, a solution comprising of multiple related projects, and websites.

-         In Visual Basic 6 a single project can be opened, edited and saved as a single project file (.vbp). In Visual Basic 2005  multiple projects can be opened, edited and saved simultaneously as a solution file (.sln). The individual projects gets saved as a project file (.vbp)  This helps in managing a entire solution which contains multiple related projects.

-         It also has the functionality to interact and incorporate XML documents.

GUI, Controls and Forms:

-         Visual Basic 2005 offers a new Start page pane. New features such as Beginners help and online features like Visual studio headlines and Visual Studio Developer news are introduced. Also you can create new or open existing projects and websites.

-         The Tool Box, Solution Explorer and Properties Box is provided with Auto Hide facility which gives the user more space for programming and design.

-          A number of new components and controls are added to the Tool Box. The controls and components are also categorized according to their functionality.

-         A large number of Toolbars are provided which are categorized according to their functionality.

-         In Visual Basic 6 the files, forms, etc. are managed by a Project Explorer while in Visual Basic 2005 the files, forms, etc. are managed by a Solution Explorer. The Solution Explorer also provides a Data Source view. The Solution Explorer provides the facility of viewing the class diagram of each of the form.

-         In Visual Basic 2005 a tabbed window frame is provided which enables a user to view and navigate through multiple windows giving a multiple document view.

-         The Run tab used for running the project in Visual Basic 6 has been shifted to Debug tab in Visual Basic 2005.

-         The Command Button control is named as Button Control in Visual Basic 2005. Also the look and feel has been enhanced.

-         Many new methods have been introduced for the controls. For eg. The method VisibleChanged has been added to Text Box control.

-         The MDI Form is provided with a default Menu Bar, Coolbar, and Status Bar.

-         In Visual Basic 6 Menus are created using Menu Editor Tool, while Visual Basic 2005 uses a Menu strip Control for that purpose. The Toolbar and Coolbar controls are replaced by Tool-Strip control.

-         Visual Basic 2005 has an Error List window which helps in debugging similar to Watch window in Visual Basic but with enhanced features.

-         A large number of new windows are introduced such as Bookmark window, Command window etc. which helps in locating the errors and keeping a track of flow of the program.

-         The Form Layout window has been removed in Visual Basic 2005. Instead the form can be resized by using DeskTopBounds Property.

-         The method of assigning Tab Order is simplified to a great extent in Visual Basic 2005.

-         The functionality of Print method has been changed in Visual Basic 2005. Earlier it was used to display text directly to the form but now it is used to send data to a file on a disk.

-         In Visual Basic 2005 the objects on the form can be resized at runtime as the form is resized with the help of properties like Anchor and Dock.

-         For printing documents with Visual Basic 2005, the Printer object is replaced by PrintDocument object.

-         The Visual Basic 6 Remote Data Objects (RDO) and ActiveX Data Objects (ADO) are replaced with ADO.NET Objects which uses XML as its data format.

-         In Visual Basic 6 several grid controls such as FlexGrid, MSHFlexGrid, and DataGrid can be used to display data in spreadsheet or tabular view. But in Visual Basic 2005 it can be accomplished only with DataGridView control.
However user can only view as the name implies and can not modify data through this object.

-         Visual Basic 2005 provides an extensive Help feature for the beginners in form of Templates, Samples, Code Snippets, etc.

-         Visual Basic 2005 has useful inbuilt web controls like Login form etc.

-         Visual Basic 2005 facilitates inheriting of forms or controls from different applications or projects.

Programming and Syntax:

-         From programming point of view Visual Basic 6 uses And or Or operators, which evaluate all their arguments, while Visual Basic 2005 uses AndAlso or OrElse. This helps in reducing the execution time. For eg. In Visual Basic 6 if an And operator is used in IF condition then it will check for both the conditions even if the first condition is false. But with AndAlso operator the If statement gets terminated if the first condition resolves to be false without processing the second condition. This saves the execution time.

-         The syntax has also been standardized. The syntax While… Wend is replaced with While…End.

-         An Exit For statement has been introduced to exit from the For loop on some certain specific condition.

-         The Try…Catch code blocks are introduced for error handling which can be used instead of On Error Goto, Resume, Resume Next.

Other

-         Visual Basic 2005 can be used to create an entire Website or a Web Application. It provides with all the necessary functionality to design a Website.

-         Visual Basic 2005 also provides with a web browser which helps in viewing the design formats of the web pages instantaneously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. My Views:

 

¨      I feel that Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 is a great help to software organization focusing on development of Application Software for large customer projects.

¨      It certainly helps software engineers in raising their productivity.

¨      It is a huge conglomeration of tightly compled API like the loosely compled Java tools available freely …… the world as open source.

¨      As we move towards ‘software facilities’ and ‘Component Assembly Models’; MSVS 2005 is a timely contribution in that direction.

 

7. Disclaimer:

 

            This article is not a technical review. It is just an introductory review. So if any incrasis thcies in this article we found vis-à-vis Microsoft’s official publications; the latter have to be taken as correct

 

            No warranty explicit or implicit can be inferred from any of the statements in this article by XIME, the author or Microsoft or any others. This is purely an academic exercise.

 

8. Acknowledgements:

 

¨      I acknowledge gratefully Microsoft’s free gift of the 4 C.D. kit of ‘Microsoft Visual Studio 2005’ at the Bangalore launch of VS2005.

¨      I acknowledge the Director of XIME Professor J. Philip ,encouragement to bring in the latest and best to our Institute and the students.

¨      I acknowledge the grit and forbearance of the students of the ATIT course of Jan – April 2006; who attended  the ASP.Net classes. I thank all of them, and especially Mr. Vaibhav who always had a thought provoking question, which strengthened my own understanding.