You've looked at the console—nice, but not the most user-friendly environment for your application's users to work in. You've also looked at the Windows application. This, on the other hand, is a great environment for your users to work in. But these are only two of the three worlds in which to develop .NET applications. In fact, you haven't even covered the areas that make .NET special: the Internet and ASPNET. In this chapter, you'll cover the first of the two pieces that make up ASP.NET: the Web application or, as it's more commonly known, the Web Form. In the next chapter, you'll cover Web services.
You may have heard that Managed C++ isn't the environment in which to develop Web applications or Web Forms. You may have even heard, as I did, that you can't create Web applications. If you believe these statements, you would be wrong on both accounts. It's possible and, in fact, quite easy to build Web Forms once you complete the initial manual configurations.
Visual Studio .NET doesn't have a "fully functioning" drag-and-drop GUI tool to directly build Managed C++-controlled Web Forms. (The design tool supports dragging and dropping controls to the Web Form, but there's no linking of these controls to the codebehind.) Even so, it's extremely easy to create Web Forms manually. The only hard part is that you have to know HTML/XML as well as Managed C++. In this chapter, I show you just how easy it is by manually implementing a few ASP.NET pages. I also show you how easy it is to create user controls. This book by no means covers all aspects of ASP.NET—this chapter, in fact, assumes prior knowledge of ASP.NET. Rather, this book focuses on how to implement ASP.NET with Managed C++ codebehind.
But before you get to that you need a little background information. Then you'll have to set up Visual Studio .NET so that you can develop your ASP.NET code.