This being the new millennium, you need a lot of horsepower to develop and run any modern Windows application, no less so for .NET. Fortunately, memory and disk space are modestly priced commodities these days.
Microsoft officially recommends a 600 MHz Pentium III-class processor or better for developing .NET applications, and RAM ranging from 96 to 256 MB, depending on the operating system. The application will run fine, if slowly, on a 300 MHz machine with 512 MB of RAM. However, as with money and brains, you can never have too much memory, and we recommend the biggest, fastest machine you can afford with at least 512 MB of RAM if at all possible.
To develop .NET applications, the minimum you will need to install is a supported version of Windows (NT 4 Workstation or Server, 2000 Professional or Server, XP Professional, or .NET Server) and the .NET Software Development Kit (SDK) (downloadable from Microsoft). This software will provide all necessary documentation, compilers and tools, the .NET Framework, and the CLR. You will have to write all your code in a text editor, such as Notepad, or a third party tool.
To be most productive with .NET, we recommend you purchase Visual Studio .NET. Visual Studio .NET includes the SDK and documentation, along with an integrated editor, debugger and other useful tools. Some examples in this book will be developed using only a text editor, but most will be developed in Visual Studio .NET. You can save money by buying the C#- or VB.NET-only version
To run an application developed by .NET on a client machine, i.e., a machine without an installed development environment, the .NET Framework Redistributable Package must be downloaded from Microsoft and installed on each client machine. This is possible on all the versions of Windows, mentioned earlier, plus Windows 98 and Windows Me. Deployment is covered in Chapter 22.
If you plan on doing any development that uses the Internet, such as ASP.NET projects, Internet deployment of Windows desktop applications, or the creation or consumption of web services, use an Internet connection for your final testing. For all these activities except the consumption of web services, you also need to install Internet Information Services (IIS) on your development machine. After IIS is installed, you will need to reinstall your .NET product. Bummer, eh? The best solution is to install IIS first, and then the .NET product.
IIS is not installed by default with any of these operating systems but can be added easily after the OS is installed, if necessary. To add IIS to Windows 2000 or XP, go to the Control Panel, choose Add/Remove Programs, and then Add/Remove Windows Components. Select and install IIS. You will probably need to provide a Windows installation CD as part of the process. To add IIS to NT, install the Windows NT4 Option pack, downloadable from Microsoft over the Internet, and install Internet Information Server 4.0. Don't forget to reinstall any .NET development products after installing IIS.
If you are planning any development that uses database access, you need to install a database. ADO.NET, the database-enabling technology within the .NET Framework, works with any OLE DB-compliant database, although it works best (of course) with Microsoft SQL Server. If you don't have Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Access, or another ODBC compliant database installed on your development machine, install the Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE). This can either be done directly when the .NET product is installed, or the MSDE installation files can be copied to the machine as part of the .NET setup, and then the MSDE installed later.
Windows Forms and the .NET Framework
Visual Studio .NET
Controls: The Base Class
Text and Fonts
Drawing and GDI+
Labels and Buttons
Other Basic Controls
TreeView and ListView
Date and Time Controls
Menus and Bars
Exceptions and Debugging
Configuration and Deployment