So, you ve decided Visual Basic .NET is the programming language for you and need to slap it on your machine?
First off, you need to buy it. And that means making our first decision. You see, Visual Studio .NET comes in four separate flavors: Professional, Enterprise Developer, Enterprise Architect, and Academic.
If you re the penny-pinching type, the Professional version of Visual Studio .NET is the cheapest of the range and is bundled with Visual Basic .NET, Visual C++ .NET, and Visual C# .NET. It allows you to do everything we cover in this book, including build and run Windows applications, Web applications, and Web services.
If you re feeling a little more affluent, however, Enterprise Developer is most probably your best bet. It includes all the features of the Professional version, plus comes with Visual SourceSafe and developer editions of .NET server products such as SQL Server and Windows 2000/2003.
The third option, Enterprise Architect, features all the above, plus a few system modeling features used by manager folk. And, finally, the Academic version is similar to the Professional version plus includes a number of extra wizards specific to the academic community and a particularly attractive price tag too ”but it s available only to student types. D oh!
In reality, it doesn t really matter which version you pick ”even the basic product contains everything you need to get started. My best bet for most programmers? Go for Enterprise Developer: it contains everything you need, without going overboard. (It ll still take a bite out of your wallet, however.)
So, you ve reviewed the options and chosen an appropriate version of Visual Studio .NET. Now, can your machine handle it?
To run the software, you ll need at least a PC with a Pentium II-class processor capable of 450MHz or higher. It s also recommended that you have 500MB of disk space available on your system drive, along with a potential 3GB handy for the actual installation.
In terms of operating system and RAM, Visual Studio .NET will install on Windows 2003 Server (with 160MB of RAM), Windows 2000 Server (with 192MB of RAM), Windows 2000 Professional (with 96MB of RAM), Windows XP Professional (with 160MB of RAM), and Windows NT 4.0 Workstation (64MB of RAM).
Of course, the rule of thumb here is more is better. And less? Oh, that s just disastrous.
A quick word of advice here: you won t want to install Visual Studio .NET on an NT 4.0 machine. Why? Windows NT doesn t support ASP.NET, one of the biggest areas of .NET, and it also doesn t allow for COM+ or multiprocessor garbage collection. The rest of this installation guide presumes you didn t choose NT 4.0.
So, your machine is capable of running your version of Visual Studio .NET? Next, you need to ensure that you have the right software already on the machine. What does this mean? First off, you need to set up Internet Information Services (IIS) on your computer if you don t already have it. This allows your machine to act as a Web server and create the Web applications we cover in Chapter 3 and 5. You can check whether this is already installed by seeing whether the Internet Services Manager program exists on your computer (Programs Administrative Tools Internet Services Manager).
To set up IIS on Windows 2000/2003/XP, open the control panel, select the Add/Remove Programs applet, and choose Add/Remove Windows Components. In the Windows Components wizard, select Internet Information Services (IIS) from the Components list and click on Next to begin the installation.
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If you install IIS after setting up Visual Studio .NET, you ll need to take a few extra steps. Lookup the Uh-oh: Installing IIS After Visual Studio .NET tip in Chapter 3 for more information.
Next up, if you plan to compile code related to Microsoft Messaging Queue (MSMQ, see the Quick Guide to Using MSMQ in Chapter 7), you ll need to install Message Queuing Services. To do this, follow the same procedure as installing Internet Information Services, except this time selecting the Message Queuing Services option.
So, you ve purchased your version of Visual Studio .NET, found a machine capable of running it, and installed all the necessary software prerequisites? Great stuff. Now you re ready to rumble.
First off, make sure that you re logged in with administrative permissions. Why? Some features such as the debugger create their own system accounts and require such privileges to set them up. Note, however, that after the installation your VS.NET user doesn t necessarily need administrative privileges to run the application.
Right then: it s time for the actual installation. Take your Setup CD-ROM or DVD and insert it into your computer. The setup should automatically start; if not, open the drive via My Computer and double-click on the Setup.exe file.
You ll be guided through the entire installation process. This typically involves entering your serial number, selecting an installation directory, copying files, and configuring your machine. The whole process will last at least an hour , so get that kettle boiling.
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If you experience problems during the Visual Studio .NET setup, refer to Readme.htm in the root directory of your installation disk. It often provides useful information on known issues or last-minute workarounds.
After the installation has finished, you ll want to perform just a couple of actions to fine-tune your copy of Visual Studio .NET.
First off, launch it. To do this, select Start Programs Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. In later revisions of the program, you may be prompted with a screen asking you to register online or via telephone using a special key. You can skip this initially, but the program will run only a set number of times before you re forced to spill the beans to Microsoft.
In Visual Studio .NET, let s first set up your preferences. On the Start page, click on the My Profile link down the left-hand side. From the Profile dropdown list, select Visual Basic Developer. This will set Visual Basic as the default language, plus apply a set of typical keyboard shortcuts, as taught in this book and used in VB6.
Next up, you might consider checking for any updates, such as service releases or, more likely, bug fixes. To do this, select Help Check for Updates from the menu. You ll need an Internet connection to download the latest files.
And that s it! You ve successfully installed Visual Studio .NET on your development machine.
One quick note for when you start creating projects in Visual Studio .NET: the Option Strict setting is turned off by default. You can set this value either in code or by right-clicking on your project in the Solution Explorer, selecting Properties, and choosing the Build item.
This value dictates that all object types must be explicitly declared, and any non-exact matches will prevent your application from compiling. For example, with Option Strict turned on, you could not create a string and set an Integer value to it. Instead, you would have to physically convert this value. (Look up type conversion in the help index for more information.) With Option Strict turned off, Visual Basic handles all this automatically for you.
This Option Strict addition was added to help build enterprise projects that are more bug free, although it can prove inflexible and hinder learning Visual Basic. All samples in this book are based on this default setting of Option Strict turned off.