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Topics in This Chapter
This chapter is aimed at developers responsible for creating Graphical User Interface (GUI) applications for the desktop as opposed to applications that run on a Web server or mobile device. The distinction is important because .NET provides separate class libraries for each type of application and groups them into distinct namespaces:
Although this chapter focuses on Windows Forms, it is important to recognize that modern applications increasingly have to support multiple environments. Acknowledging this, .NET strives to present a uniform "look and feel" for applications developed in each. The forms and controls in all three namespaces provide similar, but not identical, functionality. The knowledge you acquire in this chapter will shorten the learning curve required to develop .NET applications for the Web and mobile devices.
Developers usually rely on an Integrated Development Environment (IDE), such as Visual Studio, to develop GUI applications. This makes it easy to overlook the fact that a form is a class that inherits from other classes and has its own properties and methods. To provide a true understanding of forms, this chapter peers beneath the IDE surface at the class members and how their implementation defines and affects the behavior of the form. The discussion includes how to display forms, resize them, make them scrollable or transparent, create inherited forms, and have them react to mouse and keyboard actions.
This is not a chapter about the principles of GUI design, but it does demonstrate how adding amenities, such as Help files and a tab order among controls, improves form usability. Controls, by the way, are discussed only in a generic sense. A detailed look at specific controls is left to Chapter 7, "Windows Forms Controls."
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