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Once you've run through the ASP.NET Web Application wizard, you'll see the visual design environment, which includes a Designer Surface, Designer Toolbar, Object Inspector, and Tool Palette. Although this environment supports WYSIWYG application development and drag-and-drop capabilities, all actions performed are fully synchronized with the underlying code base (see Figure 3).

Figure 3Figure 3 C#Builder provides a full graphical design environment for building ASP.NET applications. With drag-and-drop and sliding windows, you can configure the desktop any way you want.

Figure 3 shows the Designer Surface in the center of the desktop. At lower right is the Tool Palette, which contains GUI controls and components such as ADO.NET data components that can be dragged onto the Designer Surface. To the left of the desktop is the Object Inspector, which displays the properties of any control selected on the Designer Surface. A toolbar above the Designer Surface has several options for working with the placement and appearance of the web page.

The first thing I always do when starting a new ASP.NET project is change the layout. By default, C#Builder puts the Designer Surface in GridLayout mode, which means that controls dropped on the page get absolute positioning at the location where you put them. To me, this behavior is counter-intuitive because that isn't the way a normal HTML page is built. To change this setting, go to the control drop-down list at the top of the Object Inspector and select Document. Locate the PageLayout property and change it from GridLayout to FlowLayout.

Also, if you're like me and you don't feel that the grid pattern on the Designer Surface makes sense, click the Display Grid toolbar button just above the Designer Surface to display just the plain web form page. From this point, you can drag controls and components onto the Designer Surface and begin building a web page.

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