You develop Visual Basic applications using the Visual Studio 2012 Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which is the place where you will spend most of your developer life. Before diving deep into the Visual Basic language, you need to know what instruments you need to develop applications. Although the Visual Studio IDE is a complex environment, this chapter provides you with an overview of the most common tasks you will perform from within Visual Studio 2012 and the most important tools you will utilize so that you can feel at home within the IDE. You get an introduction to some of the new features introduced by the new version of the development environment, which can provide the basis for the rest of the book. You also learn about other advanced IDE features in the last part of the book.
What’s New in Visual Studio 2012
The Visual Studio 2012 IDE retakes the infrastructure that was first introduced by its predecessor, which is written in managed code and in which several parts are based on the Windows Presentation Foundation framework, such as the code editor, menus, and floating windows. On the other hand, Visual Studio 2012 has a completely different look, which is now based on the Microsoft Design Style, with a simplified approach to commands and tools via a flattened user interface in which there are only a few colors.
The goal is helping the developer focus on writing code or on designing the application, not on the development environment. So, the environment now has fewer colors than in the previous versions, but commands are still recognizable via familiar icons; parts of the IDE that you interact the most with (typically the code editor and designers) are still rich with helpful colorizations. Although this innovation is important, you will still feel at home with the new version. This is because the instrumentation is located and behaves the same as in the past. This chapter gives you an overview of the most common tools you need for developing your Visual Basic applications. (Deeper details on advanced IDE features are provided starting from Chapter 53, “Advanced IDE Features.”)