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This chapter is from the book

Development Tools

Having a whole raft of new features in ASP.NET is great, but what about design tools? Version 2.0 of the .NET Framework will introduce the latest version of Visual Studio .NET—Visual Studio 2005. When ASP.NET 1.0 was released, it quickly became apparent that a development tool targeted at Web developers was required. Visual Studio .NET provides great project and design features targeted at corporate developers. Web Matrix was released to appeal to ASP.NET developers who don't have access to Visual Studio .NET. It's a small stand-alone tool, specifically targeted at ASP.NET development, and provides some features that aren't in Visual Studio .NET.

With ASP.NET 2.0, Visual Studio 2005 has undergone some major enhancements and now provides a far superior environment for developing Web applications than previous versions. While the design environment is very familiar, the feature set has improved, making it a premier Web development tool.

Key design features for Visual Studio 2005 include the following:

  • Traditional inline coding approach, plus a new code-behind model

  • Support for all managed languages

  • Ability to edit any file anywhere (FTP, File System, Front Page Server Extensions, and so on)

  • Support for data controls, drag and drop, and database access, with a rich design surface

  • Support for visual inheritance through master pages

  • No project files, allowing projects to be manipulated outside of the tool

  • Integrated Web Site Administration Tool

  • IntelliSense included

  • Support for internationalization

  • Debugging support

  • No "build" step—ability to compile on first run

This feature set is really a combination of features from Visual Studio .NET and Web Matrix. As well as Visual Studio 2005 there is a stand-alone development tool targeted specifically at Web developers: Visual Web Developer Express Edition.

Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Web Developer Express Edition are covered in Chapter 2.

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