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This chapter is from the book

A World of Help at Your Fingertips

ASP.NET is a rich, robust web development technology built on a platform known as the .NET Framework. This platform consists of hundreds of classes that provide the core functionality of the ASP.NET engine. Needless to say, it can take years to have a deep understanding of the framework and its capabilities.

Fortunately, Visual Web Developer provides a variety of documentation and help. The version of Visual Web Developer you have installed on your computer includes the MSDN Library for Visual Studio Express editions. The MSDN Library is Microsoft’s colossal collection of articles, whitepapers, technical documentation, knowledge base content, and frequently asked questions and answers. To view the library, simply go to the Help menu and choose Search, Contents, or Index. This will launch the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions Documentation program, from which you can poke through the help.

Another neat feature of Visual Web Developer is its Dynamic Help. From the Help menu, select the Dynamic Help option. This will display the Dynamic Help window (which you can resize, position, and pin just like any other window). As its name implies, the Dynamic Help window shows context-sensitive help based on where your cursor is in the source code or HTML portions. For example, if you’re in the Design view and you click on a Button Web control in your page, the Dynamic Help window will automatically display help links with titles like

  • Button Web Server Control Overview
  • How to: Add Button Web Controls to a Web Forms Page
  • How to: Add ImageButton Web Controls to a Web Forms Page

There’s also the Community menu, which contains menu items like Ask a Question and Check Question Status. These menu options plug into Microsoft’s online forum site, which you can access directly through a web browser by going to http://forums.microsoft.com/msdn/.

In addition to the Microsoft online forum site, the Community menu item has links to other developer resource sites and tools to assist in searching online for answers, templates, samples, and controls.

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