Tools for Building Applications
To compile and run any of the code in this book, you will need a basic set of tools and some understanding of how they work. You can build a complete development environment with little more than an Internet connection because the new Visual Studio Express products give you a great development environment at no cost!
- .NET Framework 3.08
- Windows Software Development Kit9
- Code editor of your choice (Visual C# Express10 is what I'm using right now)
Optionally, you can get the .NET Framework 3.0 Extensions for Visual Studio (currently code-named Orcas), which right now is packaged as a community technology preview (CTP) of the next release of Visual Studio. Over time, though, this package will be replaced by a new release of Visual Studio that has native support for .NET Framework 3.0 development.
In our earlier tour of WPF, we walked through the basics of creating a project file for compiling WPF applications. With Visual Studio extensions installed, all the project file maintenance can be handled by Visual Studio. Alternatively, Microsoft's Expression Blend (code-named Sparkle) can be used to build projects.
The two most useful sources for API documentation are the Windows SDK documentation and an assembly browser tool like Reflector.11
Where Are We?
In this chapter we've seen why Microsoft built WPF, and we've taken a brief tour through the major areas of the platform. We've learned how to use the tools needed to build WPF applications, and we've received some pointers on where to find the needed software to get started.