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Welcome to Microsoft’s Visual Basic 2010, another milestone version of the most popular programming language for building Windows and web applications. In modern software development, however, the language is only one of the components we use to build applications. The most important component is the .NET Framework, which is an indispensable component of every application; it’s actually more important than the language itself. You can think of the Framework as an enormous collection of functions for just about any programming task. All drawing methods, for example, are part of the System.Drawing class. To draw a rectangle, you call the DrawRectangle method of the System.Drawing class, passing the appropriate arguments. To create a new folder, you call the CreateDirectory method of the Directory class, and to retrieve the files in a folder, you call the GetFiles method of the same class. The Framework contains all the functionality of the operating system and makes it available to your application through methods. Methods are very similar to functions, which extend the basic capabilities of a language. The Framework is a huge collection of such methods, organized in units according to their role and in a way that makes it fairly easy to locate the methods for the task at hand. The language and the Framework are the two ‘‘programming’’ components absolutely necessary to build Windows applications. It’s possible to develop applications with these two components alone, but the process would be awfully slow. The software development process relies on numerous tools that streamline the coding experience. The third component is an integrated environment that hosts those tools, enabling you to perform many common tasks with point-and-click operations. It’s basically an environment in which you can design your forms with visual tools and write code as well. This environment, provided by Visual Studio, is known as an integrated development environment, or IDE. You’ll be...
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