07. The IDE interface

There are six main areas to the screen you see when you open a project in VB.NET:

1. The Solution Explorer

The solution explorer

The Solution Explorer

This is the area where all the forms and assets used in your project get shown. It’s from here that you open them up for editing, whether that be the graphical side or the source code.

2. The Workspace

The main workspace

The main workspace

This is where your project components get opened up when you select them from the Solution Explorer. Most of your work gets done here. (If you have a big blank area in the middle of your project, try double-clicking on the “frmMain.vb” file from your Solution Explorer)

3. Toolbox

The toolbox

The Toolbox

Visual Basic.NET allows you to draw interactive objects onto your program forms easily through this window. You will probably find this a very familiar way of drawing/creating objects.

4. Properties

The properties window

The Properties window

When you draw objects onto your form, those objects can often be edited (colour, font, size, etc) and those things can be changed here in the Properties window.

5. Debugging

The debug window

The Debug window

This section tells you about anything that might be wrong with your program. VB.NET is quite good at recognising when something you’ve done isn’t quite what it expects.

6. Project Options

The project options section

The Project Options section

This section allows you to change options of your project as a whole. It is also where you can tell the program to compile, run or export it as a stand alone program.

And so over the course of this tutorial you will learn how to master each of those sections. They are not important in the scheme of programming, some programming languages don’t have an IDE at all, but in order to forge forward in VB.NET we will need to begin to understand all those features above.

So now it’s time to start building a program.

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