Programming for the networked world.
Programming today is starting to assume that you are connected with another computer, usually over the Internet. Understanding programming without understanding how to work with servers over a network is .. well ... less than half of what you really need.
ASP.NET 2.0 is Microsoft's technology for software development in a networked world. If you're someone who has been working on their own and programming from a "standalone" point of view, it's you and your computer, pure and simple. But networking makes literally anyone in the world your partner in computing. And the world has become networked.
Unfortunately, programming for a network based system is inherently filled with new, more difficult technology problems. At a minimum, you have to write two interacting programs - not just one - even if both run on the same computer.
And you usually have to understand several interacting technologies too. HTML, DHTML and web forms, SQL Server, partial classes, CSS, and others - in addition to a great programming language like VB.NET. For this reason, most books and tutorials assume at least a foundation of programming skill. To the maximum extent possible, this course helps you get started programming for the web by not assuming that you already know how. But if you have no knowledge of programming VB.NET, I recommend that you take the introductory course using VB.NET 2008 Express first: Visual Basic .NET 2008 Express - A "From the Ground Up" Tutorial. Like this course, all the software you need for that one is absolutely free.
Requirements for ASP.NET 2.0
If you have already taken the VB.NET 2008 Express course (mentioned earlier), you have VB.NET 2008 Express installed already. You will need two more free downloads for this course:
- Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition
- SQL Server 2005 Express Edition
You can download both of these at Microsoft's web site. Search for "Express Edition" at Microsoft.com to find the download page. The downloads for both can take several hours, especially if you don't have a broadband connection to the Internet. If you do have a really fast connection, you can download the "All-in-One DVD" image and install any of the Express products. Make sure you read Microsoft's instructions carefully. The DVD download requires specific software, and the right DVD hardware, to burn the DVD.
If you have tried out the beta versions of any of these products, it's very important to uninstall them before you start installing the production release. Trying to install the production version "on top of" a beta version can create some pretty horrible technical problems.
The minimum software that you will need is Windows XP or Windows Vista. The minimum hardware requirement listed at Microsoft is:
- 1.6 GHz CPU
- 192 MB RAM
- 1024x768 display
- 5400 RPM hard disk space
But, as always, faster is better.
This is the worst of it, however. From this point on, it's all good news because you don't need an account at a hosting service for your web page or a sophisticated web site editing program. Everything is included in the two downloads above.
One thing that is specifically included in Visual Web Developer ("VWD" from now on) is a great development system. If you happened to read earlier versions of this tutorial based on VB.NET 1.1, you saw that using "Notepad" was possible but a copy of Visual Studio was recommended. In VWD, neither one is necessary. You can edit and run your code right from VWD. You can even create and edit a database there.
If you already have Visual Studio, however, that will work too. (Well ... It might actually work a little better since Microsoft does include a lot more functions in the software they charge money for.) But this course assumes that you have VWD. If you have Visual Studio installed, the changes you will have to make to use that tool will be fairly easy and obvious.