Introducing Visual Studio 2012

I have been a big fan of Visual Studio for the last 12 years. I first got an opportunity to work with Visual Basic 6 way back in 2000 and served as project guide for students of Bachelor's and Master's degree courses. I had worked with SQL Server, Oracle and Microsoft Access as backend with Visual Basic 6. There were only a few Toolbox controls at that time such as Button, TextBox and Label including several ActiveX controls.

I was the first to install Visual Studio .NET in the institution I worked. At that time there were around 10 separate CDs. I needed to insert all of them once by one to complete the installation process. It was a tiresome job but I enjoyed it very much. I had explored all editions of Visual Studio after that.

Visual Studio 2012 provides a great user experience for developers with an ability to build any application (Windows, ASP.NET, MVC, WPF, Silverlight) besides Windows Phone 8 apps.

This first episode explains the basic requirements for working with Visual Studio 2012 including the creation of a simple Windows application. This procedure is also applicable if you have Visual Studio 2012 Express, that can be downloaded free of cost.

Requirements

In order to install Visual Studio 2012, you require a Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows Server Operating System. The .NET Framework ships with the Visual Studio installation package.

If you don't have access to Visual Studio 2012 then you can download and install Visual Studio 2012 Express Edition that is available for free. Moreover, you can also download a 90 day trial version of Visual Studio 2012.

Getting Started with Visual Studio 2012

Once you have successfully installed Visual Studio 2012, you can launch it by selecting "All Programs" | "Microsoft Visual Studio 2012" | "Visual Studio 2012". The Start Page will be displayed; using that you can create new projects or edit existing projects. A list of all the recently created projects will be displayed under the Recent section.

You can also select "File" | "New" | "Project..." as shown in Figure 1.

Project

The New Project dialog will be displayed as shown in Figure 2.

New Project dialog

As you can see, the preceding dialog displays a list of all project templates that are the starting point for all projects. Select Windows Forms Application and click the "OK" button.

A blank form will be displayed along with Toolbox, the Properties Window and Solution Explorer. The user interface you will see, as in the following figure, is popularly named an Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

Development Environment

As of the time of this writing, Microsoft has released the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Visual Studio 2014, that you can download and test free of cost. However, Microsoft recommends that you do not install it in a production system.