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Product: Visual Studio .NET 2003
Company: Microsoft
Estimated Street Price: See Pricing
Review By: Robert Downey (RMD)

The Start Page

Table of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Setup & Installation
3: Pricing & System Requirements
4: The Start Page

5: IDE
6: New Features - Part 1
7: New Features - Part 2
8: New Features - Part 3
9: What's Missing or Malignant
10: Conclusion

My Profile Tab

Once your settings have been imported, you’re presented with the Profile tab of the Visual Studio .NET 2ks “start page”. For those of you who don’t know, Visual Studio .NET has this nifty start page concept, which is basically a web page that has your latest projects all listed on it, some online resources like code samples and web service searches, and lastly your profile page. The profile page lets you configure Visual Studio .NET quickly by selected what you’re used to (VB6, C++, C#, etc.), help filters, and general things like what to do when Visual Studio .NET starts up. This is a very good idea, as it saves developers from having to hunt through the jungle of options dialogs to find common settings, and from having to drag windows around the IDE until they’re the way you want them. This was, of course, also in Visual Studio .NET 2002. The dialog is pictured below.

Online Resources Tab

The next tab of interest is the Online Resources tab. Online Resources consists of many pages of content that are simply too numerous to go through individually. It has a sample finder, developer news, training, books, and tutorials. It has online communities for code sharing, discussion, and even a user group directory. It has Microsoft headlines (from MSDN), as well as the ability to search MSDN directly from within Visual Studio .NET 2003. It has a downloads section where free, trial, and subscription downloads are available. It has a Web Services search, although in my limited trials, entering any keyword would result in getting no hits, but simply searching with the keyword blank would bring up lots of hits.

It also has a list of hosting services that provide ASP.NET hosting, although the top provider when I viewed it was Innerhost, and in my opinion, they’re absolutely horrible, so I guess it’s based on who pays the most to get their ad on the screen. Some providers allow you to upload a project directly to their servers via a link in their ad, which is pretty cool. In summary, the Online Resources tab is a wealth of very useful stuff, although there isn’t really anything new in 2003 over 2002. Below are screen shots of various parts of the Online Resources tab for your perusal.

Projects Tab

Lastly, there is the familiar Projects tab of the start page. Again, aside from some visually appealing tweaks, it appears to be more or less unchanged. Below is a screen shot.


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