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Working with Solution Explorer

From: Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

Video: Working with Solution Explorer

A complex business application might consist of dozens of projects, thousands of code files, and hundreds of ancillary items. With so many files loaded into Visual Studio, you need a way to understand the chaos and navigate through your assets. The Solution Explorer is the tool that tames this potential mess. I'm inside Visual Studio, and I am going to create a brand-new project, and then we are going to look at it over here in the Solution Explorer, which is usually docked to the right edge of the screen.

Working with Solution Explorer

A complex business application might consist of dozens of projects, thousands of code files, and hundreds of ancillary items. With so many files loaded into Visual Studio, you need a way to understand the chaos and navigate through your assets. The Solution Explorer is the tool that tames this potential mess. I'm inside Visual Studio, and I am going to create a brand-new project, and then we are going to look at it over here in the Solution Explorer, which is usually docked to the right edge of the screen.

Before I talk about Solution Explorer, let me talk about the difference between a solution and a project. A solution, in .NET terms, is an item that can contain zero or more projects. A project, in .NET terms, is a section that contains many files that are used to construct a .NET assembly. Let me show you how that works. I'm going to go to the File menu and choose New > Project.

I am going to create a C# console application. Down here at the bottom of the screen, I can give my project--which is a container for files and compilation instructions--a name. I am going to call this one FirstConsole, and I am going to save it out in my Exercise File folder. So I am going to choose Browse, and then I will go to my desktop and find Exercise Files, chapter 2.

And I am going to create a new folder in here, 02, since we are in the second movie in this chapter. And then I will select the folder. Okay. Now here is the key part. Down at the bottom is the name of the Solution. The Solution contains zero or more projects. In this case it's going to create a project called FirstConsole, and the name of the solution will be exactly the same. Over here you can see that I have a choice to create a directory for the solution files. There are typically two files affiliated with a solution: an FLN file and an SUO file.

Those will go in a separate directory. I am going to click OK, and there is our project. It's a console application. It shows the FirstConsole project. In the Solution Explorer, it's inside the FirstConsole Solution. Another common pattern is to create a stand-alone solution first. Let me show you how to do that. File > New > Project. Then I will scroll down to the Other Projects Types node and then I am going to choose Visual Studio Solutions.

I will pick Blank Solution, and then I'll choose the name of the solution: FirstSolution. If you are following along, click OK. What's the difference? Look inside the Solution Explorer. There is only a solution. There are no other files. I'm going to add two projects to this solution. My favorite way to do that is to right- click here in the Solution Explorer and choose Add, but there are other ways to do this. I am going to choose Add > New Project, which takes us back to the same dialog we saw a minute ago.

This time I'm going to create a Visual Basic application. Again, I am going to create a Console Application, so I will call this project ConsoleVB. I'll click OK, and over here in the Solution Explorer, you will now see one project. Note that the file ends with .vb, which signifies that it contains Visual Basic code. And now I am going to go up to my Solution one more time, right-click, choose Add > New Project.

I will pick the C# language, and then Windows, and then I think I'll choose the WPF Application. I will call this one WpfAppCS and click OK. So let's review what I've done. I created a blank solution and called it FirstSolution.

I added a Visual Basic Console application to it, and I added a WPF C# application to it. Now I am going to save this file, and then I am going to go out to my hard drive and show you how the Solution Explorer mimics the same settings that you have inside your hard drive. I am going to right-click on my solution, and I'm going to go down and choose Open Folder in Windows Explorer. Here is what I want you to see. There is an SLN file that you typically use to load the solution, and that contains instructions to tell it open this folder, which contains the vbproj file.

The vbproj file contains all the information about what to load for this project. Also in the C# folder here, there is a csproj file, which contains all the instruction about what to load for that project. So Visual Studio uses the SLN and csproj and the vbproj and other proj files to figure out what to actually load into Visual Studio and to show in the Solution Explorer. Now, you can see there are some hidden files, like there's this bin folder; that doesn't show up over here in the Solution Explorer.

That's because Microsoft has decided they don't want to show you that by default. I can enable that by coming over here and clicking on the Show All Files, and then you can see the bin and object folder show up there. So it basically mimics the file system. Not only can you add files to your project, but one more thing you can do is you can add references of other precompiled assemblies. That's why I have this Reference folder. I can right-click here and choose Add Reference, and now I can go out and add other .NET libraries of this project.

I have more details about how to do this in other movies in this series. Creating a project is easy, but it's not something that you do everyday. I'd say that you are more likely to open an existing project over and over again, so that's the topic of the next movie in this chapter.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training
Visual Studio 2010 Essential Training

86 video lessons · 29816 viewers

Walt Ritscher
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 3s
    1. Welcome
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  2. 7m 19s
    1. Understanding the Visual Studio versions
      3m 51s
    2. Setting up your developer computer
      3m 28s
  3. 58m 2s
    1. Creating a Visual Studio project
      4m 58s
    2. Working with Solution Explorer
      6m 32s
    3. Working with big projects
      3m 53s
    4. Taking a tour of the Integrated Developer Environment (IDE)
      8m 36s
    5. Introducing drag-and-drop UI design
      7m 38s
    6. Working with the Properties window
      6m 44s
    7. Looking at Server Explorer
      7m 4s
    8. Exploring the new Help engine
      6m 41s
    9. Setting options for the IDE
      5m 56s
  4. 39m 25s
    1. Creating a simple WPF application
      1m 32s
    2. Building the UI with the editors
      9m 14s
    3. Working with the application code
      3m 37s
    4. Communicating with the web site
      7m 15s
    5. Connecting your data
      8m 4s
    6. Binding to an RSS feed
      5m 4s
    7. Packaging and deploying the application
      4m 39s
  5. 39m 46s
    1. What languages are supported in Visual Studio 2010?
      1m 17s
    2. Exploring basic settings for the Code Editor
      5m 35s
    3. Writing a C# program
      6m 48s
    4. Writing a VB program
      6m 29s
    5. Working with C++
      6m 38s
    6. Working with F Sharp
      6m 9s
    7. Font and color options
      6m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Formatting your code
      6m 43s
    2. Navigating your code
      7m 44s
    3. Using the Task List
      2m 26s
    4. Commenting your code
      2m 45s
    5. Documenting your code
      8m 26s
    6. Using IntelliSense effectively
      7m 0s
    7. Working with code snippets
      6m 25s
    8. Refactoring your code
      5m 15s
    9. Understanding code generation
      2m 10s
    10. Generating code with T4
      6m 29s
    11. Using the Class View, Class Designer, and Class Diagram tools
      5m 51s
    12. Refactoring VB with CodeRush Xpress
      4m 33s
  7. 1h 11m
    1. Working with project and item templates
      8m 38s
    2. Creating a console application
      7m 5s
    3. Creating a class library
      6m 26s
    4. Creating a web site with ASP.NET
      7m 37s
    5. Creating a rich internet application with Silverlight
      6m 57s
    6. Creating a classic Windows application with Windows Forms
      10m 31s
    7. Creating a dramatic Windows application with Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
      4m 41s
    8. Creating a WCF service
      9m 1s
    9. Using an existing WCF service
      6m 38s
    10. Navigation UI designs with the Document Outline view
      3m 41s
  8. 33m 18s
    1. Creating a data project with SQL Project
      6m 24s
    2. Clarifying the confusion on .NET Data
      3m 31s
    3. Using ADO.NET in your application
      6m 50s
    4. Creating typed datasets
      7m 55s
    5. Using the data binding tools
      8m 38s
  9. 30m 13s
    1. Debugging code
      9m 32s
    2. Working with the Watch and other debug windows
      7m 46s
    3. Other debugging techniques
      6m 50s
    4. IntelliTrace historical debugging in Visual Studio Ultimate
      6m 5s
  10. 17m 56s
    1. Understanding Visual Studio editions and test tools
      2m 22s
    2. Verifying your code with unit tests
      8m 58s
    3. Running performance and load tests
      6m 36s
  11. 34m 5s
    1. Building your application
      4m 19s
    2. Customizing the build process with MSBuild
      6m 36s
    3. Setting assembly information
      2m 12s
    4. Deploying a basic Windows application
      2m 19s
    5. Creating an installer with Visual Studio
      7m 39s
    6. Creating a ClickOnce application
      5m 13s
    7. Setting up IIS for deploy
      2m 9s
    8. Deploying a Silverlight or ASP.NET application
      3m 38s
  12. 14m 0s
    1. Understanding source control
      2m 9s
    2. Setting up Team Foundation Server source control
      3m 5s
    3. Using Team Foundation Server source control
      8m 46s
  13. 17m 31s
    1. Understanding the .NET Office integration
      4m 16s
    2. Making a Word 2010 application
      7m 54s
    3. Making an Excel 2010 add-in
      5m 21s
  14. 31m 34s
    1. Understanding the extensibility model in Visual Studio
      2m 17s
    2. Adding external tools to the Tools menu
      4m 42s
    3. Creating macros
      7m 16s
    4. Using the Extension Manager
      5m 1s
    5. Creating an MEF add-in
      7m 9s
    6. Deploying and installing an add-in with VSIX
      5m 9s
  15. 25m 34s
    1. Working with configuration files
      5m 37s
    2. Using the Settings Editor
      7m 30s
    3. Using the Resources Editor
      6m 59s
    4. Localizing your resources
      5m 28s
  16. 1m 17s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 17s

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