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Joel on Software

where to start

Hi guys,
Forgive me for using high-level minds for such a question, but I'm trying to find my way quick. I'm a longtime client/server developer. I want to get familiar with .Net but the Microsoft/download site does not give me a clear "start with this software" for setting up. I set .Net server, .Net framework, .Net Visual studio, etc. Can anyone give me a shopping list for setting up a local/personal environment for doing basic intro development with .Net? I have MSSQL Server 7 set up for the database side. Get me oriented please. Any at-work development I may end up doing would be web front-ends against Sybase/SQL Server. Thanks much,
j.thomas, L.A. CA

john p. thomas
Monday, November 04, 2002

Find the Dotnet SDD, download it, and install it.  I'd go buy textpad, (or whatever text editor you like), and start following one of their quickstart guides.  The SDK has a couple sample applications, a ton of useful code snipets and a ton of other cool stuff.
  It comes with the free C# and compiler.  This should be enough to get you started and then some.

Vincent Marquez
Monday, November 04, 2002

If you want to develop web front-ends with .net, go to and look at their tutorials. That's one way to get started with the .NET framework.

There's even a free IDE to download for writing applications.

Big B
Monday, November 04, 2002

Some thoughts:

1) The .NET Framework SDK does indeed have everything you need to get started with .NET, including the command-line compilers and a set of Quickstart Tutorials. However, one warning: installing the tutorials is going to require installing MSDE 2000, which could cause problems with your SQL Server installation.

2) While you *can* get started from the command-line compilers, for serious development you're going to find the VS .NET IDE well worth the money. $100 will get you in at the basic level.

3) The free "Web Matrix" compiler from is a nice toy, BUT it uses old-style inline code. This will deprive you of one of the key benefits of ASP.NET, the separation of code and markup into separate files. Again, getting VS .NET is a better bet here.

4) You'll find lots of samples scattered around the Web. The site is good, as is .

Mike Gunderloy
Monday, November 04, 2002

>> 2) While you *can* get started from the command-line compilers, for serious development you're going to find the VS .NET IDE well worth the money. $100 will get you in at the basic level. <<

I don't think this is true anymore. I believe the VS.NET IDE deal ran out at the end of September. I wanted to buy a copy in early October and found that Microsoft's promotion was over. If you know where VS.NET Pro can be found for this price, let us know.

But, since Everett (VS.NET 1.1) should be released soon, perhaps they'll bring the promo back.

Nick Hebb
Monday, November 04, 2002

VB.NET Standard or VC# .NET Standard have enough bits to get you started with ASP.NET applications, though they lack some of the more advanced features - that's the $99 edition I was speaking of.

Another useful resource/roadmap: the MSDN six-week series guide at

Mike Gunderloy
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

If you're using C# and don't want to shell out money for VS.Net, there's a free C# IDE called #develop at

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I'm using the SharpDevelop (#D) 0.91 Beta now.  It's a nice tool for free.  There are a few bugs - but none I haven't been able to work around.

I haven't tried / previewed the standalone Visual C# product yet, so I don't know if the $99 price tag is worth it given #D is free.  Also, I don't think it provides you with any discount if you go on to buy the full VS suite.

Personally, I'm going to hold off on buying VS for a while in hopes that the rebate offer will return.

Nick Hebb
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

IMO, the "Standard" editions of VB.NET and C# are pretty much worthless for serious development. This isn't much of an issue for me, as I get an MSDN subscription @work, but a lot of things are missing from them.

Dave Rothgery
Tuesday, November 05, 2002

I agree complete that the Standard Editions of VS.NET are useless. You can't create Assemblies (DLLs) or User Controls.  They're nice for learning the language(s) though.

Andrew Lewis
Wednesday, November 06, 2002

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