Chapter 1. Solutions and Projects

The first product Microsoft ever built was a Basic interpreter for the Altair 8800 personal computer,[1] so they've had a lot of years to perfect their development tools. That time has not been wasted. Visual Studio .NET is the culmination of more than a decade of work on Visual C++, Visual Basic, Visual InterDev, and Visual J++. In this chapter, we will introduce the foundation of all VS.NET-based software development: solutions and projects. Everything that you do with VS.NET will revolve around these two concepts, so a sound understanding of these is central to making effective use of this tool.

[1] See

To build anything with Visual Studio .NET, you need to use a solution, and that solution must contain at least one project. Solutions are the containers for all your work in VS.NET. A solution contains a project for each build output. (For example, if you want to build a DLL, an EXE, and an MSI Installer file, your solution will contain three projects.) Projects themselves contain source files. In this chapter, you will learn the ins and outs of solutions and projects and how to use them as effectively as possible.