All the project types supported by Visual Studio are displayed on the New Project dialog box, and they’re the following:


A class library is a basic code-building component, which has no visible interface and adds specific functionality to your project. A class is a collection of functions that will be used in other projects beyond the current one. With classes, however, you don’t have to distribute source code. Class libraries are equivalent to ActiveX DLL and ActiveX EXE project types of VB6.


A Windows control (or simply control), such as a TextBox or Button, is a basic element of the user interface. If the controls that come with Visual Basic don’t provide the functionality you need, you can build your own custom controls. Custom controls can be created for very specific operations to simplify the development of large applications in a team environment.


A Console application is an application with a very limited user interface. Console applications are DOS-like applications. This type of application displays its output on a Command Prompt window and receives input from the same window.


A Windows service is a new name for the old NT services, and they’re long running applications that don’t have a visible interface. These services can be started automatically when the computer is turned on, paused, and restarted. An application that monitors and reacts to changes in the file system is a prime candidate for implementing as a Windows service. When users upload files to a specific folder, the Windows service might initiate some processing (copy the file, read its contents and update a database, and so on).


Web applications are among the most exciting new features of Visual Studio. A Web application is an app that resides on a Web server and services requests made through a browser. An online bookstore, for example, is a Web application. The application that runs on the Web server must accept requests made by a client (a remote computer with a browser) and return its responses to the requests in the form of HTML pages.


Just as you can build custom Windows controls to use with your Windows forms, you can create custom Web controls to use with your Web pages. Such web controls can be utilized in different ASP applications.


A Web service is not the equivalent of a Windows service. A Web service is a program that resides on a Web server and services requests, just like a Web application, but it doesn’t return an HTML page. Instead, it returns the result of a calculation or a database lookup. Requests to Web services are usually made by another server, which is responsible for processing the data. A Web application that accepts a query for all VB books published by Sybex will return a HTML page with the results. A Web service that accepts the same query will return an XML (Extensible Markup Language) file with the results. The file will be used by the application that made the request to prepare a new page and send it to the client, or to populate a Windows form.


A Visual Basic application, called a solution, can consist of one or more projects. Each project can contain one or more form files in it. Files are:


The solution file. A text file that holds information about the solution and the project it contains. This is primary file for the solution, the one that you open to work on or run your project.


Solution user options file. Stores information about the selected options, so that all customization can be restored each time you open the solution.


A .vb file holds the definition of a form, its controls, and code procedures. This is a text file that you can open in any editor.


A resource file for the form. This text file defines all resources used by the form, including strings of text, numbers, and any graphics.


A project file. A text file that describes the project and lists the files that are included in the project.


The project user option file. This text file holds project options settings, so that the next time you want to open the project, all selected options will be restored.


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