Developer .NET UPDATE--Back to Basics--March 3, 2006

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1. Developer .NET Perspectives

  • Back to Basics
  • 2. News

  • SQL Server Magazine Launches Redesigned Web Site
  • 3. Events and Resources

  • Dev Connections Conferences and Expos
  • Collaboration in Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition
  • Rethinking SQL Server Backup and Restore Strategies
  • Achieve High Availability in Real Time
  • 4. Featured White Paper

  • Complying with the PCI Data Security Standard
  • 5. Announcements

  • Exclusive March Offer
  • Windows IT Pro Magazine--SAVE 58%

  • Sponsor: LeftHand Networks

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    1. Developer .NET Perspectives

    by Bill Sheldon, [email protected]

    Back to Basics
    I'm devoting this column to anyone who is just getting started with .NET. I'll introduce you to some basic .NET learning tools as well as provide you with links to resources in which you can get more information.

    Microsoft has done an excellent job of making .NET accessible to everyone. It has provided not only free tools but also a lot of free sample code and other material online. One of the best examples is the combination of Microsoft Express Editions and Starter Kits.

    The Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions provide access to the same compilers that are in the Visual Studio 2005 versions you must pay for. The differences between the Express Editions and the other versions primarily lie in the types of projects you can create. You can download an Express version of Visual Basic (VB), Visual C#, Visual J#, or Visual C++, so you can build Windows applications in the language of choice. If you want to build Web applications, you can download Visual Web Developer 2005 Express Edition. This tool lets you use either VB or Visual C# to create ASP.NET Web sites.

    The Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions are free until November of this year, after which they're supposed to retail for $49 each. You can get more information about these tools at .

    Microsoft also offers the SQL Server 2005 Express Edition (SQL Server Express). Similar to the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions, SQL Server Express is free. However, SQL Server Express will remain a free product.

    If you download one of the Visual Studio 2005 Express Editions, it will offer to install a copy of SQL Server Express. If you accept (and I suggest that you do), SQL Server Express will be installed in a named instance on your machine. A named instance basically means that instead of accessing the database engine through your computer's name or IP address, you need to specify an additional qualifier to your machine name. This qualifier is separated from the machine name with a backslash (\). Thus, after you install SQL Server Express you use


    (where mymachine is your computer's name) to reference your newly installed database for connection purposes. Whether you already have a version of SQL Server installed or want to in the future, the default instance will remain untouched by SQL Server Express. For more information about SQL Server Express, go to

    If you want sample databases for SQL Server Express, you can download the Northwind and pubs databases from the Web page at This Web page also contains a link to the AdventureWorks sample databases, which you can also use with SQL Server Express.

    Like Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE), SQL Server Express doesn't include a management interface. Thus, SQL Server Express can be somewhat difficult to work with. Fortunately, Microsoft has created a baseline management interface called SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) for SQL Server Express. For more information about SSMSE, go to

    As I mentioned previously, Microsoft provides free Starter Kits. Starter kits are sample projects that you can review to see how an actual product works within the tool you've chosen. Each version of Visual Studio 2005--from the Team Suite down to the Express Editions--ships with one or more Starter Kits.

    For example, the Express Editions for VB and Visual C# ship with the same pair of Starter Kits: My Movie Collection and Screen Saver. The Web page at describes these kits. The Express Edition for Visual J# ships with one Starter Kit for a calculator application, which you can read about at

    To access the Starter Kits in the Visual Studio 2005 version you're using, simply select New on the File menu, then select the Starter Kits option. After you select a Starter Kit, Visual Studio 2005 will pull in all the resources, including source code, associated with that kit. For a detailed introduction to Starter Kits, check out the Web page at

    It's possible to extend the default set of Starter Kits. This ability is important because Visual Studio 2005 includes only those Starter Kits that don't require a database. More complex Starter Kits are available on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Web site. For example, additional VB Starter Kits are available at You can find more Visual C# Starter Kits at And additional Starter Kits for Visual Web Developer are obtainable at

    You can even create your own Starter Kit, which you can share with other developers. To learn more about how to create a Starter Kit, go to

    To leverage the free Starter Kits and Express Editions, you can take advantage of free Microsoft Webcasts. For example, this month Microsoft is offering a special Webcast series for developers who are considering migrating to ASP.NET 2.0. You can find information about the ASP.NET 2.0 Webcast series on the Web page at;26540614;12550611;s? This page includes a special offer for a licensed copy of Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition.

    In the ASP.NET 2.0 Webcast series, I'll be presenting a pair of sessions about the login controls and membership features built into ASP.NET 2.0. To find my sessions, click any of the topic areas, then go to the Adv. ASP.NET 2.0 tab in the box near the bottom of the page. My first presentation is "Introduction to the Authentication and Membership Controls of ASP.NET 2.0" at 9 AM (PST) on March 14. My second presentation is "Digging Into the Customization of ASP.NET 2.0 Authentication and Membership" at 10 AM (PST) on March 16.

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    2. News

    (brought to you by SQL Server Magazine)

    SQL Server Magazine Launches Redesigned Web Site
    In response to reader requests and feedback, SQL Server Magazine launched a redesign of its Web site. The site, a popular resource for SQL Server professionals, features a complete article archive; SQL Server event and community information; an active forum community; and links to ebooks, white papers, FAQs, special reports, and downloads of interest to DBAs, database developers, and business intelligence professionals.

    The site's new design strives to address the needs that readers have expressed over the past several months. In addition to providing a cleaner layout and improved navigation, site developers have worked to improve search capabilities so that readers can get SQL Server-specific results to their queries. SQL Server Magazine Technical Editor Diana May said, "We wanted a cleaner separation from the resources of our sister publication, Windows IT Pro, to recognize the distinct, unique needs of the SQL Server community."

    May emphasized that the magazine will continue to respond to reader feedback about the site. She encourages readers to visit the site and send feedback directly to her at [email protected]

    3. Events and Resources

    (brought to you by SQL Server Magazine)

    Dev Connections Conferences and Expos
    Dev Connections provides world-class education for developers, architects, DBAs, and IT professionals:

  • WinConnections (2 conferences for the price of 1): April 9-12, 2006, Orlando, Florida,
  • DevConnections (4 conferences for the price of 1): April 2-5, 2006, Orlando, Florida,
  • DevConnections Europe coming to Nice, France, April 24-27, 2006. EARLY BIRD SPECIAL ends 1 March!
  • Collaboration in Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition
    Learn why new features in Windows Server 2003 R2, including large clustering, increased RAM, and 64-bit support, make it the ideal platform for your collaboration tools. Live event: March 28; 12:00 pm EST

    Rethinking SQL Server Backup and Restore Strategies
    Learn how to leverage new features in SQL Server 2005 to extend your existing backup and restore capabilities. View the on-demand Web seminar now!

    Achieve High Availability in Real Time
    Implement real-time processes in your email and data systems--you could also win an iPod Nano!

    4. Featured White Paper

    Complying with the PCI Data Security Standard
    Get the tips you need to prepare for and comply with the PCI Data Security Standard, including how to define the 12 major requirements and how those requirements affect IT.

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    5. Announcements

    (brought to you by SQL Server Magazine)

    Exclusive March Offer
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    Windows IT Pro Magazine--SAVE 58%
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    Contact Us

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  • About sponsoring an UPDATE -- contact Richard Resnick, [email protected], or Lisa Kling, [email protected]
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