Lesson 5 - Working with Projects in Visual Studio

Tutorial Series: Free C# Fundamentals via ASP.NET Web Apps

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In this lesson, we'll talk about working with Solutions and Projects, as well as the relationship between the two concepts. You will learn how to find your Projects and Solutions on your hard drive so that you can continue working with them at a later date. This lesson will also explain how to unzip the source code provided for this course, intended to be used as a comparison between the work you’ve done with the example code in the lessons.

When you re-open Visual Studio, you will notice that the last project you were working on is available via a quick-link, under the heading titled “Recent”:

As you create more projects, this list will grow and push older projects off of the list. You can pin important projects to keep them from being removed from the list by clicking the pin icon that appears when you hover your cursor over the project name.

You can also access your recent projects by accessing the Visual Studio menu:

File > Recent Projects and Solutions

If your Project is no longer visible in your list of recent Projects, you can locate it by manually searching through your Visual Studio projects folder:

File > Open > Project/Solution

You can see from these screenshots that the default location for a Project on your drive is under the C: drive located in the Projects folder of Visual Studio. To find this folder, navigate to:

C: > Users > (Your Username) > Documents > Visual Studio 2015 > Projects

To better describe the relationship between Solutions and Projects, go ahead and open the “MyFirstWebApp” Project that you worked on in the previous lesson. As alluded to previously, a Solution (1) is the upper-most part of a hierarchy tree of references, which can include one or more projects (2):


It may not appear immediately obvious why anyone would want more than one project per solution. However, when dealing with application architecture it’s sometimes beneficial to separate out code based on individual responsibility. In this scenario, you could create different code modules (Projects), each handling a specific responsibility within the context of the broader Solution in general. More on this later.

Tip Here is how to think of the entire Solution hierarchy. Solutions contain Projects, while Projects contain files, settings, and assets, that will create a .NET Assembly once Compiled.

Returning, once again, to the file structure relating to your Solution/Project on your hard drive, you will notice within the Projects folder, there are folders for one or more Solutions (such as MyFirstWebApp). And inside of a Solution folder are a Solution file, which as a .sln file extension, and one or more Project files. Each solution file can contain multiple projects, all of which are compiled together at runtime. Inside of the Solution file is information and settings related to which projects belong to this solution.

There's also a hidden file that can be viewed if your Windows Explorer is set to Show All Hidden Files. This is a solution user options file (.suo), and it is used by Visual Studio to put the Solution Explorer back into the state in which the user last left it. For now, you can ignore this file.

By default, your Solution will be named the same as your first Project, which can be confusing at first. Inside of your Solution folder, you'll have a Project folder that will be named the same thing, but it is separate. Inside of the Project file, you will see several files and folders that correspond to those found in the Solution Explorer within Visual Studio. For example, the Default.aspx and Default.aspx.cs files.

Also inside the Project folder are folders you cannot see inside the Solution Explorer, such as the 'bin' folder. If you open that up, you will see a .dll file that represents a .NET Assembly that is created whenever you run your app in your web browser.

The final item to note within the Project folder is the MyFirstWebApp.csproj file, which is a C# Project file. Just as the Solution file keeps track of which projects need to be compiled at runtime, the Project file keeps track of all the settings and files that need to be compiled to run the Project successfully.

Finally, you'll need to learn how to extract and run the provided code contained in .zip files. For example, the code for this lesson is called 'CS-005_Code.zip'. Moving forward, the code contained in these files will be used to compare the code that Bob writes with what you create.

To unzip the file, right-click on it and select 'Extract All'. This will open a dialogue that allows you to choose a location for the extracted files. Click the Browse button and navigate to:

This PC > Documents > Visual Studio 2015 > Projects

With the Projects folder selected, click Extract. This will put the sample code folder into Visual Studio's Projects folder, and allow you to open the .sln file just as you did with the MyFirstWebApp.sln. Note: Sometimes the file name of the provided code may conflict with your own Project file. In this case, rename the provided code and then extract as described above.

With this knowledge of how to navigate through your Solutions and Projects, as well as how to extract code files in order to use them with Visual Studio, you can now move on with this course and begin to create your own Projects.

Related Articles in this Tutorial:

Lesson 1 - Series Introduction

Lesson 2 - Installing Visual Studio 2015

Lesson 3 - Building Your First Web App

Lesson 4 - Understanding What You Just Did

Lesson 5 - Working with Projects in Visual Studio

Lesson 6 - Simple Web Page Formatting in Visual Studio

Challenge 1

Solution 1

Lesson 7 - Variables and Data Types

Lesson 8 - Data Type Conversion

Lesson 9 - Arithmetic Operators

Lesson 10 - C# Syntax Basics

Challenge 2 - ChallengeSimpleCalculator

Solution - ChallengeSimpleCalculator

Lesson 11 - Conditional If Statements

Lesson 12 - The Conditional Ternary Operator

Challenge 3 - ChallengeConditionalRadioButton

Solution - Challenge Conditional RadioButton

Lesson 13 - Comparison and Logical Operators

Lesson 13 Challenge - First Papa Bob's Website

Solution - Challenge First Papa Bob's Website

Lesson 14 - Working with Dates and Times

Lesson 15 - Working With Spans of Time

Lesson 16 - Working with the Calendar Server Control

Challenge 4 - Challenge Days Between Dates

Solution - Challenge Days Between Dates

Lesson 17 - Page_Load and Page.IsPostBack

Lesson 18 - Setting a Break Point and Debugging

Lesson 19 - Formatting Strings

Challenge 5 - Challenge Epic Spies Assignment

Solution - Challenge Epic Spies Assignment

Lesson 20 - Maintaining State with ViewState

Lesson 21 - Storing Values in Arrays

Lesson 22 - Understanding Multidimensional Arrays

Lesson 23 - Changing the Length of an Array

Challenge 6 - Challenge Epic Spies Asset Tracker

Solution - Challenge Epic Spies Asset Tracker

Lesson 24 - Understanding Variable Scope

Lesson 25 - Code Blocks and Nested If Statements

Lesson 26 - Looping with the For Iteration Statement

Challenge 7 - Challenge For Xmen Battle Count

Solution - Challenge For Xmen Battle Count

Lesson 27 - Looping with the while() & do...while() Iteration Statements

Lesson 28 - Creating and Calling Simple Helper Methods

Lesson 29 - Creating Methods with Input Parameters

Lesson 30 - Returning Values from Methods

Lesson 31 - Creating Overloaded Methods

Lesson 32 - Creating Optional Parameters

Lesson 33 - Creating Names Parameters

Lesson 34 - Creating Methods with Output Parameters

Challenge 8 - Challenge Postal Calculator Helper Methods

Solution - Challenge Postal Calculator Helper Methods

Mega Challenge Casino

Solution - Mega Challenge Casino

Lesson 35 - Manipulating Strings

Challenge 9 - Phun With Strings

Solution - Challenge Phun With Strings

Lesson 36 - Introduction to Classes and Objects

Challenge - Hero Monster Classes Part 1

Solution - Hero Monster Classes Part 1

Challenge - Hero Monster Classes Part 2

Solution - Challenge Hero Monster Classes Part 2

Lesson 37 - Creating Class Files Creating Cohesive Classes and Code Navigation

Lesson 38 - Understanding Object References and Object Lifetime

Lesson 39 - Understanding the .NET Framework and Compilation

Lesson 40 - Namespaces and Using Directives

Lesson 41 - Creating Class Libraries and Adding References to Assemblies

Lesson 42 - Accessibility Modifiers, Fields and Properties

Lesson 43 - Creating Constructor Methods

Lesson 44 - Naming Conventions for Identifiers

Lesson 45 - Static vs Instance Members

Challenge 10 - Challenge Simple Darts

Solution - Challenge Simple Darts

Lesson 46 - Working with the List Collection

Lesson 47 - Object Initializers

Lesson 48 - Collection Initializers

Lesson 49 - Working with the Dictionary Collection

Lesson 50 - Looping with the foreach Iteration Statement

Lesson 51 - Implicitly-Typed Variables with the var Keyword

Challenge 11 - Challenge Student Courses

Solution - Challenge Student Courses

Mega Challenge War

Solution - Mega Challenge War

Lesson 52 - Creating GUIDs

Lesson 53 - Working with Enumerations

Lesson 54 - Understanding the switch() Statement

Lesson 55 - First Pass at the Separation of Concerns Principle

Lesson 56 - Understanding Exception Handling

Lesson 57 - Understanding Global Exception Handling

Lesson 58 - Understanding Custom Exceptions

Lesson 59 - Creating a Database in Visual Studio

Lesson 60 - Creating an Entity Data Model

Lesson 61 - Displaying the DbSet Result in an ASP.NET GridView

Lesson 62 - Implementing a Button Command in a GridView

Lesson 63 - Using a Tools-Centric Approach to Building a Database Application

Lesson 64 - Using a Maintenance-Driven Approach to Building a Database Application

Lesson 65 - Creating a New Instance of an Entity and Persisting it to the Database

Lesson 66 - Package Management with NuGet

Lesson 67 - NuGet No-Commit Workflow

Lesson 68 - Introduction the Twitter Bootstrap CSS Framework

Lesson 69 - Mapping Enum Types to Entity Properties in the Framework Designer

Lesson 70 - Deploying the App to Microsoft Azure Web Services Web Apps

Papa Bob's Mega Challenge

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 1 - Setting up the Solution

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 2 - Adding an Order to the Database

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 3 - Passing an Order from the Presentation Layer

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 4 - Creating the Order Form

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 5 - Adding Enums

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 6 - Creating an Order with Validation

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 7 - Calculating the Order Price

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 8 - Displaying the Price to the User

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 9 - Creating the Order Management Page


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