CS 140 Online

Installing Visual Studio

One of the really cool things about taking CS 140 at OCC is that you don’t have to purchase any software–the taxpayers of the great state of California have seen fit to give you, free-of-charge, gratis, de nada, etc. a copy of the latest-and-greatest version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio .NET 2005. All you need is a computer running Windows XP. (We will also give you a free copy of Windows XP Professional, if you need it, but we won’t buy you a computer; sorry!)

To get your free software, stop by the Clark Computing Center Info Desk, and tell them that you’re enrolled in CS 140. Of course, like most “free” offers, there is a little catch. Fortunately, this one is pretty minor, and doesn’t involve time-shares or contracts. All you have to do, is bring in two blank CDs for every one that we give you. For Visual Studio 2005, for instance, you need to bring in 4 disks, and we’ll give you back two with the official software burned onto it. You can see exactly how many disks you’ll need on the Clark Computing Center’s information page at http://csjava.occ.cccd.edu/msdnaa.html.

With that out of the way, let’s get started installing Visual Studio 2005!

Step 1: Insert Disk 1

I know, I know. Duhhhhh! But, all instructions have to start somewhere. When you first insert the Visual Studio 2005 CD, you’ll be shown the fancy splash screen shown here, and given the opportunity to Install Visual Studio 2005, or View the ReadMe file by clicking the button at the bottom of the screen. As you can see, the rest of the options are greyed out.

Installing Visual Studio Disk 1

Unless you have some great desire to see the ReadMe, just click on the Install link and move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Surrender Your Firstborn

The EULA (End User LIcensing Agreement) dialog is your next step. It’s not quite that bad, but you might just want to carefully read through the licensing agreement, shown here, before you click OK.And, while you do, there are two things you’ll want to keep in mind:

  1. At least you didn’t spend $1,200 and find you still have to sign away your inheritance along with all future theme-park rights to any applications you create.
  2. This is one of those “offers you don’t refuse” situations; if you don’t agree, you can’t use the software. Sorry.

You’ll also need to enter the license key you received when you got your disks. (I believe that this comes with the email that’s mailed to you after you pick up the disks, but check with the Computing Center Help Desk to make sure.)

Step 3: Choose Your Options

If you’re really, really picky, you might want to choose Custom install, and, if you have a gigantica hard drive, and don’t ever want to see those CDs again (good luck with that) you might click on Full. All of us mere mortals, though, will click the Default option.

You can also change the path or drive where the installation goes, if you’re so inclined. I didn’t see any real advantage.

Once you’re done, click the Install button, and move on to Step 4.

Steve Gilbert

Step 4: Let ‘er Rip

There’s nothing to do now, but set back and have a cup of coffee. Or, maybe a pot. When I did the install, it actually took about 4 hours, but that was because I had a very flakey CD-ROM drive. I actually had to copy the disk images off of the installation disks (which were off-balance because of the labels) and copy them onto a set of plain CDRs to get my computer to read them.

If you have a computer built in this millenium, though, the total time for an install seems to be less than half an hour. Enough time for a small pot of coffee, I guess.

Step 5: MSDN

Once the installation is finished, you’ll be given the opportunity to install the Visual Studio Help files, known as MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network library). I almost never install these, since they seem to take up a lot of space on the hard disk, for things that I never use. I’d rather just read the documentation from the ‘Net.

If you have a broadband (Cable/DSL) Internet connection, you can set up Visual Studio so that it searches the MSDN Online site instead of, or in addition to, your local help files. If you use dialup, or, if you prefer not to be connected to the Internet at all (an increasingly wise decision, given the spyware, trojans, rootkits, and general nastiness that is increasingly found there), you can go ahead and install the local files. Since I didn’t, I don’t have a neat picture. Sorry.

Step 6: Configuration

As we go through the semester, we’ll cover many of the configuration items when we need them for the programs we’re working on. There are a few things, though, that you’ll want to do when you first set up your machine.

  1. Choose Your Development Style
    You can, as the accompanying screenshot points out, configure your Visual Studio environment for a specific programming language, such as Visual Basic, C#, C++ or J#, or as a “Web Development” machine. Since you can do this at any time, (using Import and Export Settings from the Tools menu), go ahead and choose General Development Settings for now.
  2. Open the Options Dialog
    The screenshot here shows you what Visual Studio 2005 looks like when you first open it. Before we create our first program, later in this lesson, let’s adjust a couple of settings. Most of the changes you’ll make occur in the Options dialog. To open this dialog, just choose Options from the Tools menu.
  3. Adjust the Projects Path
    When you first install Visual Studio, it creates a default folder for your projects as well as the templates that are used to create your programs. If you want your projects in a different location (like we do in the Computing Center, where the installation location is essentially “read only”) you can change the Visual Studio Projects Location. In the screenshot shown here, you can see that I’ve shortened the path that the installation program uses by default.
    Shorten Visual Studio default path names
  4. Set Your VB Options
    If you’re in CS 142 (VB.NET), then you’ll want to set the VB options to enable Option Explicit and Option Strict. Both of these prevent VB.NET from implicitly declaring variables or converting between types, something it has a habit of doing when you least expect it or appreciate it. You’ll thank me later.
    Turn on Explicit and Strict if you're going to be doing any VB development.
  5. Turn on Line Numbers
    Finally, expand the Text Editor section, click on All Languages, and put a check in the Line Numbers checkbox. Heaven knows why this isn’t checked by default. I can’t imagine seeing my source code without line numbers, especially once your files get fairly large.
    Enable Line Numbers in the text editor

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