Chapter 1 – Introduction to .NET

Every six or seven years Microsoft makes a quantum leap in technology. In February of 2002 that quantum leap was .NET. What is .NET and what does it mean for Visual FoxPro developers? This chapter provides an overview of .NET, the .NET Framework and languages, and helps explain why you should investigate .NET for your software development projects.

Chapter 2 - Visual Studio .NET

Visual Studio .NET is the latest incarnation of Microsoft’s suite of software development tools. The VS .NET team has done a great job providing a top-notch experience for the developer regardless of the .NET language they use. This chapter takes you on a tour of VS .NET, familiarizing you with its features so you can get up and running quickly.

Chapter 3 – Introduction to C#

Some developers are “afraid” of C# because C-based languages have a reputation for being advanced, and thus difficult to learn and use. This chapter aims to dispel any misgivings you might have by providing a side-by-side comparison of C# and Visual FoxPro—you’ll be amazed at their similarities. It helps you leverage your knowledge of Visual FoxPro in learning the basics of C#.

Chapter 4 – Introduction to Visual Basic. NET

Many Visual FoxPro developers have an aversion to anything that bears the name “Visual Basic”. This chapter aims to help you look past this prejudice and take a fresh look at the new incarnation of Visual Basic—VisualBasic .NET. As you read this side-by-side comparison of Visual FoxPro and VisualBasic .NET, you’ll see that Visual Basic has grown up and is a first-class citizen alongside C# and C++.

Chapter 5 – Object Orientation in C# and Visual Basic .NET

This chapter provides a look at object orientation in .NET by means of a side-by-side comparison of C# and VB.NET’s object-oriented features. It also compares Visual FoxPro’s object-orientation to that of the .NET languages and shows a number of advanced object-oriented features that are not currently available in Visual FoxPro.

Chapter 6 – Tour of the .NET Base Classes

Although there is a lot of heat generated in arguments regarding which .NET programming language is easier to use and learn, ultimately THE biggest learning curve is not C# or Visual Basic .NET—it’s the .NET Framework. This chapter takes you on a tour of some of the more interesting and useful namespaces and classes and shows you how you can use them in your applications.

Chapter 7 – Data Access with ADO.NET

To a Visual FoxPro developer, one of the most important aspects of a software development product is data access. This chapter shows you how to use Microsoft’s new universal data access technology, ADO.NET, to access and manipulate a wide variety of data—including VFP data. Since there are a number of different ways you can access data from ADO.NET, this chapter also provides information on best practices for data access. In addition, it also compares Visual FoxPro’s new xCursor technology to ADO.NET.

Chapter 8 - .NET Business Objects

The VFP community has known about the importance of business objects for several years now. They continue to be extremely important in all types of .NET applications including Web Forms, Window Forms and Web Services. This chapter explains what business objects are, why you should use them and how you to implement them in .NET.

Chapter 9 – Building .NET Windows Applications

Microsoft has placed a tremendous emphasis on .NET being a platform to create, consume, and deploy XML Web Services. I think this is a mistake. It has caused many developers among the uninitiated to believe that .NET is only for building applications that access the Internet. I’ve heard the question over and over again: “Why should I use .NET when I’m not creating applications that access the Internet”? This chapter aims to dispel this notion.

Chapter 10 – Building Web Applications with ASP.NET

If you’ve never created a Web application before because you didn’t have time to climb the learning curve, this could be your big chance. This chapter shows how you can put to use everything you learned in the previous chapter about building Windows Forms applications (plus a few extra twists) into building ASP.NET Web Applications. It also demonstrates how you can reuse the business objects created in the previous chapter by taking you step-by-step through the process of creating an ASP.NET Web Application.

Chapter 11 - .NET XML

XML has taken the software world by storm. Everything from configuration files, Visual FoxPro and databases (such as SQL Server) to Microsoft Office, and Web Services have the ability to work with XML. In many ways, the .NET Framework was built with XML in mind. This chapter discusses incorporating XML into your .NET applications and also provides an overview of XML base classes for reading, writing and manipulating XML.

Chapter 12 – XML Web Services

According to Microsoft, XML Web Services is what .NET is all about. This chapter provides a brief overview of XML Web Services, then provides step-by-step instructions for creating your first .NET Web service, and shows how to consume it and other XML Web Services in .NET.

Chapter 13 – Error Handling and Debugging in .NET

Error handling in .NET is quite a bit different than error handling found in previous versions of VFP. However, both .NET and Visual FoxPro 8 have try…catch…finally blocks that provide a far more powerful, and flexible way to handle errors in your application. This chapter also discusses Visual Studio .NET’s debugging tools. As you’ll see, many are similar to Visual FoxPro’s; some are better, and some aren not!

Chapter 14 - .NET Security

One of the important features of .NET is its advanced security capabilities. This chapter discusses the built-in security features of .NET, including assemblies, code groups, permissions and security policies and shows you how to make use of these in your desktop and Internet applications.

Chapter 15 – Interoperability with Visual FoxPro

There’s no need to lose the time and money you have invested in your Visual FoxPro code. This chapter shows you how to make the best use of your existing Visual FoxPro applications by accessing them from .NET. It also turns the tables and shows you how to access .NET from within Visual FoxPro.