“You have to practice improvisation, let no one kid you about it!” -- Art Tatum
Here at Eggheadcafe.com we get lots of forum posts asking questions about various aspects of ADO.NET data access. Usually the tone is "How do I . . " and the question is some variation on the basic theme of getting data, modifying data, handling data, and updating or deleting data. Almost without exception, the answer is easy to find right in the Quickstarts and / or Samples that come both with Visual Studio.NET and with the .NET Framework SDK. So I thought it would be productive to "bite the ADO.NET bullet" and provide a short tutorial on how to get this information, and install the Quickstarts / Samples.
The .NET Framework SDK includes QuickStarts tutorials and Samples that demonstrate .NET Framework features and Visual C# / Visual Basic.NET code. If you install the samples with the .NET Framework SDK, you can find them at the following path:
\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003\FrameworkSDK\Samples
for .NET Framework 2.0 with Visual Studio.NET 2005, the location is:
\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 8\SDK\v2.0\QuickStart
If you do not want to install the samples on your computer, you can browse the Samples folder in the .NET Framework SDK installation directory on the product CD or DVD.
The QuickStart Tutorials are the fastest way to understand what .NET Framework technology offers. The QuickStarts are a series of samples and supporting documentation designed to quickly acquaint you with the syntax, architecture, and power of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework.
To access the QuickStarts
- Click the Windows Start button.
- Point to Programs.
- Point to Microsoft .NET Framework SDK version 1.1, or 2.0 if using .NET Framework 2.0
- Click Samples and QuickStart Tutorials.
The main page of the "Microsoft .NET Framework SDK QuickStarts, Tutorials and Samples" application will appear. Follow the instructions and click the link that looks just like wnat you see below, "Set up the QuickStarts". This points to the "ConfigSamples.exe" executable that will install and configure Quickstarts for you.
Set up the QuickStarts
Because the QuickStarts demonstrate a wide variety of the .NET Framework technologies, some machine configuration is required. The Quickstart Configuration Wizard installs SQL Server Express, imports four sample databases into SQL Server Express, creates several Internet Information Services (IIS) virtual directories, and compiles the SDK Quickstart samples.
In order to complete these operations, you must be logged in using an account with Administrator privileges. For a complete list of tasks accomplished in this step, including manual instructions for configuring the QuickStarts, see the Configuration Details document.
To run the samples, follow the directions to install the samples database and complete the installation. After you have installed the QuickStarts, the "QuickStarts Tutorials" link will be live.
The QuickStart tutorials include samples on the ASP.NET and Windows Forms applications, in addition to many how-to applications that cover the most compelling features of the .NET Framework technology. Data Access is covered very nicely.
The Quickstarts Web application is also hosted online at websites, including the ASP.NET site here for version 2.0. Version 1.1 Quickstarts are also hosted here and at a number of other places. If you do not see the Quickstarts link on your Start menu and you are using Visual Studio.NET, this means you did not choose the Quickstarts option in the isntallation "Tree". You'll need to re-run the Visual Studio.Net Install wizard and select this option to have Setup install it for you.
Quick Technology Finder. This is a page on MSDN that provides broad category "start page" links to various .NET technologies. It is also a good place to start your "Self-tutorial" efforts. It has an "ADO.NET" Link to a whole section on ADO.NET that's loaded with sample code snippets. All you have to do is decide to take the time to "RTFM". When I first started learning the .NET Framework, I made a folder on my Hard Drive "DotNetSourceStuff", and every time I found a code snippet that illustrated something I thought I might need later, I'd throw it in there. This folder now contains over 36MB of "stuff" I've saved. When I am looking for something, Windows Desktop Search often tells me that its in that folder!
Take the time to install and study the Quickstarts and Samples. The people at Microsoft put a lot of time and effort into making these offerings well-designed and feature complete. You'll thank us later!
And, of course, if you have a specific question that is not covered in the Quickstarts or Samples the next step is twofold:
1) Use the Eggheadcafe.com Search link at the top menubar from any eggheadcafe.com page.
2) Make a post to one of our forum threads with an appropriately constructed SUBJECT.