Working with Visual Web Developer

Welcome to Visual Web Developer. Visual Web Developer is a full-featured development environment for creating ASP.NET Web applications (which are simply called "Web sites"). Visual Web Developer offers you the following features:

  • Web page design   A powerful Web page editor that includes WYSIWYG editing and an HTML editing mode with IntelliSense and validation.

  • Page design features   Consistent site layout with master pages and consistent page appearance with themes and skins.

  • Code editing   A code editor that enables you to write code for your dynamic Web pages in Visual Basic or C#. The code editor includes syntax coloration and IntelliSense.

  • Debugging   A debugger that helps you find errors in your programs.

  • Controls   An extensive suite of ASP.NET Web server controls that incorporate much of the functionality you need for creating Web sites.

  • Data access   Support for displaying and editing data in your Web pages. The data can be in a variety of data stores, including databases or XML files. In many cases, you can add data display and editing to your Web pages without writing any code.

  • Security, personalization, and more   Built-in application services that enable you to add membership for login security to your site, profile properties that enable you to maintain user-specific information, and other features, most without requiring any code.

  • Development for hosted sites   Tools for publishing sites to your hosting site, including a local Web server for testing.

Local Development for Hosted Sites

Visual Web Developer provides an ideal environment in which to build Web sites and then publish them to a hosting site. Using the development tools in Visual Web Developer, you can develop ASP.NET Web pages on your own computer. Visual Web Developer includes a local Web server that provides all the features you need to test and debug ASP.NET Web pages, without requiring Internet Information Services (IIS) to be installed.

When your site is ready, you can publish it to the host computer using the built-in Copy Web tool, which transfers your files when you are ready to share them with others. Alternatively, you can precompile and deploy a Web site by using the Build Web Site command. The Build Web Site command runs the compiler over the entire Web site (not just the code files) and produces a Web site layout that you can deploy to a production server.


The Build Web Site feature is not available in Visual Web Developer Express Edition.

Finally, you can take advantage of the built-in support for File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Using the FTP capabilities of Visual Web Developer, you can connect directly to the host computer and then create and edit files on the server.

Exploring Visual Web Developer

To learn more about creating dynamic Web sites with Visual Web Developer, see the following resources:

  • The How Do I in Visual Web Developer page, which provides a directory of links to "what's new" topics, how-to topics, and walkthrough topics that are associated with Visual Web Developer. 

  • The ASP.NET 2.0 Starter Kits for Visual Web Developer are complete Web sites that you can use with minor customization for your own site. These starter kits show you creative ways to use the features of Visual Web Developer to create professional, functional Web sites. To use a starter kit, create a new Web site and select the starter kit that you want. Visual Web Developer comes packaged with the Personal Web Site Starter Kit, which creates a Web site that includes your latest news, a photo album, and other features. For more information, see Visual Web Developer Starter Kits.

If you need assistance while working with Visual Web Developer, you can refer to the online Help. The Help system can be extended to take advantage of online information resources as well.

See Also

Other Resources

Visual Web Developer