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What is desktop development? (overview)

Desktop development is a broad term for the process of writing software that will run on standard computers including your desktop, laptop, or general purpose computer. The software being developed could be system software to help your operating system or application software. Application software is designed to perform a single or a related set of tasks, and includes things like games, word processors, and customized applications for enterprises.

1 fundamentals  

Watch this video about Microsoft desktop development offerings, and then prepare your environment by installing the tools you'll use to build your first desktop application.

play video

Video | 10 minutes | Desktop Development | June 2010

Client development for Windows involves three main models: Native C++ for programming directly to the Windows APIs, .NET managed code with Win Forms or Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and .NET managed code with Silverlight for rapid application development. You can write to each of these programming environments and others with Visual Studio – Microsoft's integrated development environment (IDE). The video will explain when to choose one programming environment over another.

Objective: Get a solid foundation on desktop development.

2 get the tools  

Select one of the following programs to install:

download download download

For help picking the right version of Visual Studio, review the Visual Studio 2010 comparison chart.
For more information about team development, read about Application Lifecycle Management.

3 start coding  

Download the sample code, then follow along with these videos to get started coding right away.

play video

Video | 16 minutes | Win32 | June 2010

Win32 is an application programming interface (API) used to create all types of Windows applications. Win32 provides services (like access to files) and user interface elements (like drawing and getting input from dialog boxes) to your applications. Applications that are written on Win32 get access to the broadest set of Windows features.

Next: Learn more about C++ development

Get the code for this project   C++

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Video | 16 minutes | MFC | June 2010

Microsoft Foundation Class Library (MFC) wraps the Win32 APIs so that they can be more seamlessly used with C++ applications. MFC and C++ together provide a great balance of rapid application development and deep control over the platform for experienced developers.

Next: Learn more about MFC classes

Get the code for this project   C++

play video

Video | 30 minutes | WPF | June 2010

WPF is a programming interface used to create graphical applications on Windows. WPF, a component of the Microsoft .NET Framework 4, provides facilities to build user interfaces that employ media, documents, hardware acceleration, vector graphics, scalability to different form factors, integration with Windows, interactive data visualization, and superior content readability.

Next: Learn more about WPF

Get the code for this project   C#   VB

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Video | 34 minutes | Silverlight | June 2010

Silverlight is a programming interface that is used to create graphical applications that run on the web or on Windows. Silverlight, a component of the Microsoft .NET Framework 4, provides facilities to build interactive user experiences for web, desktop, and mobile applications that employ webcam, microphone, and printing when online or offline.

Next: Learn more about Silverlight

Get the code for this project   C#   VB


Developer Topics

C++: Get started developing with Visual C++
Learn more about Visual C++ and how to develop Windows-based and .NET-based applications.

Windows 7: Get started developing applications
Learn about how to develop and integrate your applications with Windows 7 shell features.

WPF and Windows Forms for the Desktop
Read about the differences between WPF and Windows Forms, and find links to further training.

Silverlight Out of Browser for the Desktop
Learn how to write Silverlight applications that run on the desktop.

LightSwitch: Get started building business applications
Learn how you can quickly create professional-quality business applications, regardless of your development skills.

C# and .NET for Java Developers
Read this article to get an introduction to C# and Visual Studio for Java developers.


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Pro Business Applications with Silverlight 4
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