I haven’t written a short hint or trick fro Visual Studio in a while but I ran into one tonight that I just had to share. Traditionally creating a splash screen has been a good bit of work, even in Visual Basic. First one had to create the form which while not difficult could be tedious. Then one had to create a startup module that would load and later unload the splash screen with appropriate timing. The startup module would then make sure the main or real startup form was loaded. Yuck.
Ah but with Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Basic Express 2005 all this has changed. First off there is a splash screen form already defined. So step one is select the Project menu and pick Add New Window. There you will see and select the Splash Screen template. Give it a useful name and click Add. Once the form opens you can easily change the text properties for the display text and change the Image in the background panel.
Next step and the final step is to right click on the project in the Solution Explorer (or open the Project menu) and select Properties. Near the bottom of the window that opens there is an drop down list that lets you select a form to be used as a splash screen. Choose the form you want and you are all done. Build and run the program to see your splash screen in action.
That’s it. No writing of code is required. No special code only modules. No tricking timing issues to manual work out. The IDE does the hard stuff for you. Unless you want to get fancy with the contents of the splash screen you can probably get it all running in well under a minute. You’ll probably spend more time making the screen look pretty than anything else.
With it this easy I would be tempted to require a splash screen that identifies the student author on student projects. It would be nice to have that quick reminder of whose program I was grading.