Interactive Simulation for Visual Studio .NET Beginners

With the launch of the Java Developer Resource Center, we've added a new way for developers who have never programmed using Visual Studio .NET before to try without installing the product.  The simulations, created by Learnit Corp,  are ActiveX controls that provide a guided tour (with audio) through creating your first XML Web service, Web application and Mobile Web application.

These are for true beginners to Visual Studio .NET, so experienced readers will think the content is too simplistic, but I'd like to know what you think about the technology medium, see questions below. 

Why did we want to do this?
Everyone that tries Visual Studio .NET really thinks it's a superior product from a developer productivity perspective.  The difficult part is that before you can write your first “Hello World“ application, you need to go through a long, potentially multi-gigabyte installation. Once Visual Studio .NET is installed, a lot of time you don't even know where to start and you can be a bit overwhelmed. In fact, we created a Getting Started page for just this reason.  Since the interactive guide holds your hand through the exercises, you'll know exactly what to do to get your first application up and running.

Questions for you 
Do you like interactive simulations as a way to try out a new product? Would you want more of these on deeper, more in-depth technology, or do you prefer non-interactive videos a la MSDN TV?  If we did these for Visual Studio 2005, what topics would you want us to cover?

Take them for a test drive

Step 1: Build Web Service
In step 1, you create an XML Web service that retrieves a list of customers from the Customers table in the Northwind database.  Notice that there are arrows and text (along with the audio) to guide developers through creating the application.

Step 2: Build an ASP.NET Web Application
In step 2, you add a reference to the XML Web service from step 1, and bind the data from the Web service to a DataGrid.

Step 3: Build a Mobile Web Application

In the final step, you create a mobile Web application that calls the Web service from step 1 and you see how Visual Studio will intelligently render HTML and WML using Mobile Web controls.


Comments (8)
  1. me says:

    Questions for you:

    Do you like interactive simulations as a way to try out a new product?

    Not particularly; I’d rather test fully functional products (even if they are several gigabytes in size).

    Would you want more of these on deeper, more in-depth technology, or do you prefer non-interactive videos a la MSDN TV?

    If you must use ActiveX, then absolutely no. I can see the effort put into it, but I intentionally do not use a browser with ActiveX support. And when I was finally forced to use IE, I had to reconfigure my settings just to run it as I had already turned ActiveX off. How about Flash? Also, I am perfectly happy with non-interactive videos (as long as there is a link to the video so that I can run it in WMP etc., not the browser; please do not require IE). At the very least, please, please, please no more ActiveX.

  2. Sean Lynch says:

    I like it, and think that in general it will be quite helpfull to those just starting out in a particuallar area. I also know many people who this would be much more helpful then just being given a trial version and told to play with it, as they would just get overwhelmed.

    Though I do also agree in part with "me", that I personally would prefer to have a fully functional trial version. I dont agree that the use of ActiveX is that big of a deal, I just have it set to prompt. If I didnt expect to get an ActiveX object, then I dont let it install.

  3. Jacob says:

    Love it, just went throught them and liked them a lot. Not from a java background but starting to do .net things, I wish there where more like this. THANKS!

    ps. The VB@the movies ones are great too… but this are better, you learn more through the interactivity.

  4. Jacob says:

    ps. I like a lot the feel it has of having someone showing you how to do something, also the activex simulation performs very well.

  5. Anonymous says:

    create your first application with visual

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dummies Guide To Visual Studio .NET

  7. barry_evans says:

    I was keen to try these out. Shame the link above is broken 🙁

  8. caye says:

    is it possible for me to make an interactive simulation of a physics laboratory expiriments??

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