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Web Development
Windows Development


Writing A Windows Forms Application Using C#
Without Visual Studio IDE
Windows forms

More than a year ago, in early Beta1 days of .Net framework, I wrote a very elementary article on How to write a Windows Forms application using C#. At that time there was no version of Visual Studio .Net available. So that article explained how the application can be written using without IDE.

Now most of us have access to IDE. But it is always nice to have an alternate way of comiling the application. So I decided to update the old code because a lot of stuff changed between the early Beta1 and final release of .Net framework. Also some compiler options changed. So this artcile is simply an update to that article and code has been updated for .Net Release 1 (SP1).

Some changes in referencing system assemblies during compilation

The application needs to refer to some system assemblies like System.DLL, System.Windows.Forms.DLL, etc. Earlier we had to specify all these assembly references through /reference switch. But now C# compiler looks for CSC.rsp response file in the project directory. If the response file is not found in the project directory, then it looks for the file in the directory from where compiler was invoked. Since we are assuming that you don't have IDE installed, then this compiler will be invoked from "Windows Folder"\Microsoft.NET\"CLR Version" directory. You will find a CSC.rsp file there. Take a look at this file. You will see that it already has added reference to most commonly referenced assemblies. Therefore you don't need to specify them through /reference switch anymore.

If you want compiler to ignore the inclusion of default CSC.rsp file, use /noconfig compilation switch. If you include your own CSC.rsp file in the project folder, then its settings override the settings specified in global CSC.rsp file. For more details, please look in the documentation for this compiler switch. Unfortunately you cannot specify noconfig switch in Visual Studio .Net IDE.

Other changes

There are namespace changes, attribute name and value changes and some method name changes in the new code from the previous version that was written for Beta1. Other than that I did not have to make a whole lot of changes.

What Next?

Next we will try to write an article that will show how an ASP.Net application can be written without the help of IDE. and it will show how ASP.Net references the assemblies at compile time and run time.


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