The first section in the book ("An Introduction to Visual Studio") is designed to get programmers new to Visual Studio up and running in the IDE (Integrated Development environment). In these pages, the reader is introduced to the basics of Visual Studio development ("Windows Forms and Web Forms applications", "Visual Studio and the .NET programming language", "The Visual Studio IDE"), to the C# programming language ("How a C# application is compiled and run", "How C# differs from Java"), and to the .NET framework ("The .NET framework", "How C# differs from the other .NET languages").
The second half of this section covers the Visual Studio IDE (giving examples from the Professional edition, but including notations describing the differences of the Express edition), walking through the basics of starting Visual Studio, opening and closing projects, using the Form designer, the Code editor, the Solution Explorer, and other various windows and menu options ("Some possible menu variations", "How to work with Visual Studio's windows") .
Closing out the chapter is a brief discussion covering compiling and running a test project ("How to build a project", "How to run a project"). By the time the first chapter is completed, the reader should feel comfortable manipulating the Visual Studio IDE.
"Chapter 2 - How to design a Windows Forms application" is about project management and basic form design, beginning with an introduction to Visual Studio customization ("How to set the options for project and solutions", "How to change the import and export settings"), introducing the first form in the sample application used throughout the book ("The design of the Invoice Total form"), and walking the reader through adding controls to an empty form ("How to add controls to a form", "How to set properties", "Common properties for forms and controls").
Rounding out the first section in the book is a chapter completing the introduction to application development, entitled "How to code and test a Windows Forms application". Backing up slightly, this chapter begins by introducing object-oriented programming concepts ("How to refer to properties, methods, and events", "How an application responds to events") and then goes on to explain how to hook event handlers up to the form and controls created in the second chapter ("How to create an event handler for the default event of a form or control", "How to delete an event handler", "The event handlers for the Invoice Total form"). From there, the author takes the reader on a brief wallthrough of proper code structure ("How to code in a readable style", "How to code comments", "How to collapse or expand blocks od code"), and then into a discussion of some new time-saving additions to Visual Studio 2005 ("How to use code snippets", "How to refactor code").