Beginners coding in ASP.NET


posted by Emily Yaich


Hello everyone!  I am Emily Yaich and I am another one of the Microsoft Explorers working on the visual basic team.  I have been here since the second week in June, and I am loving every minute of it!  We haven’t gotten into the heavy coding and testing of our app yet, which will be a challenge, but I am sure that it will be just as much fun.


For those of you that are not familiar with the explorers program, it is an internship opportunity that allows first and second year students to come to Microsoft and gain valuable industry experience.  We spent the first couple of weeks in class in the mornings and shadowing the various roles on the visual basic team in the afternoons.  We got to see first hand what goes on behind the scenes to develop Whidbey.


Also, we were each assigned a starter kit to evaluate and extend.  I was assigned the personal website starter kit.  Being only a sophomore next term, the only coding I have done is in C++, so this is the first experience that I have had coding in visual basic.  If anyone else is brand new, here are some great starter videos that start from the very beginning.  They were very helpful to me.  So in working with this website I also got my first experience with ASP.NET.  I decided to create an address book application so the user could keep track of their contacts.  The couple areas that I got stuck on were data-binding and importing an image for the button.  The data-binding is quite simple, for no real coding is really involved; it is mostly drag and drop.  My problem came because first I tried to bind an access database to a sequel server source, and then when I bound it to an access source, I did not set a primary key.  With several visits from Jeff King, a Program Manager in Web platform and tools, I finally figured that out.  For more information on primary keys you can check out Greg Osefo’s blog, a fellow explorer, entitled “My First Database by Greg Osefo.” 


The second problem was a bit more complicated.  In my starter kit all of the buttons were images that were linked to the pages that they brought up.  They were not just buttons that you can drag and drop.  I discovered that first there was a black and a white theme.  Within each theme there were several images that corresponded to each image on the website.  I added my own image to the list using paint but could not get it to integrate into my webpage.  With help from Paul Yuknewicz, a Program Manager in Visual Basic, I discovered that under App_Themes, under Black (which was the theme that I chose for my webpage), under Images, I had to add the following line to


<asp:image runat=”server” Imageurl=”Images/button-view4.GIF” skinid=”view” />


Button-view4.GIF was the name of the button that I created in paint.  You then have to pick a name for the skinid, I chose view.  Then on the designer view of the page that you want to add the image, you have to choose the image that you want to make your new image, and change the skinid in the properties menu to the skinid that you chose for your image.  The name you chose will be in the drop-down menu if you put it in the  It is quite simple once you know what you are doing.     


I was very glad that I was given the website starter kit though because it was fun exploring something that I had never done before.  Also, the project that we are working on now as a group will not be a website, so that is another reason I was glad I got to work with it. 


So we are currently working on an app for the Pocket PC.  It is just getting off the ground, but I will keep you posted!


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