aspect of each new version of Microsoft’s flagship IDE Visual Studio is how projects are
created — that is, what is included and how resources and files are organized.
You can learn a lot about the product as well as the underlying platform by
examining what is offered. Here’s a look at what is included in a new ASP.NET
Web Forms site created with Visual Studio 2013.
There are a
variety of ways to create a new site with Visual Studio 2013, but I will follow
the most straightforward path for this article. Figure A shows choosing New Web Site from the File menu, which
presents the New Web Site window (Figure
B). For the purposes of this article, I choose ASP.NET Web Forms Site from
the templates presented in Figure B. Once the selection is made, the disk drive
churns while the ASP.NET
4.5 site is created with the results shown in Figure C.
new website in Visual Studio 2013
options for creating a new website.
Web Forms site created by Visual Studio 2013.
review of source code for Default.aspx displayed in Figure C is revealing if
you’ve worked with Bootstrap,
as the CSS classes like jumbotron are clearly from that framework; this should
not be a surprise, as Microsoft has been touting Bootstrap integration for some
frameworks such as jQuery
Now that the
project is created, let’s take a closer look at what is included.
What are all
of these files?
review of the project’s files shows the bootstrap CSS files located in the
Content directory. It includes both the full (bootstrap.css) and minified
Scripts directory. It is worth noting that it utilizes Bootstrap 3.0 — it was
a close call, as the latest version of Bootstrap was available not long before
Visual Studio 2013 was released. The Bootstrap files are only a fraction of the
files included in the project. The base directory’s files and subdirectories are
shown in the right-hand portion of Figure C. The following list provides more
details on the folders.
This directory contains the web pages used to provide authorization. It is the
security and logon files, so there are files for user registration
(Register.aspx), managing an account (Manage.aspx), logging in (Logon.aspx),
This is where shared source code (things like shared classes or business
objects) should be created. By default, there are classes for working with
Friendly URLs (routes) and ASP.NET Identity features as well as others.
This folder contains application data files like XML or other data stores. It
is empty when a project is created by Visual Studio 2013.
This contains all of the compiled assemblies referenced by the application and
the application itself. When the project is created, it is populated by all of
the DLLs used by the application. This includes ASP.NET Identity, Entity Framework, OWIN, WebGrease, and many more (Figure D).
This is where the Bootstrap and other CSS files are stored. You will most need
to create your own CSS for new features or to override default settings, so CSS
should be placed in this directory.
Any special fonts to be used by the application are here. By default, the
Bootstrap offerings are included.
when the site is created. The base directory has the necessary files for
Bootstrap, jQuery, Modernizr, and the respond libraries. In addition, the
of the bin subdirectory for a newly created project.
of the Scripts subdirectory for the website.
As for the
files on the site, there are web pages for content (About.aspx, Contact.aspx,
and Default.aspx for the home page) and the standard ASP.NET application file
(Global.asax). Figure F shows the
site loaded (the default page), which clearly demonstrates a standard Bootstrap
layout. The following list provides more details on the remaining files in the
base project directory.
load time. This configuration file allows you to specify how resource types are
A standard website feature that allows you to associate an icon with the site.
This file is used to track installed packages and respected versions.
The master page for the site.
The mobile master page for the site.
This control can be used on pages to allow users to switch between desktop and
mobile versions of a page. The control can be placed on a page or in the master
page for all pages, and the user will have links for switching to mobile
version or desktop if viewing on a mobile device.
The configuration file for the site. A review of this file shows references to
Entity Framework, WebGrease, and ASP.NET Identity included by default.
page of the standard ASP.NET Web Forms site loaded in Chrome.
What does it
A review of
what is included with our project gives us a glimpse of the new .NET technologies
as well as Microsoft’s vision of web development. It may not be a surprise that
new or enhanced features like the ASP.NET membership system (ASP.NET Identity),
OWIN, and the Entity Framework are included by default, but I found it
interesting to see DLL files for ANTLR and
WebGrease and the
Web.Optimization namespace as well. It seems Microsoft is serious about improving the performance of its platform and user experience,
and the fact the company is embracing web standards and frameworks is
article only scratches the surface of ASP.NET web development with an overview
of a basic website, I hope it provides a starting point for asking lots of
questions and learning more.