The Start Page

The Start Page

When you first get into the Visual Studio 2005 IDE, you are presented with the Start Page for the tool. This feature looked promising in previous versions but now seems to be actually useful in Visual Studio 2005. Figure shows an example of the new Start Page.

6. The Visual Studio 2005 Start Page.

The Start Page contains a number of web parts. Starting from the upper left, there is the Recent Projects area. From here, you can launch a project you were recently working on or create a new one. Moving down, you see the Getting Started area. This Web Part is useful if you are looking for learning opportunities with the tool. This can be a great place to set out exploring with a starter kit, what's new, or the new "How do I ...?" question-and-answer section. Below this is the headlines area for Visual Studio. Here, you are notified of recent releases or can provide feedback to Microsoft yourself. Finally, in the middle of the page are the headlines and offers from MSDN. This area can be useful to peruse at project startupespecially if you find yourself spending too much time on the project and feel yourself losing touch with the goings-on in the development world.

Startup Options

If you just don't like the Start Page or prefer to launch directly into the project you'll be spending the next few months of your life working on, you can customize what happens when the IDE boots. From the Options dialog box (Tools, Options), choose the Environment node and then the Startup leaf. Figure shows some of the options available at startup.

7. Startup options.

From here, you can configure where to get your start page news items. You can also tell the environment to load the last solution, show the new or open project dialog boxes, open your browser's home page, or do nothing (show an empty environment). You can also configure how often your content is automatically refreshed from the server.

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