How to create a website in visual studio 2012 express

Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web is an easy-to-use environment for developing dynamic web applications. It has a streamlined interface that focuses on providing the tools you need to build web applications. All the features of Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web are also available in Microsoft Visual Studio 2012. Websites you create with Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web are compatible with Visual Studio 2012. You can share pages and websites between Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web and Visual Studio 2012 without conversion issues or loss of functionality.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web contains all the features you need as a hobbyist or student web developer to create fully functional websites.

This topic contains the following sections:

  • Installing Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web

  • Sites Web Pages and Web Application Projects

  • Web Pages and Web Server Controls

  • Data Driven Web Pages

  • Security

  • Websites and Web Application Projects

  • Website Features and web application projects

Installing Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can install the current version of Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web using Microsoft Web Platform Installer, which is a tool that simplifies the download, installation, and maintenance of Microsoft Web Platform components. These components include Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web, IIS Express, and the .NET Framework. You can use these tools to create ASP.NET web applications. You can also use the Microsoft Web Platform Installer to install free ASP.NET and PHP web applications.

Web sites and web application projects

You can use Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web to create and work with ASP.NET web sites and web application projects in the following configurations:

  • File system web sites In a web site file system or web application project, Files can be in any folder. The folder can be on your computer or in a folder on another computer that you access through a network share. Instead of using IIS to test the site, you can use IIS Express or ASP.NET Development Server. For more information, see File System Website Projects.

  • Local IIS Websites Local Internet Information Services ( IIS) and Web Application Projects are applications on a local computer that run using a local copy of IIS. For more information, see IIS Local Website Projects.

  • Websites Deployed Using FTP You can work with websites that you access using ftp. You can connect from Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web to any FTP server to which you have read and write permissions. You can then create and edit web pages on that server. Web Application Projects do not support FTP deployment directly, although you can publish your Web Application Project to an FTP site. For more information, see FTP Deployed Website Projects.

Just like in Visual Studio, you can open or create a website or web application project from the home page or from the File menu. For more information, see ASP.NET Web Projects and ASP.NET Web Application Projects.

Web Pages and Web Server Controls

Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web helps you create ASP.NET web pages and HTML pages. ASP.NET web pages are dynamic pages. They include ASP.NET Web server controls and code that ASP.NET processes on the server. During server-side rendering, the controls and code produce output that is sent as HTML (or other markup) to the browser. For more information, see ASP.NET Web Forms Overview.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for the web includes a web page designer. In Design view, it provides a WYSIWYG design surface where you can type text and add controls. When you want to edit the page markup directly, you can switch to Source view. In the Source view, the editor provides tools to help you create well-formed markup, such as statement completion and IntelliSense. The editor also verifies that the markup complies with a validation scheme that you have selected, such as XHTML5. Split view allows you to see layout view and markup at the same time. For more information, see Source View, Web Page Designer, and Design View, Web Page Designer.

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Custom Layout and Appearance

You can create custom page layouts using the use of master pages, which function as templates. You create an overall layout on a master page, and then create content pages to match the master page. To create a custom look for the pages of a website, you can use themes. Themes let you define the color, fonts, and other characteristics of controls and the page.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web also provides tools that make it easy to work with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) .You can design the layout and styling of the content in the Design view using user interface tools such as the CSS Properties window. You can also change position, padding, and margins directly in Design view by using WYSIWYG visual design tools. For more information, see ASP.NET Master Pages, ASP.NET Themes and Skins, and Working with CSS Overview.

Web Controls

To simplify web page development, you can use ASP.NET web server controls. Web server controls provide familiar types of functionality for pages, such as displaying text boxes, buttons, check boxes, menus, etc.

ASP.NET web server controls differ from HTML elements. in that you can program ASP.NET controls in server code. Programming controls in server code allows you to create web pages that present a sophisticated interface to users. You can create web page content dynamically based on information you can access on the server.

ASP.NET includes web server controls for a wide variety of tasks you can perform on web pages, including These include the following:

  • Standard Controls Allow you to add basic functionality and complex functionality to ASP.NET Web pages. Standard controls include buttons, images, text boxes, check boxes, hyperlinks, list boxes, etc. Other standard controls include a calendar, a file upload control, and a control for displaying XML on a web page.

  • Data controls Allow you to connect a web page to various data sources, including databases and XML files. Data controls also allow you to display data on the page in tables or other formats, and allow users to edit data.

  • Validation controls They provide a way to check user input. You can check required fields, value ranges, minimum and maximum values, and specific patterns.

  • Navigation Controls Allow you to add various types of menus to websites. These include static and floating menus, a tree view, and a breadcrumb (also known as a tab or breadcrumb).

  • Launch controls session Allows you to easily create login forms and authenticate users. You can also use login controls that allow users to log in to the website and retrieve or replace their passwords.

  • Web Part Controls Allow users to customize an ASP.NET web page in the browser. Web part controls can personalize content, such as news headlines or weather data. Users can select which web part control they want to see and can customize the layout and appearance of web part controls. Web Part controls are customized so that user preferences are preserved between browser sessions.

  • AJAX Extension Controls Allow you to enhance a website by using AJAX capabilities, include asynchronous postbacks.

  • Dive controls Allow you to use the dynamic data features of ASP.NET. For more information, see ASP.NET Dynamic Data and System.Web.DynamicData Namespace.

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For more information about ASP.NET Web server controls, see ASP.NET Web Server Controls overview.

Data-Driven Web Pages

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web supports ASP.NET data source controls, which they connect and communicate with various types of data sources. For example, the SqlDataSource control contains a data connection object that can connect to a SQL Server database. It also contains command data objects for SQL Select, Update, and Delete statements. Other data source controls allow you to connect to OLE-DB data sources, XML data sources, and other data sources. The advantage of data source controls is that they provide a consistent interface for data binding to all ASP.NET controls.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web supports Language-Integrated Query ( LINQ). LINQ is a query syntax that allows you to define query operations directly in C# and Visual Basic. LINQ allows you to query databases or data sources in memory. To support database queries, Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web includes an object-relational mapping designer. By using the designer, you can quickly create and edit data classes that map to objects in a database.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web supports ASP.NET Dynamic Data. Dynamic data enables you to build extensible data-driven web applications by inferring at runtime the appearance and behavior of data entities from the database schema and deriving user interface behavior from it.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web also supports several data controls that you can add to ASP.NET web pages to display data. These include the GridView, DetailsView, FormView, ListView, DataList, and Repeater controls. Each of these controls allows you to present data in different ways. Each control also supports additional functionality, including sorting, paging, editing data records, inserting new data records, etc.You can also populate controls such as ListBox and DropDownList with data from data source controls.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web allows you to drag tables of data onto a page. When you do this, Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web automatically creates preconfigured controls on the page.

You can store data in a local database using LocalDB or SQL Server Express. For more information about LocalDB, see Local Data Overview. For more information about SQL Server Express, see Using SQL Server Express with ASP.NET.


ASP.NET features, such as membership, roles, and Login server controls allow you to add authentication (login) and authorization to a website using little or no code. You can allow users to register on the site, and you can create a login page that automatically verifies user credentials. You can help protect pages so that only logged in users can view them. On a single page, you can present different information to logged in users and anonymous users.

For more information, see How ASP.NET Security Works.

Sites web and Web Application Projects

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web includes several types of projects to help you build web applications, sites, and services:

  • ASP.NET Website Projects ASP.NET website projects include specific types of files that ASP.NET recognizes for processing. Additionally, you can create folders for special purposes, such as storing source code, defining themes, and managing resources. Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web includes an ASP.NET Empty Web Site Project Template and an ASP.NET Web Site Project Template. These templates include many auto-generated capabilities that you can customize. For more information, see ASP.NET Web Site Projects.

  • ASP.NET Web Application Projects ASP.NET Web Application Projects they allow you to compile a website into a single assembly and explicitly define the project’s resources. This type of project offers more options for deploying and maintaining web applications than a website project. Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web includes an empty ASP.NET Web Application project template and an ASP.NET Web Application project template. These templates include many auto-generated capabilities that you can customize. For more information, see ASP.NET Web Application Projects.

  • ASP.NET MVC 3 and ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Projects ASP .NET MVC 3 and ASP.NET MVC 4 Web Application project templates can be used to create web applications that use a model-view-controller pattern. For more information, see ASP.NET MVC Overview.

  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data Entity Web Projects The Project Template The Dynamic Data Entity Web Site Project Template and the Dynamic Data Entity Web Site project template is used to work with the ADO.NET Entity Framework. Project types can target any relational database. For more information about dynamic data, see ASP.NET Dynamic Data.

  • WCF Service Projects The Service Application Template WCF provides a basic class structure for the development service. The template includes basic definitions for a service contract, a data contract, a service implementation, and a service configuration. You can use this template to create a service that requires little or no additional coding, and that can be the foundation for more advanced services.

  • Silverlight Application Projects You can use the Silverlight application project templates to create rich Internet applications.

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For more information about web-related templates in Visual Studio, see Visual Studio Templates for Web Projects.

Features for Web Sites and Web Application Projects

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web includes many features to help you create and manage Web sites and web application projects. Additional features include:

  • Multi-targeting You can target a web application to a specific version of the .NET Framework. By default, Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web targets the current version of the .NET Framework. The multi-targeting feature helps ensure that applications use only functionality that is available in a specific version of the .NET Framework. In addition, the multitargeting feature allows you to deploy older applications without adding a version of the .NET Framework to the deployment package.

  • IntelliSense > IntelliSense offers context-appropriate code options as you type, including properties, functions, and objects. IntelliSense allows you to maintain your coding context, find the information you need, and insert language elements directly into your code.

  • Debugging You can test pages using the integrated debugger, which allows you to find errors in your code.You can also turn on tracing, which displays useful debugging information on each page. For more information, see ASP.NET Debugging Overview.

  • Individualizing Web Pages You can create user profiles, which allow you to store user-specific settings that you can use to customize pages for each user. For more information, see Overview of ASP.NET Profile Properties.

  • State Management The state management capabilities of Visual Studio Express 2012 for the Web allow you to store information between page requests, such as customer information or the contents of a shopping cart. You can save and manage application-specific, session, page, user, and developer-defined information.

  • Globalization you can configure your pages to automatically read text from a resource file that matches the user’s preferred language and locale. For more information, see ASP.NET Globalization and Localization.

  • Deployment You can publish websites for testing servers or production servers using a variety of of tools . For more information, see Web Deployment Content Map for Visual Studio and ASP.NET.

See Also


Comparison of Visual Studio and Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

Content Map of Visual Studio Web Development Environment

Other Resources



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