The Visual Studio Team over at Microsoft has introduced a very useful learning package to help learn about computer programming. Whether you are a teacher, a student of an Algorithms course or just a plain hobbyist; this package with its powerful feature-set could really get you started with some of the basic computer programming paradigms.
The Visual Studio Learning Pack 2.0 consists of the five components described below:
Microsoft Visual Studio Learning Pack 2.0 Features
Search & Sort Designer Controls
Sort Designer Control is a supplementary teaching tool developed to help students learn the basic concepts, algorithms, and implementations of popular computer sorting algorithms. It supports bubble and insertion sorting. The control generates initial values automatically and demonstrates intermediate states in the sorting process. It also generates sorting source code for both Visual Basic and C#.
Search Designer Control is a teaching tool developed to help students learn the basic concepts, algorithms, and implementations of popular data search algorithms. It supports binary and sequential searches. The control generates initial values automatically and demonstrates intermediate states in the searching process. It also generates source code for both Visual Basic and C#.
Using the Visual Sort Designer and Visual Search Designer Controls teachers can easily develop a sample program to demonstrate the fundamentals of sort and search. They can also customize the control’s appearance by simply dragging the control onto a form and setting its properties. These visual demonstrations help in teaching programming concepts and increase students’ interest in learning.
Visual Declarative Designer
Visual Declarative Designer is an intuitive variable declaration tool designed for novice programmers. During the coding process the student can declare variables of various types and generate the corresponding source code. Visual Variable Declarative Designer provides a visual approach to variable declaration. Teachers in the Information Technology (IT) field can use this designer to teach students the basic concepts of variable declaration and naming, variable types, access modifiers, and initial values.
Assistant Class Designer
Assistant Class Designer is a visual class designer for novice programmers. This designer guides students through the processes of adding classes, properties, methods and events. The designer also generates the corresponding source code for new classes. By using this designer, teachers and students can easily create and configure complicated classes. Assistant Class Designer provides an intuitive and interactive method for designing classes and helps students to understand key object-oriented programming concepts such as classes, encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. The Assistant Class Designer generates source code for C# only.
Visual Programming Flow Chart
My favorite control in Microsoft Visual Studio Learning Pack is Visual Programming Flow Chart. It is a supplementary teaching & learning tool designed to help students understand program control flow. It generates flow charts for functions and saves them in the JPG picture format. This tool is easily activated from the Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) by simply right-clicking on a function name and choosing “Generate flow chart…” from the context menu. The resulting flowchart can be customized by changing its colors and other effects. This visual tool provides an intuitive way to explore source code, to examine its control flow, and to identify logic errors.