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InfoQ Homepage News Explore the Latest Updates to WinForms Visual Basic Application Framework

Explore the Latest Updates to WinForms Visual Basic Application Framework

Recent updates to the WinForms Visual Basic Application Framework are covered in-depth in a blog post published by Microsoft. The original blog post explains the advantages users can expect to experience by updating their applications to the most recent .NET versions and provides comprehensive information on the new features and improvements. 

One of those is the ability to convert older .NET Framework-based Visual Basic Apps to .NET 6, 7, or 8+ is one of the update's key benefits. This enables developers to benefit from the vast array of new features and performance upgrades that come with the updated runtime.

In addition to the migration benefits, the new Windows Forms Out-of-Process Designer for .NET has undergone changes and improvements. The designer now features better support for Object Data Sources and offers a more streamlined user experience.

Upgrading to newer frameworks creates opportunities to support modern technologies that were not previously compatible with the .NET Framework. One such example is Entity Framework Core, a modern data access framework that enables .NET developers to handle database backends using .NET objects. Despite not being natively supported by Microsoft for Visual Basic, EFCore is constructed to facilitate its expansion by the community, which can provide code generation support for additional languages such as Visual Basic.

With the introduction of .NET 5, several enhancements were made to WinForms, including the addition of the TaskDialog control, improvements to the ListView control, and enhancements to the FileDialog class. In addition, there was a significant improvement in performance and memory usage for GDI+. Furthermore, in .NET Core 3.1, the default font for WinForms Forms and UserControls was changed to Segoe UI, 9pt to give the traditional WinForms UI a more contemporary appearance.

Building on these improvements, .NET 6, allows users to set any desired font as the default font for the entire WinForms Application. This is achieved in the Visual Basic Application Framework through an additional Application Event called "ApplyApplicationDefaults", which was introduced during the .NET 6 timeframe. This event enables developers to set values for HighDpiMode, the application's default font, and the minimum splash dialog display time.

The latest stable version of .NET 7, and the introduction of Command Binding in WinForms, .NET 7 makes it simpler to implement a UI Controller architecture based on the MVVM pattern for WinForms Apps and include Unit Tests in WinForms Apps. Additionally, WinForms received improvements such as rendering in HighDPI per Monitor V2 scenarios and have repeatedly enhanced accessibility support from .NET 5 to .NET 7 through Microsoft UI Automation pattern to make it work better with accessibility tools like Narrator, Jaws, and NVDA.

Regarding the Visual Basic Application Framework Experience, Microsoft has introduced changes for a new project properties UI in Visual Studio, which is now in line with the project properties experience for other .NET project types. The updated UI offers theme and search features, with a focus on improving productivity and providing a modern look and feel. Also, the original blog post authors are suggesting that users who are new to the updated project properties experience are encouraged to read the introductory blog for more information.

Lastly, developers interested in learning more about the updates to WinForms Visual Basic Application Framework can visit Microsoft's official developer blog for more information and very detailed documentation about updates, changes, and new features around the WinForms Visual Basic Application Framework.

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