It is possible to write all of the pages that will comprise your ASP.NET web application using a tool like Notepad or another text editor or a more sophisticated web editor such as Dreamweaver. However, using Microsoft Microsoft Visual Web Developer Express Edition offers distinct advantages. The first thing to be said in its favour is that it is completely free: not a 30 or 60 day trial version; totally yours to use without charge. Secondly, it contains dozens of tools and features which are specifically designed to work with ASP.NET and will not be found in any other IDE (apart from Microsoft’s non-free web development tool Visual Studio).
The fact that the Express Edition is free makes leads some people to assume that it is lightweight and has all of the really useful features missing. In fact, the opposite is true: all of the really useful stuff is available and this software has everything you need to start building ASP.NET applications.
You can download Web Developer 2008 Express Edition from Microsoft’s website. You will notice that the download page has links to several other free editions of Microsoft web development products. You can even download an ISO file which you can later burn to DVD. The download is very quick, since the downloaded file only contains an installer. When you run the installer, you will need to be connected to the internet so that the installer can download the necessary files.
Perhaps your plan is to buy one of the many editions of Microsoft Visual Studio and you are looking for something to tide you over in the meantime. In this case, you may be better off downloading the free 90-day (Beat that Adobe!) trial version of the full product rather than the Express Edition.
The installation of Visual Web Developer is a very long process. You will need to use a computer with a high-speed internet connection, get the installation started and then go and make a cup of coffee or something.
Interaction with databases is a standard feature on almost all ASP.NET websites and, while it is possible to use Microsoft Access databases for this purpose, there will be performance issues as soon as the site starts to become popular. The recommended database solution is Microsoft SQL Server and this too is available in and express edition.
If you would like to learn more about ASP.NET training courses, visit Macresource Computer Training, an independent computer training company offering ASP.NET Classes at their central London training centre.