November 26, 2008
@ 08:50 PM

I thought this was an interesting question that has come up a couple of times in the last few days over on the Universal Thread. In VFP you can create a subclass of a form, customize it, then configure VFP to use this subclass as the "template" for any new forms you create (by going into Tools > Options > Forms and setting the base class).

The question was, how do I do this in .NET?

It's pretty easy - create your form and add any controls, methods, properties, etc. that you want. Then go to File > Export Template. An Export Template Wizard will open. Change the selection to an "Item template" and click Next.

Export Template Wizard


On the next screen put a checkmark next to the item(s) you want included in the template. If you have other dependencies (like external classes) you can also select them here. Then click Next again.

Export Template Wizard Select Item to Export

Now you can select any external references you want to include. For example, if you created a project which includes a set of base controls that you used on your form, you may want to select them here (so when you use this template these references will automatically get added to your project). Click Next.

Export Template Wizard Select Item References

Finally you can select an icon that is associate with this template, enter the template name, description, and it's output location. I'd suggest leaving the "Automatically import the template into Visual Studio" option checked. If you don't like the output location, unfortunately you can't change it here. You have to change it via Tools > Options > Projects and Solutions. Finally click Finish.

Export Template Wizard Select Template Options

At this point, when you do an "Add New Item" you should be able to scroll to the bottom of the templates and see "My Templates" - the new template you created should exist there.

Although I showed this for a WinForms application, this can actually be used with any class (and for ASP.NET applications). For example, I have a base business object class I use. Every time I create a new one I just select a template based on a subclass of it to create the new one.

Saturday, 19 March 2011 01:20:32 (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)
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