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GDI+ Drawing Page, Part I

With the .NET Forms and Drawing class libraries you can create a drawing application C! la Visio that allows users to drag and draw shapes, select those shapes, and move them about the form.




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here was a time, not too long ago, when browser-based user interfaces were considered both the status quo and the Next Great Thing. The demand for Windows Forms-based applications started to dwindle as the developer community fully embraced browser/server applications with their centralized server components and ubiquitous user interfaces. .NET, however, brings a much more powerful library of distributed communication technologies (such as Web services and remoting). As a result, .NET developers are seeing some of these traditionally browser-based applications becoming, more simply, Web-enabled and less tied to a browser. In short, developers can now see a very real business case for building distributed applications on Windows Forms technology.

As it happens, this article stemmed out of just such a business case. We were recently presented with a project that required a portion of the application to generate a visual representation of some data onto a Windows Form. Users of the application would then be able to move these graphical data elements around a page, add new elements, save, print, etc. All of these activities were second nature to a Windows Forms application—and the System.Drawing namespace.

Instead of examining the intricacies of the System.Drawing namespace classes, we are going to start with a basic set of requirements that a developer might face. We will then detail how you can use the .NET namespaces and associated classes to create a solution to meet these requirements. As it happens, this article remains pretty focused on the System.Drawing namespace. However, we present a lot of good code here from the System.Windows.Forms and System.IO namespaces to name a few.

Let's get started by looking at a basic set of requirements.

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