How to Setup the Development Environment using Visual Studio

In this book, we will be using HTML, JavaScript, and CSS3 to program the front end. The front end, also known as the browser side, is what you see in your web browser when you visit a website.

It's important to put the same amount of effort into the front
end as it is the layer of the web application that users interact with, and it should convey the right message to the end user.

If a user visits a website with an unfriendly user interface (UI), they may leave, which can be costly to any business. As a Software Developer, prioritizing user experience should always be a priority, as users are the center of any application.

Here's a step-by-step outline for creating the front end of a social media application using ASP.NET Core:

Step 1: Set up ASP.NET Core Project

  1. Install the latest version of Visual Studio and ASP.NET Core
    SDK on your machine.

  2. Create a new ASP.NET Core project using the ASP.NET Core Web Application template.

    [Note]: The project files can be downloaded at

  3. Choose MVC as the project template and select .Net 7.0 (Standard Term Support).

    - You should now have a project that looks like the image below:

Step 2: Design the User Interface

      4. Define the overall layout and design of your social media application, including the home
login/register pages, user profile pages, timeline/feed pages, and other relevant pages.

  1. Create HTML views using Razor syntax, which is the default view engine in ASP.NET Core, to generate
    dynamic HTML content. In this section, we can start by
    modifying the _Layout.cshtml file. This file defines
    how the overall site will look like

    At this stage in Development, you will have a default _Layout.cshtml file, we need to modify the file to suit our design.

    Here is the default file:
    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html lang="en">
        <meta charset="utf-8" />
        <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0" />
        <title>@ViewData["Title"] - MyFaceSocialMedia</title>
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="~/lib/bootstrap/dist/css/bootstrap.min.css" />
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="~/css/site.css" asp-append-version="true" />
        <link rel="stylesheet" href="~/MyFaceSocialMedia.styles.css" asp-append-version="true" />
            <nav class="navbar navbar-expand-sm navbar-toggleable-sm navbar-light
              bg-white border-bottom box-shadow mb-3">
                <div class="container-fluid">
                    <a class="navbar-brand" asp-area="" asp-controller="Home" asp-action="Index">MyFaceSocialMedia</a>
                    <button class="navbar-toggler" type="button" data-bs-toggle="collapse" 
                        data-bs-target=".navbar-collapse" aria-controls="navbarSupportedContent"
                            aria-expanded="false" aria-label="Toggle navigation">
                        <span class="navbar-toggler-icon"></span>
                    <div class="navbar-collapse collapse d-sm-inline-flex justify-content-between">
                        <ul class="navbar-nav flex-grow-1">
                            <li class="nav-item">
                                <a class="nav-link text-dark" asp-area="" asp-controller="Home" asp-action="Index">Home</a>
                            <li class="nav-item">
                                <a class="nav-link text-dark" asp-area="" asp-controller="Home" asp-action="Privacy">Privacy</a>
        <div class="container">
            <main role="main" class="pb-3">
        <footer class="border-top footer text-muted">
            <div class="container">
                &copy; 2023 - MyFaceSocialMedia - 
            <a asp-area="" asp-controller="Home" asp-action="Privacy">Privacy</a>
        <script src="~/lib/jquery/dist/jquery.min.js"></script>
        <script src="~/lib/bootstrap/dist/js/bootstrap.bundle.min.js"></script>
        <script src="~/js/site.js" asp-append-version="true"></script>
        @await RenderSectionAsync("Scripts", required: false)

    Let's try to understand the _Layout.chtml file above:

    The code above is an HTML file that represents the layout of a web page. It starts with the <!DOCTYPE html> declaration, which specifies the version of HTML being used.

    The <html> tag encloses the entire document, and the lang attribute indicates that the language of the document is English.

    The <head> tag contains information about the document, such as the title, character set, and any external stylesheets or scripts that should be loaded.

    The <meta> tags specify the character set and viewport of the document. The title element sets the title of the web page, which is dynamically generated using the @ViewData["Title"] expression.

    The <link> tags import stylesheets from the bootstrap.min.css, site.css, and MyFaceSocialMedia.styles.css files. These stylesheets define the layout, typography, and other visual elements of the web page.

    The <body> tag encloses the content of the web page, which includes a navigation bar defined by the <nav> tag and a header element defined by the <header> tag.

    The <main> tag contains the main content of the page, which is dynamically generated using the @RenderBody() expression.

    Finally, the <footer> tag defines the footer element of the page, which includes a copyright notice and a link to the privacy policy. The <script> tags load external JavaScript files, including the jQuery library and the site.js file, which provides custom scripts for the web page.

    The @await RenderSectionAsync("Scripts", required: false) expression is used to dynamically render any additional scripts that may be defined in the view.

    If you run the generated default application by Visual Studio, you will see the output below:

    Step to run the application:

    1. Start Powershell or any Shell of your preference
    2. Type "ls" to see all the files in that directory
    3. Type "dotnet run"

    4. Visit http://localhost:5045 to see your website

    ASP.NET Core follows a specific folder structure that organizes the various components of a
    web application. Here's a general overview of the typical folder structure in an ASP.NET Core project:


    1. Controllers: This folder contains the controllers, which are responsible for processing incoming HTTP requests and generating HTTP responses. Controllers handle the business logic and define the behavior of different routes and endpoints in the web application.

    2. Views: This folder contains the views, which are responsible for rendering the user interface. Views are typically written in HTML with embedded code using Razor syntax, which allows for dynamic content generation.

    3. Models: This folder contains the models, which are responsible for defining the data entities and data access logic for the web application. Models represent the data and business objects used by the application.

    4. wwwroot: This folder is the root folder for static files, such as CSS, JavaScript, and images. Static files are served directly by the web server without going through the MVC pipeline, making them efficient for serving static content.

    5. Data: In some cases, a Developer might want to include a Data folder, which may contain data-related components, such as database models, data context, and data access logic. It's common to use a separate folder for organizing data-related components in a structured manner.

    6. Middleware: This folder may contain custom middleware components that can handle cross-cutting concerns, such as authentication, logging, or caching. Middleware components are executed in the order they are registered in the pipeline and can intercept and process HTTP requests and responses.

    7. Configuration: This folder may contain configuration files, such as appsettings.json, which store various configuration settings for the application, such as database connection strings, logging settings, and app-specific configurations.

    8. Areas: This folder may contain subfolders representing different areas of the application, which are used for organizing related components, such as views, controllers, and models, in a modular manner.

    9. Startup.cs: This file contains the configuration for the application's startup, including configuring services, middleware, and other settings.

    10. Other folders: Depending on the requirements of the application, there may be additional folders for organizing specific components, such as Services, Helpers, Utilities, or Tests

      - Make sure required folders are thought of and included in the overall Software design.

  2. Use CSS for styling and layout, and optionally, JavaScript for client-side interactions and dynamic content.

Step 3: Implement Views

      7. Implement views for each page of your social media application using Razor views,
          which allows you to combine HTML markup with C# code to generate
          dynamic content.

  1. Use Razor syntax to dynamically display data from your back-ends, such as user profile information, posts, comments, and other relevant data.

  2. Implement user interface components, such as forms, buttons, input fields, and other UI elements, to enable user interactions.

Step 4: Implement Models.

       Define data models that represent the entities in your social media
       application, such as users, posts,
comments, and other relevant data.

  1. Use Entity Framework Core, which is the default ORM (Object-Relational Mapper) in ASP.NET Core, to interact with your database and perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations on your data models.

Step 5: Implement Controllers

   12. Create controllers that handle HTTP requests from your views and interact with your models to
        fetch and update data.

  1. Implement actions in your controllers to handle different user interactions, such as submitting forms, handling authentication and authorization, and processing user input.

  2. Use ViewModels to transfer data between your views and controllers, and apply validation on user input to ensure data integrity.

Step 6: Implement Client-Side Interactions

    15. Use JavaScript and relevant libraries/frameworks, such as jQuery, to implement
          client-side interactions, such as dynamic content updates, form submissions, and other
          user interactions.

  1. Implement AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) requests to fetch and update data from the server without refreshing the entire page, providing a seamless user experience.

Step 7: Test and Debug

    17. Test your social media application by manually verifying different scenarios, such as user
          registration and login,
posting and viewing posts, commenting, and other functionalities.

  1. Use debugging tools, such as Visual Studio debugger or browser developer tools, to identify and fix any errors or issues that may arise during testing.

Step 8: Optimize and Refactor

   19. Optimize your front-end code for performance, security, and accessibility.

  1. Refactor your code to improve code quality, maintainability, and scalability.

  2. Continuously update and improve your social media application based on user feedback and changing requirements.

This is a general outline for creating the front end of a social media application using ASP.NET Core. The actual implementation in many production Sites may vary depending on specific application requirements, chosen technologies, and design patterns. It's important to follow best practices, maintain security measures, and thoroughly test your application to ensure its reliability and user-friendliness.



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