Using Object Browser to Explore the Framework Class Library

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In Brief...

The steps below describe how to use the Visual Studio Object Browser to enumerate and examine classes in the .Net Framework Class Library


  1. To open the "Object Browser' in Visual Studio, you can select View-Object Browser from the main menu or you can press Ctrl-Alt-J.
    View - Object Browser OR Control Alt J

  2. The Object Browser consists of three panes:
    1. Objects
    2. Members
    3. Descriptions

    Objects Pane, Members Pane And Descriptions Pane

  3. To locate a class in the framework, you can use the search box at the top of the Object Browser or you can expand the namespaces in the objects pane.
  4. When a class or namespace is selected in the object pane, the members of that class or namespace are displayed in the members pane. As you can see in the image below, I have selected the mscorlib namespace, the subordinate System.IO namespace, and the BinaryWriter class within the IO namespace. With that class selected, the members pane is automatically filled with a list of the members of the BinaryWriter class and the details pane is filled with details about the BinaryWriter class.
    Objects Pane, Members Pane And Descriptions Pane
  5. When a class member is selected in the Members pane, the class member details are then displayed in the descriptions pane. In this example, I have selected the WriteBool method of the BinaryWriter class.
    Objects Pane, Members Pane And Descriptions Pane
  6. Note that the descriptions pane includes details about the member selected, to include a complete description of the signature, a summary of the member (purpose and usage), a list of parameters if appropriate and a list of all exceptions that the method might raise.

Author: Michael Osborne