Automating MapPoint with the .NET SDK
As Gilles Kohl showed in a previous article, it's possible to program
MapPoint with only the free .NET Framework SDK. This article illustrates a
simple program using this technique for generating images from MapPoint.
Much like ASP.NET, desktop application developers have a choice of using one
of the tools in Visual Studio .NET (C#, VB.NET, etc.) or simple a text
editor for developing programs using the .NET framework. Visual Studio
supports drag and drop/automatic code generation, debugging support,
Intellisense, and a host of other valuable programing features. Writing
programs with a text editor and compiling at the command-line provides
little of that and can be analogized as freely available 'water' to Visual
Studio's 'Coke' (or Jamba Juice for the health-concious :-)..
In this article we will compile a simple program written with the humble
TextPad text editor which generates images of the U.S. states. First, let's
take a look at the code:
This is placed in a text file with a .vb extension and along with a few
supporting files is all that is need to compile at the command line. First,
review the prerequisites as outlined by Gilles in the previous article. To compile this
program you will need the .NET platform SDK.
Then, download the code and
supporting files and extract to a working directory. Note that although
I don't use it here, I've included the MPToolbox library for good measure.
To successfully compile and run the program, you will also need to generate
the MapPoint.dll to enable .NET to communicate with MapPoint. This is done
at the command prompt by typing
TLBIMP "C:\Program Files\MapPoint 2002
(substitute the path to your MapPoint
installation/the .tlb file as necessary).
Now, to compile the program, type
at the command
prompt. If you've kept your fingers crossed this whole time, you should be
rewarded with a nifty little executable for generating images of the 50 U.S.
States (plus Washington D.C.). A gallery of the images is posted here.