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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 North America\MPNA81.TLB"
(substitute the path to your MapPoint installation/the .tlb file as necessary).

Now, to compile the program, type
VBC @GenStates.rsp
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.

Discuss this story in the forum.

Author: Eric Frost
Email: website(AT)mp2kmag.com
URL: http://www.mp2kmag.com
Eric is Editor and Publisher of MP2K Magazine and is a part-time student in University of Chicago's evening MBA program. Eric recently finished the MP2Kmag Guide What's New in MapPoint 2004.



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