I'm in the really early stages of learning sharepoint and I'm struggling with a few concepts. One of which is the way in which one builds/deploys/debugs a sharepoint solution. Prior to sharepoint I'm used to developing standard web apps in asp .net C#; during which - I was used to the fact that when building or debugging - the files that were being viewed by the end user were literally organised in directories within my solution and were the actual files - files you could easily see the structure of in VS (I'm trying to explain this the best I can).
Whereas now, I'm developing master pages, css, aspx pages and web parts, choosing to 'Deploy' and then browsing either from IIS or running with the debugger from Visual Studio 2010. But the way in which I'm deploying feels like I'm just carrying out some sort of file copying action (determined by what's in my elements.xml files, for example) and that's it. So is this solution directly 'linked' to a sharepoint solution or just 'temporarily' used to add files and function to it?