Welcome to Visual Basic tutorial! You have come to the right place to learn Visual Basic Programming. I like to share the knowledge with you because I have intense passion on Visual Basic. I wish you could spend some time reading the tutorial so that you can really acquire the basic skills in Visual Basic programming. Happy Learning!
1.1 What is computer programming?
Before we begin, let us understand some basic concepts of programming. According to Webopedia, a computer program is an organized list of instructions that, when executed, causes the computer to behave in a predetermined manner. Without programs, computers are useless. Therefore, programming means designing or creating a set of instructions to ask the computer to carry out certain jobs which normally are very much faster than human beings can do. In order to do programming, we need to use certain computer language to communicate with the computer. There are many computer languages out there, some of the examples are Visual Basic, Fortran, Cobol, Java, C++, Turbo Pascal, Assembly language and etc. Among them, I pick Visual Basic because it is the easiest to learn as it uses a language very similar to human language. It involves using words such as If, Then, Else, Goto, Select and so on, so it is very fast for any beginner to pick the language.
1.1 What is Visual Basic ?
VISUAL BASIC is a high level programming language evolved from the earlier DOS version called BASIC. BASIC means Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. It is a very easy programming language to learn. The codes look a lot like English Language. Different software companies produced different version of BASIC, such as Microsoft QBASIC, QUICKBASIC, GWBASIC ,IBM BASICA and so on. However, it seems people only use Microsoft Visual Basic today, as it is a well developed programming language and supporting resources are available everywhere.
With Visual Basic, you can program practically everything depending on your objective. For example, you can program educational software to teach science , mathematics, language, history , geography and so on. You can also program financial and accounting software to make you a more efficient accountant or financial controller. For those of you who like games, you can program that as well. Indeed, there is no limit to what you can program! There are many such program in this tutorial, so you must spend more time on the tutorial in order to benefit the most.
VISUAL BASIC is a VISUAL and events driven Programming Language. These are the main divergence from the old BASIC. In BASIC, programming is done in a text-only environment and the program is executed sequentially. In VISUAL BASIC, programming is done in a graphical environment. Because users may click on a certain object randomly, so each object has to be programmed independently to be able to response to those actions (events). Therefore, a VISUAL BASIC Program is made up of many subprograms, each has its own program codes, and each can be executed independently and at the same time each can be linked together in one way or another.
1.2 The Visual Basic Environment
Before you can program in Visual Basic, you need to install VB6 in your computer. If you do not own VB6 yet , you can purchase it from Amazon.com by clicking the link below:
Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Professional
Basically any present computer systems should be able to run the program, be it a Intel Pentium II, Intel Pentium III, Intel Pentium IV or even AMD machines, VB6 can run without any problem. It may not be true for VB2005, older machines might not be able to run VB2005 as it take up much more resources, therefore I still prefer using VB6 as it is light and easy to program. It is still very useful and powerful, and I am happy to know that Microsoft Windows Vista can support VB6.
On start up, Visual Basic 6.0 will display the following dialog box as shown in figure 1.1. You can choose to either start a new project, open an existing project or select a list of recently opened programs. A project is a collection of files that make up your application. There are various types of applications we could create, however, we shall concentrate on creating Standard EXE programs (EXE means executable program). Now, click on the Standard EXE icon to go into the actual VB programming environment.
Figure 1.1 The Visual Basic Start-up Dialog Box
Speaking of good tutorial for Visual Basic.NET, I have found that the Microsoft Express site has some really good beginner courses and examples. About a year ago I was tasked to write a simple SQL server front end. I had never done any SQL programming before and I was completely lost at where to start. While downloading SQL express I was some lessons offered and decided to give them a try. What I found was absolutely amazing. At the time there was a series of video tutorials and showed me all of the basics to quickly get started and even some more advanced topics. It was just a guy that was running a screen capture utility talking but it suits my learning style very well. It is a lot faster paced than reading and looking at still images. All together there were at least 12 hours of videos and I had all of the basics down by about 5 hours. If you are a beginner I would highly recommend starting here.
I have come across those too. After installing VB .NET Express edition, the welcome page listed the series of Video Tutorials. The size of the files were surprisingly low. Despite the tutorials being ~30 minutes each. And the quality didn't suffer either. But the main aspect was the tutorial which was very well backed up by the tutor's voice. And yes, they help you get started much faster than reading countless pages. The only drawback in this way of learning is that the amount of content is less. But, then again, these are meant to be starting points for beginners. You can always look into the documentation for reference.
Microsoft has been releasing free editions of Visual Basic, often known as Express Editions or Student / Educational Editions.
For downloads, go here: http://ccm.net/download/
If this link errors, google search terms: Free Visual Basic, Free Visual Basic Download, Visual Basic Express Edition -- etc.
If you want to start learning a language or start programming -- although I'd highly advice learning C++ just to begin with and dive into the hard stuff, this is a language -- my first learned programming language -- and I highly recommend it for Windows programming.