Visual Basic 6
Please read all of this page for it contains important information about the two different and rather incompatible families of Visual Basic.
Learning to program is worthwhile because:
- computer programming is a highly creative process!
- programming languages are highly structured and demand disciplined thinking
- there are large numbers of good careers waiting for talented programmers
- even students who do not intend to become programmers are almost certain to use Microsoft programs such as Word or Excel on a regular basis, and Visual Basic can be used to take control over such programs (a form of Visual Basic called Visual Basic for Applications or VBA is built in to such programs).
- a subset of Visual Basic known as Visual Basic Script can be used to add interactivity to web pages.
- later versions of Visual Basic can be used to produce advanced web pages directly
- programming is fun!
Microsoft Visual Basic is one of the most popular programming languages in the world, and with good reason:
- It is easy to learn how to make simple programs (complex programs are never easy to program in any language)
- It is extremely powerful - it can be used to create almost any type of program you can imagine
- It's fast, due to the fact that it is a compiled language and also to the improvements that have been made to the program in recent years
- There are a vast amounts of support materials on the Internet for VB programmers (see the links page above)
- It's free! There are many versions of Visual Basic and certain versions are available free from Microsoft. See below.
Microsoft has released at least 9 different versions of Visual Basic, in two families.
The first family, versions 1 to 6 was introduced from 1991 to 1998 and none of these versions are on sale any more, nor are they supported by Microsoft. The full version of VB6 was never free and in any case is no longer for sale, though some companies continue to use it for the time being. Microsoft stopped supporting VB6 in March 2008. Programs written in old versions (up to VB6) are not compatible with current versions of Visual Basic unless they are converted. Conversion is often difficult, except for the very simplest of programs.
The second family, introduced in 2002, was initially called Visual Basic.NET. The extension .NET has since been dropped. Programs written with the new family are not compatible with previous versions.
I offer two courses here, one on Visual Basic version 6 and one on current versions of Visual Basic. I strongly recommend of course that you learn the current version rather than VB 6.
Current versions of Visual Basic are available in free versions called 'Express' versions. Microsoft claims they are easier to use than previous versions but that is not necessarily so - they may have been simplified for beginners but they are still much more sophisticated than VB6, for example, and sophistication always comes at a price of being harder to master. Current versions of Visual Basic are 'fully Object Oriented' which means they is in line with other popular languages such as Java and C++ and has all the features that professionals look for. This makes the code more complicated and less user-friendly.
Visual Basic 2010 Express Edition is free to download (you may need to register) - this edition is now in use in our school alongside VB6 and I will be concentrating on this version in future, and using VB6 much less. If you are doing my course in VB 2010 I strongly encourage you to download and install Visual Basic Express Edition 2010 on your PC (not Mac-OS compatible.)
You can either download it alone or as part of a larger package called Visual Studio 2010 Express but I suggest you do NOT download the Studio version - let's 'Keep It Simple, Stupid' (KISS).
You can read more about Visual Basic.NET in this Wikpedia article.
There is also Visual Studio 2012 Express Edition which I assume includes Visual Basic 2012 Express Edition but which I have not tried. Find out about Visual Studio 2012 Express Edition HERE.
Follow the links in the pull-down menu for more.