Introduction to Visual Basic 2005 Express
By Stephen Bucaro
Visual Basic Express is the "lite" version of Microsoft's Windows applications
development environment. It's a fully functional development tool for professional
programmers, hobbyists, and people interested in learning how to program in Visual Basic.
For many years Microsoft's Visual Basic has been the programming environment
of choice for the development of Windows programs. Visual Basic version 6 probably
has the largest installed base of any programming environment on this planet. Why?
Because the Visual Basic IDE (Integrated Development Environment) does so much
"hand holding" for you.
What's Missing in the Express version?
Visual Basic 2005 Express lets you create complete distributable applications
that can access a database or a web service. But you can only access a local
data base, you can't access a remote data base, and it doesn't support the
development of web applications or mobile device services. It also doesn't
provide the environment needed for programmers who work in a team.
Visual Basic Express Project Types
Each application that you create is contained within its own project. All
the files specific to that project are saved in the project's folder. When you
select "New Project" in the Visual Basic Express menu, the "New Project" dialog
box appears and displays icons for the project types that you can create.
You can choose to create a Windows application, a class library, or a console
application. A Windows application project creates an executable file (.exe) with
a visual interface. A class library creates a dynamic linked library file (.dll)
which contains reusable classes or components that can be shared with other projects.
A console application is similar to a DOS command that you run from the DOS
prompt. Use this project type when your application doesn't need a visual interface.
The "New Project" dialog box also presents you with icons to select "starter
kits". A starter kit is a pre-built application that you can customize to get up
and running quickly. Visual Basic Express comes with a starter kit for a Movie
collection database and a starter kit for screen savers.
Object Oriented Programming
Visual Basic Express is an object oriented programming tool. In object
oriented programming, you program by defining "classes". A class can have data
fields, properties, methods, and events. A data field is a value that an object
can hold, like a program variable.
A property is an attribute of an object, such as size, color, screen
location, or the state of an object, such as enabled or disabled. A method is a
unit of functionality, a behavior, something an object can do. One thing a
method might do is manipulate the objects fields and properties.
Events are occurrences that objects can respond to. For example if the user
clicks on a button object, the button object's event handling procedure tells
the program what to do when the user clicks on that particular button.