Introduction to Visual Basic
Visual Basic has been the most popular programming environment for more than twelve years.
If you want to learn how to program, Visual Basic is the language for you. It is very easy
to use, yet very powerful in the Windows Environment.
Visual Basic is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). That means when you start
Visual Basic, you have everything you need at your command. You can design your application's
interface, write the code, test the code, compile the code, and create an installation
package all from within Visual Basic's IDE.
Visual Basic is a "visual" development environment. That means you don't write code to
design your applications interface. Instead you use your mouse pointer to drag objects such
as buttons, text boxes, and scrollbars from the toolbox to your form, and then use your
mouse to place and size the objects.
Visual Basic is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool, which means that you can
whip out a working program in a matter of minutes. Many software organizations use Visual
Basic to create a quick prototype, which they can later optimize by converting parts or
all of the application to C++ language. Most software organizations use Visual Basic from
start to final product.
Sounds good. So what are the draw backs?
Visual Basic has a reputation for being slow. The fact is that no quick 3D shooter game
will ever be created with Visual Basic. If you plan to develop a quick 3D shooter game,
use C++ (better yet C) optimized by converting parts the code to assembly language.
Visual Basic requires the run-time DLL. That means the computer that you install your
application on must have the file msvbvm60.dll installed (For Visual Basic 6). You can
distribute the run-time DLL with your application, but that adds about 1.5 Meg to your
distribution disc. Or you can assume the user will already have the DLL installed on their
computer, which is almost a sure thing since run-time DLL's for the last several versions
of Visual Basic are installed with the Windows Operating System. Or the user can download
the required DLL from the Internet (It's readily available).
Visual Basic is made easy to use by hiding the complexity from you. Some C++ programmers
consider Visual Basic programmers to be dummies. In fact some C++ programmers say Visual
Basic not a real programming language, it's a dialog box designing application. Of
course assembly language programmers consider C++ programmers to be dummies.
Despite Microsoft's attempt to pass Visual Basic.net off as a "web programming tool", it's
not. All the latest web technologies, like XML and SOAP, can be programmed using a simple text
editor. As a web programming tool, Visual Basic is still in the business of hiding complexity.