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Visual Basic Introduction and History

What is Visual Basic?

VISUAL BASIC is a high level programming language which 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 code look a lot like English Language.
Different software companies produced different versions of BASIC, such as Microsoft
QBASIC, QUICKBASIC, GWBASIC ,IBM BASICA and so on. However, people prefer to use
Microsoft Visual Basic today, as it is a well developed programming language and supporting
resources are available everywhere. Now, there are many versions of VB exist in the market,
the most popular one and still widely used by many VB programmers is none other than Visual
Basic 6. We also have, VB2005 , VB2008 and the latest VB2010, which is a fully
object oriented programming (OOP) language. It is more powerful than VB6 but looks more
complicated to master.

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 VB, programming is done in a graphical
environment. In the old BASIC, you have to write program code for each graphical object
you wish to display it on screen, including its position and its color. However, In VB , you just
need to drag and drop any graphical object anywhere on the form, and you can change its
color any time using the properties windows.

On the other hand, because the user may click on certain object randomly, so each object
has to be programmed independently to be able to response to those actions (events).
Therefore, a VB Program is made up of many subprograms, each has its own program code,
and each can be executed independently and at the same time each can be linked together in
one way or another.

History of Visual Basic

Alan Cooper is considered the father of Visual Basic. In 1987, then Director of Applications
Software for Coactive Computing Corporation wrote a program called Ruby that delivered
visual programming to the average programmer/user. VB 1.0 was introduced in 1991. The drag
and drop design for creating the user interface is derived from a prototype form generator
developed by Alan Cooper and his company called Tripod. Microsoft contracted with Cooper
and his associates to develop Tripod into a programmable form system for Windows 3.0,
under the code name Ruby .Tripod did not include a programming language at all. Microsoft
decided to combine Ruby with the Basic language to create Visual Basic.

Visual Basic can used in a number of different areas, for example: Education, Engineering,
Research, Medicine, Business, Commerce, Marketing and Sales, Accounting, Consulting, Law,
Visual Basic Introduction and History
Evolution of Visual Basic

March 6, 1988
Microsoft Buys Tripod
Alan Cooper, the 'father' of Visual Basic, shows a drag-and-drop shell prototype called
Tripod to Bill Gates. Microsoft negotiates to buy the concept, now code-named Ruby. The
Tool includes a widget control box, the ability to add widgets dynamically, and a small
language engine.
March 20, 1991
Visual Basic 1.0 Debuts at Windows World
Microsoft marries QuickBasic to Ruby shell app and gives it a new code name: Thunder. The
result is the first tool that lets you create Windows apps quickly, easily, and visually.
Features include a drag and drop control toolbox, codeless UI creation, and an event-
oriented programming model.
March 1992
Visual Basic 2.0 Toolkit (Rawhide) Released
This toolkit integrated several third-party tools into a single package, putting controls in the
hands of many VB developers for the first time. It provided instrumental in helping VB's
third party market achieve critical mass.
September 1992
Visual Basic 1.0 for DOS is released. Figure this one out :)
The language itself was not quite compatible with Visual Basic for Windows, as it was
actually the next version of Microsoft's DOS-based BASIC compilers, QuickBASIC and
BASIC Professional Development System.
November 1992
Visual Basic 2 Debuts
Adds ODBC Level 1 support, MDI forms, and object variables. First version to feature the
Professional Edition. The programming environment was easier to use, and its speed was
June 1993
Visual Basic 3 Debuts
Integrates the Access Engine (Jet), OLE Automation and reporting. It came in both
Standard and Professional versions. Visual Basic 3 included version 1.1 of the Microsoft Jet
DatabaseEngine that could read and write Jet (or Access) 1.x databases.
October 1996
Visual Basic 4 Debuts
Permits you to create your own add-ins. Also introduces classes and OCX's. Was the first
version that could created 32 bit as well as 16-bit Windows programs.
April 1997
Visual Basic 5 Debuts
Incorporates compiler, WithEvents, and the ability to create ActiveX controls. A free,
downloadable Control Creation Edition was also released for creation of ActiveX controls. It
was also used as an introductory form of Visual Basic: a regular. exe project could be
created and run in the IDE, but not compiled.
October 1998
Visual Basic 6 Debuts
Introduces WebClasses, windowless controls, data designers, new reporting designers, and
the ability to create data sources.
Visual Basic Introduction and History

Visual Basic Version Summary.

The evolution of Visual Basic can be summarized by the following table:

Version 1 (for Windows) – March 20, 1991

Version 1 (for MS-DOS) – September 1992
Version 2 – November 1992
Version 3 – June 1993
VBA (VB for Applications) – 1993
Version 4 – October 1996 (16- and 32-bit support)
Version 5 – April 1997 (no 16-bit support)
Version 6 – October 1998 (part of Visual Studio)
Version 7 (.NET) – February 2002
Version 7.1 (.NET 2003) – April 2003
VBA .NET for Office 2003 – October 2003
Version 8 (.NET 2.0, Visual Studio 2005) – November 2005
Version 9 (.NET 3.5, Visual Studio 2008) – released November 2007
Version 10 (Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0) – in Pre-release as of October 31, 2008

Visual Basic Editions

Visual Basic is available in three editions, each geared to meet a specific set of development
requirements. The features available to you depend on which product you have purchased.
Visual Basic Enterprise Edition
The Enterprise edition allows professionals to create robust distributed applications in a
team setting. It includes all the features of the Professional edition, plus Back Office tools
such as SQL Server, Microsoft Transaction Server, Internet Information Server, Visual
SourceSafe, SNA Server, and more. Printed documentation provided with the Enterprise
edition includes the Visual Studio Enterprise Features book plus Microsoft Developer
Network CDs containing full online documentation.
Visual Basic Professional Edition
The Professional edition provides computer professionals with a full-featured set of tools
for developing solutions for others. It includes all the features of the Learning edition, plus
additional ActiveX controls, the Internet Information Server Application Designer,
Integrated Data Tools and Data Environment, and the Dynamic HTML Page Designer.
Documentation provided with the Professional edition includes the Visual Studio Professional
Features book plus Microsoft Developer Network CDs containing full online documentation.
Visual Basic Introduction and History
Visual Basic Learning Edition
The Visual Basic Learning edition allows programmers to easily create powerful applications
for Microsoft Windows and Windows NT®. It includes all intrinsic controls, plus grid, tab,
and data-bound controls. Documentation provided with this edition includes Learn VB Now (a
multimedia CD-ROM title), plus Microsoft Developer Network CDs containing full online
Integrated development environment

IDEs typically present a single program in which all development is done. This program
typically provides many features for authoring, modifying, compiling, deploying and debugging
software. The aim is to abstract the configuration necessary to piece together command line
utilities in a cohesive unit, which theoretically reduces the time to learn a language, and
increases developer productivity. It is also thought that the tight integration of
development tasks can further increase productivity. For example, code can be compiled
while being written, providing instant feedback on syntax errors. While most modern IDEs
are graphical. An IDE normally consists of:

 a source code editor

 a compiler and/or an interpreter
 build automation tools
 a debugger
Visual Basic Introduction and History

• Menu / Toolbar
This is the only element of the IDE which is always visible. You use it to select which
other IDE elements to view and to add forms or controls to your project.

The toolbox is simply a library of
controls which you can place on your
application. Once you've placed all
the controls you need onto your
applications forms, you can hide the
toolbox to make room for working in
the other elements of the IDE.

Project Window
This is simply a list of all the forms
which make up your VB project. There
are several kinds of forms.

Property Window
Such things as push-buttons, scrolling
text boxes, pictures boxes and other
features of most VB applications allow
you to enter parameters which define
how these controls work. In VB, these
parameters are called properties.
Some properties can be entered at
design time within the IDE, while
others must be entered with code
while the program is running.

You add these to your VB application as
they are needed. They are the windows
which hold the various controls (buttons,
text boxes, etc.) which make up your
Visual Basic Introduction and History

Code Window
Like it's name
implies, this is where
you type in the code
that VB executes.
Notice that the
heading of the
window indicates
with which event the
code is associated.

Defining Some Basic Terms

The concept of computer programming
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.
Event-Driven Programming
In an event-driven application, the code doesn't follow a predetermined path — it executes
different code sections in response to events. Events can be triggered by the user's actions,
by messages from the system or other applications, or even from the application itself. The
sequence of these events determines the sequence in which the code executes, thus the
path through the application's code differs each time the program runs.
What is an Enterprise Application?
An enterprise application is a business application, obviously. As most people use the term, it
is a big business application. In today’s corporate environment, enterprise applications are
complex, scalable, distributed, component-based, and mission-critical. They may be deployed
on a variety of platforms across corporate networks, intranets, or the Internet. They are
data-centric, user-friendly, and must meet stringent requirements for security,
administration, and maintenance. In short, they are highly complex systems.
An application is a collection of objects that work together to accomplish something useful. In VB
the application is called a Project. A Project could be a the management of a Video store, the
calculation of mortgages, a dating service or the Payroll
Object (Properties, Methods and Events)
An object is a piece of software that has properties, Method and Events that can be
manipulated. Visual Basic forms and controls are objects which expose their own properties,
methods and events. Properties can be thought of as an object's attributes, methods as its
actions, and events as its responses.
Visual Basic Introduction and History
Project File Formats
Microsoft Visual Basic utilizes and creates a number of files at both design and run time.
Which files will be required by your project or application depends upon its scope and
Design-time and Miscellaneous Files
The following table lists all the design-time and miscellaneous other files that may be
produced when you develop an application:
Extension Description
.bas Basic module
.cls Class module
.ctl User Control file
.ctx User Control binary file
.frm Form file
.frx Binary form file
.log Log file for load errors
.vbp Visual Basic project file

Run-Time Files
When you compile your application, all the necessary design-time files are included in the
run-time executable files. Run-time files are listed in the following table:
Extension Description
.dll In-process ActiveX component
.exe Executable file or ActiveX component
.ocx ActiveX control