Visual Basic .NET

BASIC was not originally considered to be a professional programming language. BASIC is an acronym that stands for Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code, and the language was originally developed in 1964 by John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire as an easy-to-use high-level programming language. It was subsequently used in various forms to teach programming to computing students, and is still a popular choice for learning to program. Microsoft's Visual Basic first appeared in 1991. It provided both an event-driven programming language and an integrated development environment (IDE) , and was relatively easy to learn. It could be used to quickly produce a graphical user interface (GUI) , to which functional code could be added with relative ease. The final (and highly popular) version of Visual Basic to be released by Microsoft was Visual Basic 6 which was released in 1998.

Derivatives of Visual Basic have been developed for use in web page scripting (VBScript) and with Microsoft applications such as Microsoft Access and Excel (Visual Basic for Applications, or just VBA) . VBScript can be used for both client-side web page scripting (in place of or alongside JavaScript) and for Microsoft's Active Server Pages (ASP) , a server-side technology. Versions of Visual basic prior to and including Visual Basic 6.0 are no longer supported by Microsoft, and have been succeeded by Visual Basic .NET - part of the .NET platform. The platform includes the ASP.NET web application framework, which supercedes Microsoft's Active Server Pages.

Microsoft Visual Basic .NET first appeared in February 2002 and was the successor to Visual Basic 6. Visual Basic .NET has undergone an evolutionary process, and is now available as an integral component of the Microsoft Visual Studio suite of applications, which includes Visual C#, Visual C++, Visual Web Developer, and other development tools. Microsoft have made the Express version of their Visual Studio software available for non-commercial use free of charge, which is very good news for students and others wishing to learn how to program with Visual Basic. Although the sample code and programs provided in these pages have all been developed using the full version Visual Basic 2010 (the current version at the time of writing) , most if not all of the of the code will work with the Express version without change.

Those familiar with Visual Basic 6 will find many changes in Visual Basic .NET, most of which are designed to put VB on an equal footing with more "traditional" object oriented programming languages, like C++. Many familiar controls and other features are still to be found, but there have been significant changes in, for example, program syntax. Note also that the recommended hardware specification includes a 1.6 GHz or faster processor, with 1Gb RAM or above for the x86 version or 2Gb or above for the x64 version. Like earlier versions of Visual Basic, Visual Basic .NET provides much of the code required to create the user interface, unlike a non-visual programming language in which much of the programmer's time is spent coding the user interface. The ability to quickly and easily create a user interface with the built-in features of the language results in a standardised interface for Windows applications.