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A Programmer's Introduction to Visual Basic.NET (Kaleidoscope)

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Do you remember the moment when you wrote your first Visual Basic application? For some people, that moment happened ten years ago, when Microsoft released Visual Basic 1.0 in 1991. For others, that moment comes today, when they use Visual Basic.NET for the first time. Whenever it happens, you experience a feeling familiar to all VB programmers: “Wow! This makes development easy!” It happened to me in 1994, when I wrote my first application using Visual Basic 3.0. The application was a data-entry form with a data control, some text boxes, and an OK button—a simple application that read and wrote data to a Microsoft Access database. It took only a quarter of an hour to develop, and most importantly: I had fun doing it! When I finished, I realized that in fifteen minutes, VB had turned me into a Windows programmer, and my head started filling up with ideas of amazing programs I could write using VB. Suddenly, I was hooked.

I wasn’t alone. Since its inception in 1991, more than three million other developers have become hooked on VB. Visual Basic 1.0 revolutionized the way people developed software for Windows; it demystified the process of Windows application development and opened up programming to the masses. In its more than seven versions, Visual Basic has continued to provide us with the features we need to create rich, powerful Windows applications and as our needs evolved, so too did the Visual Basic feature set. In VB 1.0, database programming was limited to CardFile, the editor did not support Intellisense, and there were no Web development capabilities. Over the years, features such as these have been introduced and enhanced: VB 3.0 introduced the DAO data control and enabled us to easily write applications that interact with information in Access databases. When Windows 95 was released, VB 4.0 opened the door to 32-bit development and delivered the ability to write class modules and DLLs. VB 5.0 delivered productivity improvements with Intellisense in code and ActiveX control authoring. VB 6.0 introduced us to Internet programming with WebClasses and ActiveX DHTML pages.

About the Author

Craig Utley is President of CIOBriefings LLC, a consulting and training firm focused on helping customers develop enterprise-wide solutions with Microsoft technologies. Craig has been using Visual Basic since version 1.0, and he has guided customers through the creation of highly scalable Web applications using Active Server Pages, Visual Basic, MTS/Component Services, and SQL Server. Craig's skills in analyzing and designing enterprise-wide solutions have been used by large corporations and start-up companies alike. A frequent conference speaker as well as a book, courseware, and article author, Craig has recently spent much time writing about VB.NET and ASP.NET for both Sams and Volant Training.

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