Visual Basic

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Visual Basic
Paradigm(s) Object-based and Event-driven
Appeared in 1991; 23 years ago (1991)
Developer Microsoft
Stable release 6.0 / 1998; 16 years ago (1998)
Typing discipline Static, strong
Major implementations Microsoft Visual Studio
Influenced by BASIC
Influenced Visual Basic .NET, Gambas, REALbasic and Basic4ppc
OS Microsoft Windows and MS-DOS
Website msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/

Visual Basic (VB) is a programming language developed by Microsoft for their operating system Windows. The BASIC language is said to be easier to read than other languages.

Visual Basic is a widely understood high-level programming language, written using simple English-like words and syntax. It is an interpreted language, code can be run immediately after being written. Having an interpreter makes it simpler to use, as there is no need for the computer to compile the code, possibly finding errors to fix, before the compiled version can be run. Once the code is working, it can be compiled into an .exe file so that it will run on all modern Windows computers, whether VB is installed or not. The language allows a beginning programmer to produce professional-looking Windows applications, as it includes drawing tools to create normal Windows forms. VB also includes advanced features - concepts and structures which allow programs to be adapted for use with the Internet. Visual Basic will not run on operating systems other than Windows and on machines with non-Intel compatible processors.

Though the program has received criticism for its perceived faults,[1] Visual Basic was a runaway commercial success since its release for version 3 in the summer of 1993.[2] Many companies offered third party controls greatly extending its functionality.

Examples[change | change source]

Dim MyInput
MyInput = InputBox("How old are you?")
If Not IsNumeric(MyInput) Then
   MsgBox "That's not a number!"
ElseIf MyInput < 0 Then
   MsgBox "You cannot be less than zero!"
ElseIf MyInput > 100 Then
   MsgBox "That's old!"
Else
   MsgBox "You're " & MyInput & " years old."
End If
Private Sub Form_Load()
   MsgBox "Hello, World"
End Sub

History[change | change source]

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 (no relation to the Ruby programming language). Tripod did not include a programming language at all. Microsoft decided to combine Ruby with the Basic language to create Visual Basic. The Ruby interface generator provided the "visual" part of Visual Basic and this was combined with the "EB" Embedded BASIC engine designed for Microsoft's abandoned "Omega" database system. Ruby also provided the ability to load dynamic link libraries containing additional controls (then called "gizmos"), which later became the Visual Basic Extension (VBX) interface.[3] Versions of Visual Basic are listed below:

Name Operating System Date Released Description
Visual Basic 1.0 Windows May 1991 This version was first released at the Comdex/Windows World trade show in Atlanta, Georgia.[4]
Visual Basic 1.0 DOS September 1992 This version of the language itself was not quite compatible with Visual Basic for Windows. This was because the language was actually the next version of Microsoft's DOS-based BASIC compilers, QuickBASIC and BASIC Professional Development System. The interface uses a Text user interface, using extended ASCII characters to simulate the appearance of a Graphical user interface.
Visual Basic 2.0 Windows November 1992 The programming environment was easier to use than the 1.0 version, and it was more fast. Notably, forms became instantiable objects, thus laying the foundational concepts of class modules as were later offered in version 4.0.
Visual Basic 3.0 Windows Summer 1993 Visual Basic 3.0 came in Standard and Professional versions. VB3 included version 1.1 of the Microsoft Jet Database Engine that could read and write Jet (or Access) 1.x databases. By the release of this version the product became more successful. However, Visual Basic 3.0 was criticized highly as not being a "true programming language"; It was not able to create actual executable (EXE) files. This meant that any VB program had to be interpreted at runtime and ran slower than a normal computer program.[5]
Visual Basic 4.0 Windows August 1995 This was the first version that can create 32-bit applications as well as 16-bit Windows programs. It has three editions; Standard, Professional, and Enterprise. It also introduced the ability to write non-GUI classes in Visual Basic. Incompatibilities between different releases of Visual Basic 4 caused installation and operation problems. While previous versions of Visual Basic had used the VBX controls, Visual Basic 4.0 used OLE controls (with files names ending in .OCX) instead. These type of controls were later to be named ActiveX controls.
Visual Basic 5.0 Windows February 1997 This version was released exclusively for 32-bit versions of Windows. Programmers who preferred to write 16-bit programs were able to import programs written in Visual Basic 4.0 to Visual Basic 5.0, and Visual Basic 5.0 programs can easily be converted with Visual Basic 4.0.[5] Visual Basic 5.0 also introduced the ability to create custom user controls, as well as the ability to compile to native Windows executable code, speeding up calculation-intensive code execution. 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.
Visual Basic 6.0 Windows Mid 1998 This version improved in a number of areas[6] including the ability to create web-based applications. VB6 entered Microsoft's "non-supported phase" as of March 2008. Although the Visual Basic 6.0 development environment is no longer supported, the runtime is supported on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7.[7] Mainstream Support for Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 ended on March 31, 2005. Extended support ended in March 2008.[8] In response, the Visual Basic user community expressed its grave concern and lobbied users to sign a petition to keep the product alive.[9] Microsoft has so far refused to change their position on the matter. (but see [10]) Ironically, during 2005, it was exposed that Microsoft's new anti-spyware offering, Microsoft AntiSpyware (part of the GIANT Company Software purchase), was coded in Visual Basic 6.0.[11] Its replacement, Windows Defender, was rewritten as C++ code.[12]

Visual Basic .NET[change | change source]

See also: Visual Basic .NET

Visual Basic .NET is the next series of products in Microsoft's successful Visual Basic range of products. It makes creating programs easier because it is possible to drag-and-drop controls into the program. It runs on the .NET Framework and features another long line of programs (see Visual Basic .NET#Editions).

Support[change | change source]

All versions of the Visual Basic development environment from 1.0 to 6.0 have been retired and are now unsupported by Microsoft. The associated runtime environments are unsupported too. This is except of the Visual Basic 6 core runtime environment, which will be officially supported by Microsoft until support of Windows 7 ends.[13] Third party components that shipped with Visual Studio 6.0 are not included in this support statement. Some legacy Visual Basic components may still work on newer platforms. This is despite being unsupported by Microsoft and other vendors.

Development and maintenance development for Visual Basic 6 is possible on Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 2003 using Visual Studio 6.0 platforms, but is unsupported. Documentation for Visual Basic 6.0, its application programming interface and tools is best covered in the last MSDN release before Visual Studio.NET 2002. Later releases of MSDN focused on .NET development and had significant parts of the Visual Basic 6.0 programming documentation removed. The Visual Basic IDE can be installed and used on Windows Vista, where it exhibits some minor incompatibilities which do not hinder normal software development and maintenance. As of August 2008, both Visual Studio 6.0 and the MSDN documentation are available for download by MSDN subscribers.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Thirteen Ways to Loathe VB". http://visualbasic.about.com/od/imhoinmyhumbleopinion/a/aaVerityStob1.htm.
  2. "C++ and Visual Basic - a Short (and Partial) History". Microsoft. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa227231(v=VS.60).aspx.
  3. "The Birth of Visual Basic". http://www.forestmoon.com/BIRTHofVB/BIRTHofVB.html. Rian " Petot " Danao I <3 19
  4. "History of Visual Basic". http://www.max-visual-basic.com/history-of-visual-basic.html. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "How Microsoft Killed Its Own illegitimate Child". January 29, 2008. http://www.vb6.us/articles/microsofts-killing. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  6. www.insteptech.com (2005-07-22). "What's new in VB6?". www.insteptech.com. http://www.insteptech.com/techLibrary/vbClassic/vb6_news.htm.
  7. "Support Statement for Visual Basic 6.0 on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7". Msdn.microsoft.com. 2008-04-08. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vbrun/ms788708.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  8. "Product Family Life Cycle Guidelines for Visual Basic 6.0". Msdn2.microsoft.com. 2005-03-31. http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/vbrun/ms788707.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  9. "Petition to Microsoft". Classicvb.org. 2005-03-08. http://www.classicvb.org/petition/. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  10. Al Tenhundfeld (2009-03-04). "Visual Basic 6.0 to be Supported on Windows 7". The Register. http://www.infoq.com/news/2009/03/vb6_on_win7. Retrieved 2009-03-05.
  11. Andrew Orlowski and Carey Bishop (2005-07-22). "MS Anti-Spyware built on MS Abandonware". The Register. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/07/22/microsoft_spyware_vb6/. Retrieved 2006-10-04.
  12. "Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Defender Beta 2 Review". Winsupersite.com. 2006-02-14. http://www.winsupersite.com/reviews/windefender_beta2.asp. Retrieved 2009-06-16.
  13. "Support Statement for Visual Basic 6.0 on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7". Msdn.microsoft.com. 2008-04-08. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/vbrun/ms788708.aspx. Retrieved 2009-06-16.

Other websites[change | change source]