Monday, October 30, 2006

Visual Basic FAQ

If you're thinking about using Visual Basic, here are the basics.

What is MS Visual Basic?
A relatively easy scripting language based on the original, straightforward BASIC scripting language. It’s an ‘object oriented language,’ which means that the starting point of its programming is an object, generally a window, on which a scripter will put buttons, textboxes, etc., then write script to give those sub-objects functions.


How do I get MS Visual Basic?
Currently (October 2006) you can download VisualBasic Express for free from Microsoft here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/express/vb/download/

However, Microsoft is expected to start charging for it before the end of the year. Currently Microsoft asks users to register, but they won’t ask you to pay.

Just download it and install it. Currently at the GSAPP you’ll need to write tech support to get permission to install outside software on your in-house computer.

note: If you plan to reference compiled information such as databases in your scripts, you’ll want to install the SQL server when prompted during installation.


What's the difference between a VB script and a program?
Like most programming languages, VB reads the scripts you write, then, when you ask it to, it compiles the script into a program that you can run just like any other program in Windows. VB 2005, however has a very useful debug feature that lets you run the program as if it were already compiled.



How do I learn the basics of VB?
The help menu’s ‘guided tour’ has a well-done fundamentals of programming tutorial.
Also useful is http://www.vbtutor.net/.

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