Tuesday, 28 August 2012

VB.NET Programming lesson #1 - Getting Started


What is VB.NET?

VB.NET or Visual Basic.NET is a programming language based on Visual Basic and further back than that on the BASIC programming language. It is considered one of the easier programming languages to use. It's ease of use however doesn't make it any less powerful than other programming languages.

Why to learn VB.NET from the command line

VB.NET is usually learnt using a graphical IDE (Integrated Development Environment) such as Visual Studio which is why it is called Visual Basic.NET. There is nothing particularly wrong with learning it from a graphical IDE but there are quite a few advantages to learning VB.NET from the command line. These advantages include:
  • Learning how the proper flow of a program from beginning to end works
  • More of a focus is put on coding rather than the completely simple visual design work
  • It is simple to learn visual programming after learning from the command line but the opposite is not true
  • You will learn how to solve real programming problems rather than simple things like showing a few message boxes and changing the color of buttons
  • You will learn to understand what is going on behind the scenes when a program is compiled in a graphical IDE
  • You won't have to buy an expensive IDE because command line programming is almost always free
  • You will be able to adapt to ASP.NET a lot more easily later on because it processes code in the same way as a console application
  • People who first learnt programming using a graphical IDE tend to not be as good at programming as people who didn't
It is not as easy or as much fun learning from the command line but the easiest way of doing something is often not the best way to do it. If you really must use a graphical IDE then you will still be able to follow these lessons but you will have to figure out how to create console applications in your chosen IDE. It is a good idea to use a graphical IDE such as Visual Studio because it makes it a lot easier to start programming console applications.

Installing the VB.NET compiler

You will need a compiler to create VB.NET programs. If you are using Visual Studio then everything you need will already be installed. If you aren't using Visual Studio then you can use the .NET Framework Software Development Kit. This tutorial uses the Microsoft VB.NET compiler and version 2.0 of the language. Make sure your have installed the .NET Framework Software Development Kit before continuing with the lessons.

You are now ready to start writing your first VB.NET program which you will learn how to do in the next lesson.

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