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1. Introduction

Visual Studio .NET 2003

The Microsoft® Visual Basic® .NET programming language is a high-level programming language for the Microsoft .NET Framework. Although it is designed to be an approachable and easy-to-learn language, it is also powerful enough to satisfy the needs of experienced programmers. The Visual Basic .NET programming language is closely related to the Visual Basic programming language but the two languages are not the same. A discussion of the differences between Visual Basic .NET and Visual Basic 6.0 is beyond the scope of this document.

The Visual Basic .NET programming language has a syntax that is similar to English, which promotes the clarity and readability of Visual Basic .NET code. Wherever possible, meaningful words or phrases are used instead of abbreviations, acronyms, or special characters. Extraneous or unneeded syntax is generally allowed but not required.

The Visual Basic .NET programming language can be either a strongly typed or a loosely typed language. Loose typing defers much of the burden of type checking until a program is already running. This includes not only type checking of conversions but also of method calls, meaning that the binding of a method call can be deferred until run-time. This is useful when building prototypes or other programs in which speed of development is more important than execution speed. The Visual Basic .NET programming language also provides strongly typed semantics that performs all type checking at compile-time and disallows run-time binding of method calls. This guarantees maximum performance and helps ensure that type conversions are correct. This is useful when building production applications in which speed of execution and execution correctness is important.

This document describes the Visual Basic .NET language. It is meant to be a complete language description rather than a language tutorial or a user's reference manual.

See Also

1.1 Grammar Notation