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Introduction to the Visual Basic Programming Language

Visual Studio 2008

Visual Basic Express is a fast and easy way to create programs for Microsoft Windows. Even if you are new to Windows programming, with Visual Basic you have a complete set of tools to simplify development.

So what is Visual Basic? "Visual" refers to the method used to create what the user sees—the graphical user interface, or GUI. "Basic" refers to the BASIC (Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language, a language used by more programmers than any other language in the history of computing. You can create useful programs by learning just a few of its features. The following links will get you started with Visual Basic programming; each link includes examples, as well as access to additional information.

What exactly is a programming language? The following links will give you some background on what a language is and how it stores different types of information.

The Basics: How Programming Works

How a programming language works, along with basic terminology.

Representing Words, Numbers, and Values with Variables

How variables store values and represent information, along with how to use variables.

Words and Text: Using String Variables to Organize Words

How to use a String variable to represent words and text.

Arrays: Variables That Represent More Than One Value

How to use an Array variable to represent several values of the same type.

Arithmetic: Creating Expressions with Variables and Operators

How to write code that performs arithmetic.

Comparisons: Using Expressions to Compare Values

How to write code that compares numeric values.

Ready for a bit of real-world programming? The following links will lead you through the creation of a simple program and will show you how to check your program for errors.

Making a Computer Do Something: Writing Your First Procedure

How to write code that tells your program to perform a particular action.

Making a Program Repeat Actions: Looping with the For...Next Loop

How to write code that repeats actions in your program and counts how many times these actions have been performed.

Making a Program Choose Between Two Possibilities: The If...Then Statement

How to write code that does different things in response to different conditions.

What To Do When Something Goes Wrong: Handling Errors

How to write code that handles errors in your programs. You will also learn about the different types of errors.

The following links will help you increase your knowledge of programming and of the Visual Basic language.

Closer Look: Understanding Properties, Methods, and Events

How properties, methods, and events work.

Closer Look: Data Types

How data is stored using the different types of variables.

Closer Look: Converting from One Variable Type to Another

How to convert data from one type to another, along with some common pitfalls of this process.

Closer Look: Using Do...While and Do...Until to Repeat Until a Condition Is Met

How to use the Do...While and Do...Until statements to repeat code based on certain conditions.

Closer Look: Using Select Case to Decide Between Multiple Choices

How to run code based on multiple conditions, where there are many choices.

Visual Basic Guided Tour

More of what you can do with the Visual Basic programming language.