Visual Basic and Visual Basic.Net Version History
Visual Basic is a programming language created by Microsoft, based on the BASIC language. It is a Rapid Application Development (RAD) system that enables programmers to quickly build applications.
Visual Basic has gone through many changes over its lifetime. The latest incarnation, VB.Net, has evolved to be particularly powerful, productive and stable.
Visual Basic is no longer "Basic". It is a highly evolved programming language – with all the functionality and performance of C Sharp (C#).
Visual Basic is easy to read, program and maintain. It is at its best in implementing the business rules and logic required of company applications.
A brief history of Visual Basic
Visual Basic 1 VB1
Project 'Thunder' was released for Windows at the Comdex/Windows World trade show in Atlanta, Georgia.
Visual Basic 1 for MS-DOS
This release updated Microsoft's QuickBASIC Professional Development System with a new library that enabled use of a character-based Windowing system.
Visual Basic 2 VB2
With VB2, forms became instantiable objects, laying the concepts of class modules as were later offered in VB4. Included ODBC for accessing a database.
Visual Basic 3 VB3
VB3 was released in Standard and Professional versions. VB3 included the Microsoft Jet Database Engine that could read and write to the Access database.
Visual Basic 4 VB4
VB4 added 32-bit code compilation. Introduced classes, giving VB object orientation though inheritance. VB4 also replaced the VBX with a new type of add-on called OCX (OLE Control Extension), based on COM, Microsoft's component programming model.
Visual Basic 5 VB5
VB5 introduced the ability to create OCX custom user controls, as well as the ability to compile to native Windows executable code. VB5 no longer supported compilation to 16-bit executables.
Visual Basic 6 VB6
VB6 improved in a number of areas, including the ability to create web-based applications. VB6 has now entered Microsoft's "non-supported phase". VB6 is still in use today for maintaining existing applications. For the latest Windows Operating Systems, it must be run in compatibility mode.
Visual Basic.Net VB7
Visual Basic.Net was the first version to target the .NET Framework. VB.Net introduced full object orientation and cleaned up anomalies in the language. The language was not fully compatible with VB6 and caused difficulty in migrating existing code.
Visual Basic.Net VB8
The language continued to evolve, with features like the "Using" statement for freeing resources automatically. It supports generic types (a collection of objects) and nullable types (handles empty database fields). It added the ability (not too well) to modify code while debugging, called Edit and Continue.
Visual Basic.Net VB9
The new features are:
- Support for the language-integrated query (LINQ).
- Other features include extension methods, type inference, anonymous types and Lambda Expressions (nameless functions).
VB has strayed far from its roots as a simple programming language. None of these additions improve productivity in developing commercial business systems.
Visual Basic.Net VB10
Most of the new features relate to large programming teams or object oriented programming – and are of little interest to the Visual Basic Programmer.
The new features of interest are:
- Implicit Line Continuation
- Properties created in one-line statements
- The Primary Interop Assembly (Microsoft Office applications) has a reduced footprint size
Visual Basic.Net VB11
The new Visual Basic features are:
- Better support for Asynchronous processing
- The Yield keyword to iterate through a collection
- Call Hierarchy shows where a Method is called
- Code Clone Analysis and Launch Performance Wizard
- Performance Analysis tool for tracking CPU and Memory usage
Visual Basic.Net VB12
Visual Studio 2013 was released in November 2013.
There was little of value or use for the Visual Basic Programmer.
Visual Basic.Net VB14
Visual Studio Professional 2015 was launched in August 2015.
- Compiling is faster
- Publishing Websites is much, much faster
- Website page load times are much improved
- Visual Basic has been rewritten from scratch
- The big news is that VS2015 is free!
VS2015 is now stable after multiple updates.
Visual Basic.Net VB15
Visual Studio 2017 was released in March 2017.
The new features are:
- Reduced minimum footprint
- Installs faster with less system impact
- Easy to select and install features
- Monitor extensions that impact performance
- Revamped Start Page
- Supports SQL Server Database 2016
- Visual Basic analyser to enforce coding standards
Visual Studio 2017, with multiple updates, is reasonably stable but with the odd hiccup. ASP.Net has improved markedly.