Programming Business Systems with Visual Basic.Net
Visual Basic.Net is a powerful fifth-generation development tool. It has editors that make building Forms intuitive, it provides IntelliSense and auto-completion to speed up development. It provides many Debugging tools to make building applications easier.
Visual Basic.Net (or VB.Net or VB .Net) was introduced in 2002 and is by now a mature and highly productive language. Although the syntax is simple to understand, the language is not "Basic" at all. VB.Net is a fully object-oriented computer programming language that has greatly evolved from the classic Visual Basic of VB6.
There have been lots of enhancements
Visual Basic.Net has most of the syntax of VB6, but has advanced in scope and complexity. Performance and maintainability are superb. VB.Net has added many new features – structured exception handling, 32 bit Integers, type inference and a far larger class library. With automatic garbage collection, Memory fragmentation problems are a thing of the past.
Here is a series of questions that provide a background to Visual Basic.Net. The answers highlight the problems and opportunities facing the Visual Basic Programmer in using Visual Basic.Net.
How different is VB.Net to VB6?
VB.Net is a complete rewrite of Visual Basic 6. The syntax is still almost the "Visual Basic" of the past, but everything else has changed. VB.Net now has all the functionality of CSharp (C#).
VB.Net is not VB6 with some enhancements. VB.Net is a now an Object Oriented language incorporating Encapsulation, Inheritance and Polymorphism. Compatibility with VB6 has been well and truly broken.
Although VB.Net is now Object Oriented, it is still the best language for business-oriented, database management applications. With strict development standards compliance, most of the complexities of Object Oriented programming can be avoided – see Object Oriented Programming for the Visual Basic.Net Programmer.
How easy is it to learn the VB.Net language?
With Object Orientation, a huge learning curve is involved. It is difficult for the neophyte to learn everything – as VB.Net is so vast. On the other hand, each succeeding Version of Visual Basic.Net makes the language easier to use.
The Microsoft Help system is much improved – and there is a very active VB.Net community. The Internet is a great source of information on Visual Basic.Net.
Is Visual Studio 2017 stable enough to use?
Visual Basic 2017, with the frequent updates, is completely stable and acceptable for mission critical Administration systems.
- Programs developed in VB.Net, together with SQL Server or Microsoft Access, are fast and efficient
- The Charting control graphics are superb
- Publishing has been simplified
- There is a spelling checker that indicates errors as you write
- There are many free extensions that improve programmer efficiency
- VS2017 Updates are frequent and painless
- The NuGet Package Manager simplifies control update procedures
The Release to manufacturing (RTM) version of Visual Studio 2017 is FREE!
What about Third Party controls?
Almost without exceptions, the VB6 Third-Party software suppliers have disappeared. They have been replaced more than adequately by free Microsoft controls. As an example, Microsoft's DataGridView has all the functionality of the old third-party software and more. It is just as easy to use, if not easier then the Third-Party software.
Programming Standards must be enforced
Visual Basic.Net is no longer the simple programming language that could be taught in a few hours.
If programming standards are tightly controlled, the Visual Basic programmers will produce code that is completely maintainable. The programming standards should include a ban on Object Oriented Programming – besides the encapsulation techniques which have always been an essential part of Visual Basic programming.
Maintainability and simplicity go hand in hand.