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Visual Basic (VB)/

Visual Basic (VB) is the third-generation event-driven programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft for its COM programming model. VB is also considered a relatively easy to learn and use programming language, because of its graphical development features and BASIC heritage.

Visual Basic was derived from BASIC and enables the rapid application development (RAD) of graphical user interface (GUI) applications, access to databases using Data Access Objects, Remote Data Objects, or ActiveX Data Objects, and creation of ActiveX controls and objects. Scripting languages such as VBA and VBScript are syntactically similar to Visual Basic, but perform differently.

A programmer can put together an application using the components provided with Visual Basic itself. Programs written in Visual Basic can also use the Windows API, but doing so requires external function declarations.

The final release was version 6 in 1998. Microsoft's extended support ended in March 2008 and the designated successor was Visual Basic .NET (now known simply as Visual Basic).

Language features
Like the BASIC programming language, Visual Basic was designed to be easy to learn and use. The language not only allows programmers to create simple GUI applications, but can also develop complex applications. Programming in VB is a combination of visually arranging components or controls on a form, specifying attributes and actions of those components, and writing additional lines of code for more functionality. Since default attributes and actions are defined for the components, a simple program can be created without the programmer having to write many lines of code. Performance problems were experienced by earlier versions, but with faster computers and native code compilation this has become less of an issue.

Although programs can be compiled into native code executables from version 5 onwards, they still require the presence of runtime libraries of approximately 1 MB in size. This runtime is included by default in Windows 2000 and later, but for earlier versions of Windows like 95/98/NT it must be distributed together with the executable.

Forms are created using drag-and-drop techniques. A tool is used to place controls (e.g., text boxes, buttons, etc.) on the form (window). Controls have attributes and event handlers associated with them. Default values are provided when the control is created, but may be changed by the programmer. Many attribute values can be modified during run time based on user actions or changes in the environment, providing a dynamic application. For example, code can be inserted into the form resize event handler to reposition a control so that it remains centered on the form, expands to fill up the form, etc. By inserting code into the event handler for a keypress in a text box, the program can automatically translate the case of the text being entered, or even prevent certain characters from being inserted.

Visual Basic can create executables (EXE files), ActiveX controls, or DLL files, but is primarily used to develop Windows applications and to interface database systems. Dialog boxes with less functionality can be used to provide pop-up capabilities. Controls provide the basic functionality of the application, while programmers can insert additional logic within the appropriate event handlers. For example, a drop-down combination box will automatically display its list and allow the user to select any element. An event handler is called when an item is selected, which can then execute additional code created by the programmer to perform some action based on which element was selected, such as populating a related list.

Alternatively, a Visual Basic component can have no user interface, and instead provide ActiveX objects to other programs via Component Object Model (COM). This allows for server-side processing or an add-in module.

The language is garbage collected using reference counting, has a large library of utility objects, and has basic object oriented support. Since the more common components are included in the default project template, the programmer seldom needs to specify additional libraries. Unlike many other programming languages, Visual Basic is generally not case sensitive, although it will transform keywords into a standard case configuration and force the case of variable names to conform to the case of the entry within the symbol table entry. String comparisons are case sensitive by default, but can be made case insensitive if so desired.

The Visual Basic compiler is shared with other Visual Studio languages (C, C++), but restrictions in the IDE do not allow the creation of some targets (Windows model DLL's) and threading models.

[edit] Characteristics present in Visual Basic
Visual Basic has the following traits which differ from C-derived languages:

Multiple assignment available in C language is not possible. A = B = C does not imply that the values of A, B and C are equalled. The boolean result of "Is B = C?" is stored in A. The result stored in A could therefore be false(0) or true(-1)
Boolean constant True has numeric value −1.[3] This is because the Boolean data type is stored as a 16-bit signed integer. In this construct −1 evaluates to 16 binary 1s (the Boolean value True), and 0 as 16 0s (the Boolean value False). This is apparent when performing a Not operation on a 16 bit signed integer value 0 which will return the integer value −1, in other words True = Not False. This inherent functionality becomes especially useful when performing logical operations on the individual bits of an integer such as And, Or, Xor and Not.[4] This definition of True is also consistent with BASIC since the early 1970s Microsoft BASIC implementation and is also related to the characteristics of CPU instructions at the time.
Logical and bitwise operators are unified. This is unlike some C-derived languages (such as Perl), which have separate logical and bitwise operators. This again is a traditional feature of BASIC.
Variable array base. Arrays are declared by specifying the upper and lower bounds in a way similar to Pascal and Fortran. It is also possible to use the Option Base statement to set the default lower bound. Use of the Option Base statement can lead to confusion when reading Visual Basic code and is best avoided by always explicitly specifying the lower bound of the array. This lower bound is not limited to 0 or 1, because it can also be set by declaration. In this way, both the lower and upper bounds are programmable. In more subscript-limited languages, the lower bound of the array is not variable. This uncommon trait does exist in Visual Basic .NET but not in VBScript.
OPTION BASE was introduced by ANSI, with the standard for ANSI Minimal BASIC in the late 1970s.
Relatively strong integration with the Windows operating system and the Component Object Model.
Banker's rounding as the default behavior when converting real numbers to integers with the Round function.
Integers are automatically promoted to reals in expressions involving the normal division operator (/) so that division of an odd integer by an even integer produces the intuitively correct result. There is a specific integer divide operator (\) which does truncate.
By default, if a variable has not been declared or if no type declaration character is specified, the variable is of type Variant. However this can be changed with Deftype statements such as DefInt, DefBool, DefVar, DefObj, DefStr. There are 12 Deftype statements in total offered by Visual Basic 6.0. The default type may be overridden for a specific declaration by using a special suffix character on the variable name (# for Double, ! for Single, & for Long, % for Integer, $ for String, and @ for Currency) or using the key phrase As (type). VB can also be set in a mode that only explicitly declared variables can be used with the command Option Explicit.

[edit] Evolution of Visual Basic
VB 1.0 was introduced in 1991. The drag and drop design for creating the user interface is derived from a prototype form generator developed by Alan Cooper and his company called Tripod. Microsoft contracted with Cooper and his associates to develop Tripod into a programmable form system for Windows 3.0, under the code name Ruby (no relation to the Ruby programming language).

Tripod did not include a programming language at all. Microsoft decided to combine Ruby with the Basic language to create Visual Basic.

The Ruby interface generator provided the "visual" part of Visual Basic and this was combined with the "EB" Embedded BASIC engine designed for Microsoft's abandoned "Omega" database system. Ruby also provided the ability to load dynamic link libraries containing additional controls (then called "gizmos"), which later became the VBX interface.

Example code
Here is an example of the language: Code snippet that display a message box "Hello, World!" as the window Form loads:

Private Sub Form_Load()
MsgBox "Hello, World!"
End Sub

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