Programming Windows: Visual Basic Takes Over the World (Premium)


To understand why Visual Basic was such a sensation, consider again how horrible it was to create even the simplest application using the C programming language and the Windows API: The modern example of a basic Charles Petzold hello, world-type application that I provided in Programming Windows: Hello, Windows (Premium) is almost 100 lines of code, is hard to read and understand, and is not particularly scalable. But a Visual Basic version of this same application, as I demonstrated in Programming Windows: Hello, Visual Basic (Premium), can be made without any code whatsoever. A version that does use code can be as short as two lines of user-created code.

That’s amazing. But both versions of the Hello, Visual Basic application only hint at the inherent superiority of this environment, especially when building application user interfaces. Designed to be as compatible as possible with Microsoft’s earlier Basic language efforts, in particular QBasic/QuickBasic, the Visual Basic language itself was simple and easy to read (and write). It utilized some basic (ahem) Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) techniques that made particular sense for those creating a GUI-based Windows application. And unlike with Windows API development, handling the events that drove the Windows experience wasn’t just simple in Visual Basic, it was obvious and even fun.

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