Visual Basic

Brief history of visual basic

Visual Basic, of all the RAD tools out there has an interesting history. The earlier versions of VB or Basic as it was then was written by Bill Gates himself. At that time the processing speeds, the memory, the storage and media were different and so was basic. And all through the years Basic has evolved into a good RAD tool by adding many useful and great features. However, Visual Basic never got the top rating among programmers as it was thought to be a second to other products like Clipper in the DOS era and Delphi and C++ in the Windows era.

It should be noted that each tool has a specific purpose and the language is built with that specific multiple purposes in mind. So, comparing tools with different development goals is not appropriate.

Visual Basic 6.0 is one of the most successful versions yet. In fact, when Microsoft announced that it was going to stop support for the product, it raised a huge uproar among the huge VB community.

However, all good things have to come to an end and no one is going to wait for us. If Microsoft feels VB.Net is the future, then that is the way to go.

The first version of Visual Basic was released in 1987.

Since 1991, every year there has been a new release except in 94 and 95. With release of Visual Basic 6.0 in 1998, a hugely successful product, and version, Microsoft stopped further releases of Visual Basic and introduced a newer programming tool in 2001, VB.Net. While the name is similar, VB.Net requires new investments and almost no code reuse from VB 6.0. However, this impacts more the larger companies which have made large investments in product development. As for the programmer, it is widely accepted that VB.Net is certainly a powerful tool. For Microsoft it was necessary to release a new tool to leverage the .Net runtime.

Visual Basic 4 - Release - 1995

It supported the new windows 95 family of 32-bit operating systems. The Professional Edition could also compile code to run on the older 16-bit Windows 3.x systems. Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) was also announced in 1995. VBScript is used to write embedded code for inclusion in web pages, although not all web browsers will run VBScript.

Visual basic 2008

The improvements in Visual Basic 2008 can be listed under the following headings:

  1. Data access
  2. AJAX Development
  3. Language-integrated-Query
  4. Integrated Development Environment(IDE)
  5. Projects and solutions
  6. Project Designer
  7. Client application services
  8. Reporting
Listed below is a brief introduction to important enhancements.

Data access

With this version of visual basic, support for creating and editing LINQ to SQL objects is now included in (O/R) designer. The O/R designer creates methods used by LINQ to SQL to communicate with remote databases. The Dataset designer includes supports for typed datasets. The dataset designer now also includes update capabilities to enable data saving in related tables. The local database caching feature enable applications to synchronize data with remote database and reduce the number of round trips between application and the database server. This is done by incorporating a SQL Server compact 3.5 database and ADO.Net synchronization services. The compact database can be deployed to desktop computers, smart devices and tablet PCs.

AJAX Development

We all know that AJAX programming is a hot topic and widely implemented in web applications. Recent AJAX enhancements to Yahoo and Google are a proof of versatility AJAX offers. Microsoft continues its support for Ajax programming by making it easier to enable asynchronous partial-page updates in visual basic 2008. In this version of visual Basic, all we need to do to implement AJAX is to place the existing controls and markup inside the UpdatePanel control. This feature enables us to implement AJAX based on the server-based programming model. A new set of server controls are introduced which support server based AJAX development. This includes controls such as ScriptManager, Updateprogress and timer controls. The new Microsoft AJAX Library is browser independent and supports client based Object Oriented Programming development.


Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) is a brand new feature added in visual basic 2008. LINQ is a programming enhancement to the syntax of C# and Visual basic. This enhancement allows query capabilities to C# and visual basic. Popular .net framework collections (LINQ to Objects, LINQ to SQL, LINQ to ADO.NET and LINQ to XML can be queried using LINQ assemblies.

By Bharati Karedla