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A Programmer’s Introduction to Visual Basic.NET

By Craig Utley
Sams Publishing
This book is meant to give you a head start on the changes from Visual Basic to Visual Basic.NET (VB.NET). Most of the book assumes that you are comfortable with Visual Basic 6.0 (VB6), so the book endeavors to be a quick introduction to the major differences between VB6 and the new VB.NET.
I’ve been using Visual Basic since version 1.0. The most dramatic shift had been in the move from VB3 to VB4, when class modules were introduced, and VB started on its long, slow path to becoming object oriented. For the first time, you could build COM components in VB, leading to an explosion in n-tier application development. VB4 brought COM development to the average programmer, so it was no longer a technology known only to a few C++ developers.
When I first started looking at the differences between VB6 and VB.NET, I realized that the change would be even more significant than it had been from VB3 to VB4. I thought it would be good to put together a book that helped VB6 developers transition to VB.NET. To that end, I pitched the idea for a book named something like Migrating from VB to VB.NET to a couple of different companies. Sams Publishing liked the idea, and one day they called me and asked me about doing a miniature version of the book…in three weeks.
I don’t know who was crazier: Sams, for asking for the book in three weeks, or me, for agreeing to do it. Then, Sams said they were giving the book away, and I thought they had really lost it. Still, the mission was clear: create a book that targets Visual Studio.NET, Beta 1. Then, the day after I finished the book on Beta 1, Sams made the decision to release a book based on Beta 2 instead. Although I can’t say I was thrilled, I think it was the right decision. There were significant changes between Beta 1 and Beta 2. Microsoft says there will be far fewer changes between Beta 2 and the final product, so this book should have a much longer shelf life than a book based on Beta 1.
There is no doubt: VB.NET will be an exciting change for us all. There is so much new material to learn that it can be somewhat daunting at first. However, the benefits of the .NET Framework are significant, and in the end can greatly reduce the effort required today to build enterprise-ready distributed applications.
This book will be followed by a much more comprehensive book based on the final version of Visual Studio.NET (VS.NET). The good news is that, as previously mentioned, the changes between Beta 2 and the final product should be far less dramatic than those changes between Beta 1 and Beta 2. Having said that, however, realize that there will be changes before Visual Studio is released.

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