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Mastering™ Visual Basic® .NET

By Evangelos Petroutsos
You don’t need to know Visual Basic to read Mastering Visual Basic .NET, but you do need a basic understanding of programming. You need to know the meaning of variables and functions and how an If…Then structure works. This book is addressed to the typical programmer who wants to get the most out of Visual Basic. It covers the topics I feel are of use to most VB programmers, and it does so in depth. Visual Basic .NET is an extremely rich programming environment, and I’ve had to choose between superficial coverage of many topics and in-depth coverage of fewer topics. To makeroom for more topics, I have avoided including a lot of reference material and lengthy listings. For example, you won’t find complete project listings or Form descriptions. I assume you can draw a few controls on a Form and set their properties, and you don’t need long descriptions of the properties of the control. I’m also assuming that you don’t want to read the trivial segments of each application. Instead, the listings concentrate on the “meaty” part of the code: the procedures that explain the topic at hand. If you want to see the complete listing, it’s all on the CD.
The topics covered in this book were chosen to provide a solid understanding of the principles and techniques for developing applications with Visual Basic. Programming isn’t about new keywords and functions. I chose the topics I felt every programmer should learn in order to master the language. I was also motivated by my desire to present useful, practical examples. You will not find all topics equally interesting or important. My hope is that everyone will find something interesting and something of value to their daily work—whether it’s an application that maps the folders and files of a drive to a TreeView control, an application that prints tabular data, or an application that saves a collection of objects to a file.
Many books offer their readers long, numbered sequences of steps to accomplish something. Following instructions simplifies certain tasks, but programming isn’t about following instructions. It’s about being creative; it’s about understanding principles and being able to apply the same techniques in several practical situations. And the way to creatively exploit the power of a language such as Visual Basic .NET is to understand its principles and its programming model.
In many cases, I provide a detailed, step-by-step procedure that will help you accomplish a task, such as designing a menu. But not all tasks are as simple as designing menus. I explain why things must be done in a certain way, and I present alternatives and try to connect new topics to those explained earlier in the book. In several chapters, I expand on applications developed in earlier chapters. Associating new knowledge to something you have already mastered provides positive feedback and a deeper understanding of the language.
This book isn’t about the hottest features of the language; it’s about solid programming techniques and practical examples. For example, I’m not going to show you how to write multithreaded applications. The real challenge with multithreaded applications is their debugging, which requires substantial experience. Once you master the basics of programming Windows applications with Visual Basic .NET and you feel comfortable with the more advanced examples of the book, you will find it easy to catch up with the topics that aren’t discussed.

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