Introduction to Visual Basic 2008

Visual Basic is the most widely used programming language for creating Windows applications. It's very easy to learn because, unlike other programming languages, Visual Basic uses keywords that closely resemble English.

Creating a Windows application ordinarily requires you to write lengthy and complex code. But Visual Basic 2008 relieves you of this task. It enables you to create an application and its components literally with the click of a button or menu item. It even writes all of the necessary code to get the application started for you. You can view and fine-tune the code, but it spares you a lot of the grunt work.

While the Visual Basic programming language helps you write a Windows application, you still need to write code and be able to plan your application. This course will show you how. You'll learn the building blocks of programming, including using variables, control structures, and loops. You'll find out how to use the large function library built into Visual Basic 2008, including the .NET Framework, as well as how to write and use your own functions. You'll learn how to use the large and varied library of controls Windows offers. And you'll learn how to access files and handle errors. Since Windows applications are event-driven and everything in Visual Basic 2008 is treated as a programmable object, you'll also find out about event-driven and object-oriented programming, concepts important not just in Visual Basic, but also in other programming languages you may want to learn in the future.

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:


Required: Visual Basic 2008, free Express edition (software must be installed and fully operational before the course begins); Computer with Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 or Server 2008; Internet access, e-mail, the Microsoft Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox Web browser, and the Adobe Flash and PDF plug-ins (two free and simple downloads you obtain at by clicking Get Adobe Flash Player and Get Adobe Reader). Note: this course is not suitable for Macintosh users. Prior programming education or experience is not a prerequisite.


All courses run for six weeks, with a two-week grace period at the end. Two lessons are released each week for the six-week duration of the course. You do not have to be present when the lesson is released, but you must complete each lesson within two weeks of its release.

A new section of each course starts on the second or third Wednesday of each month. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week One
Wednesday - Lesson 01
What's the best way to learn Visual Basic programming? Well, you have to write programs, of course! And your first step toward writing your first program is to install Visual Basic 2008. So in our opening lesson, you'll learn which of the different editions of Visual Basic 2008 might be right for you and how to install it on your computer. After that, we'll walk through creating your first Windows application program while we discuss how a Windows application works.
Friday - Lesson 02
In the first lesson, you were able to create a working Windows application with just a few mouse clicks. In today's lesson, you'll find out what Visual Basic 2008 did behind the scenes to help you create that application. You'll also learn about properties, which are characteristics of an object—such as its size and color—and how to change those properties.
Week Two
Wednesday - Lesson 03
Windows applications are all about events, such as the event a user causes just by clicking a button in the application. Today you'll first learn about event procedures. Then you'll get your feet wet in Visual Basic by writing your first code.
Friday - Lesson 04
So far, we've been focusing on the form, which is perhaps the most important part of a Windows application's graphical user interface (or GUI). However, a form's primary role is to host other controls that enrich the GUI of Windows applications—menus, toolbars, buttons, text boxes, and list boxes. In this lesson, you'll find out how to add controls to your form, and how to write code for these controls.
Week Three
Wednesday - Lesson 05
Most computer programs store information, or data. Today you'll learn all about data types, which represent different varieties of data (such as numeric data or text data). Then we'll go over how to store that information in a variable.
Friday - Lesson 06
As a former professional chess player, I've marveled at the ability of some computers to play world champion chess players on even terms. But once you understand that computers can calculate far more quickly and accurately than people can, it's easy to see how they're able to outplay the best players. In this lesson, you'll discover how to harness the computer's calculating ability using arithmetic operators.
Week Four
Wednesday - Lesson 07
As your programs become more sophisticated, they'll often branch in two or more directions based on whether a condition is true or false. For example, a calculator first needs to determine whether the user chose addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division before performing the indicated arithmetic. Today you'll see how to use comparison and logical operators to determine a user's choice.
Friday - Lesson 08
Picking up where Lesson 7 left off, once you know the user's choice, you'll want to execute different code based on that choice. In this lesson, you'll learn how to use If and Select Case statements to execute alternative code statements.
Week Five
Wednesday - Lesson 09
When you were a child, your parents may have told you not to repeat yourself. But sometimes your code needs to repeat itself. For example, if your application's users enter invalid data, your code may continue to ask whether they want to retry or quit until they either enter valid data or quit. Today we'll explore how to use loops, which repeat code execution until a condition is no longer true. Then we'll delve into arrays, which may hold multiple values at one time, and work very well with loops.
Friday - Lesson 10
Many textbooks are several hundred pages long. Imagine how much harder a textbook would be to understand if it consisted of only one very long chapter, rather than being divided into manageable sections? In today's lesson, you'll learn how to similarly divide up your code into separate procedures.
Week Six
Wednesday - Lesson 11
When I finish writing something for the evening, I close my word-processing program, and I might even shut down my computer. Of course, the next evening I don't have to start over. What I wrote the previous evening is preserved. However, up until now, our programs haven't saved data so that it's available even after the application exits. Today we'll discuss how to write code that reads from and writes to a text file in order to preserve the data. You'll also learn how to add Open and Save dialog boxes, such as those used in sophisticated programs like Microsoft Word, so you can open a text file to read from it and save to a text file to write to it.
Friday - Lesson 12
Nobody's perfect, right? Well, your applications won't always run perfectly either. Sometimes they'll stop due to a runtime error, also called an exception. In our final lesson, you'll find out how to prevent and handle exceptions.

To enroll in this course, click the Enroll Now button below:

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