A programming language and environment developed by Microsoft. Based on the BASIC language, Visual Basic was one of the first products to provide a graphical programming environment and a paint metaphor for developing user interfaces. Instead of worrying about syntax details, the Visual Basic programmer can add a substantial amount of code simply by dragging and dropping controls, such as buttons and dialog boxes, and then defining their appearance and behavior.
Although not a true object-oriented programming language in the strictest sense, Visual Basic nevertheless has an object-oriented philosophy. It is sometimes called an event-driven language because each object can react to different events such as a mouse click.
Since its launch in 1990, the Visual Basic approach has become the norm for programming languages. Now there are visual environments for many programming languages, including C, C++, Pascal, and Java. Visual Basic is sometimes called a Rapid Application Development (RAD) system because it enables programmers to quickly build prototype applications.