Visual Basic

Visual Basic is a family of programming languages developed by Microsoft. The most commonly used version of Visual Basic is Visual Basic .NET, now simply called Visual Basic. This definition will focus on Visual Basic .NET, an object-oriented language used to develop applications. Here, we dive into the basics of Visual Basic, including its features and benefits.

What Is Visual Basic?

Visual Basic by Microsoft is a programming language that’s object-oriented. Programmers use Visual Basic to develop code via a graphical user interface (GUI) by dragging and dropping controls, including buttons and boxes. The programmer can then simply define their appearance and behavior.

Based on the BASIC language, the first version of Visual Basic was launched by Microsoft in 1990, with the last version, Visual Basic 6, being released in 1998. Visual Basic was replaced by a new format, Visual Basic .NET, which is a more powerful programming language. 

While other versions of Visual Basic exist, including Embedded Visual Basic, Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), and VBScript, Visual Basic .NET is the most commonly used form of Visual Basic today.

What Is the Difference Between Visual Basic and Visual Basic .NET?

Visual Basic is the name given to an entire family of Microsoft programming languages. Visual Basic .NET was developed to replace and improve upon the original version of Visual Basic. This resulted in many key differences.

For example, the original Visual Basic is an interpreted programming language while Visual Basic .NET is a compiled programming language, which helps it to run faster. In addition, Visual Basic .NET is compatible with IntelliSense, a Microsoft code completion tool, while the original Visual Basic is not. This change improved the overall efficiency of the language.

Currently, to develop apps and programs using Visual Basic .NET, programmers must use Microsoft’s Visual Studio.

What Are the Main Features of Visual Basic?

One of the key features of Visual Basic is its simplified format. Programming with Visual Basic involves moving and editing components, attaching specific actions to those components, and writing basic code. This format makes it simple for programmers to develop GUI applications without much experience.

Other key features of Visual Basic include simple programming syntax, debugging capabilities, automatic code formatting, and automatic garbage collection.

What Are the Benefits of Using Visual Basic?

  • Simplicity: Visual Basic is simple to learn and use, even for less experienced programmers. This is due to features like straightforward syntax and drag-and-drop controls.
  • Reduced development time: Visual Basic is often referred to as a rapid application development (RAD) programming system, as it helps programmers build working programs and applications quickly.

Want to learn more? Visit CodeGuru to learn about Visual Basic Features in Visual Studio.

Brenna Miles
Brenna Miles
Brenna Miles is a contributing writer for Webopedia and, where she covers CRM, PLM, security, and IT automation. Since 2013, she's written everything from blog posts to industry white papers about everything from SaaS to network security and back again.

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