A Visual Basic Tutorial for Beginners: Getting Started
Visual basic has become more than just a programming language, and today many people still use it when they’re developing for windows operating systems. The main reason why visual basic is so useful is because it automatically does some of the programming for you. It has software tools pre-installed that doesn’t just allow the user to create programs, but in a sense to draw them as well, which is why it’s called visual basic.
Today visual basic has evolved into something far more powerful than it was during its early days of design, and it proves to be something that even advanced programmers still use today. The Udemy course Visual Basic for Microsoft Access teaches you a lot about visual basic and how to program using it.
Programming in Visual Basic
Visual basic is an interesting computer programming language due to the simplicity that it has. Many programmers who develop for Windows use Visual Basic since it helps to streamline the programming process.
Visual Basic, like many other programs, has programming elements that you will learn to use in order to “speak” the programming language. These elements include things such as statements, declarations, keywords, operators, and methods.
You will also have to write in a specific manner when you’re programming in visual basic in order for a computer to understand what you’re saying. For example, if you wanted to say that the maximum speed of a vehicle was 120, then you would write something along the lines of
Vehicle.Speed.Maximum = 120.
Simply broken down you start off with Vehicle, and within that vehicle section you would pick speed and within the speed section you would set a value of 120. This could be a way to set the speed of a car in order to calculations or the speed of a vehicle in a game or any other various applications you can think of applying this parameter.
Although it can seem complicated, programming is actually rather simple once you get the hang of it. Check out Udemy’s course on Programming for Non-Programmers.
Variables: Declaring, Assigning, and Using Them
In all programming languages, variables are a key component. There are three things you have to do in order to use a variable in your program. The first thing is to declare it, then assign it, and finally use it.
To declare a variable in Visual Basic you have to assign it a data type and give it a name. You use two keywords to declare a variable. The first keyword is Dim and the second keyword is As.
For example, if you want to declare a variable that acts as a value for a number then you would write the following line of code.
Dim number As Integer
This simple line of code tells your program that number is a variable that can be assigned a number that counts as an integer. Remember that integers can only store whole numbers, but what if you wanted to store a number, such as 16.25 or 17.83, then you would have to use another data type.
Dim double As Double
This line of code allows you to store numbers that don’t have to be whole numbers. You may be wondering why you shouldn’t just use double for all your numbers since it can take more than just whole numbers. A double takes more space and memory than an integer, so you should only use the appropriate data type for your values.
The final type of variable and data type you want to learn to get the basics of Visual Basic is the string. The string is used when you want to use words in your program.
Dim name As String
This line of code above will allow you to set a word as a value. This is great for setting names for a person or a company.
Assigning Variables and Values
Above we mentioned how you can assign a variable to a data type. After you write that initial line of code, you can assign a value to that variable as well.
For example if we were to write:
number = 44
Then the number variable would now be assigned to 44 and its value will remain that until we change it something else. A lot of times your Visual Basic program will tell you there’s an error if you mistakenly try to assign a value to something without first establishing it as a variable.
A way to avoid this mistake is to streamline this coding and instead of breaking it down into two lines of code you simultaneously create the variable and give it a value.
For example, for the number variable you could write:
Dim number As Integer = 44
All of this is in the same line of code and it does the same thing that the previous two lines of code did before. When you’re programming, and you’re writing several hundred or even thousand lines of code at a time, you will want to do whatever you can to make the process a lot simpler.
Creating Your Own Project
Now that you understand some of the basic concepts of Visual Basic, you can actually go ahead and create your own program. In the program, you will assign variables to various data types, give those data types a value, and then have them appear on the screen. You’ve already covered the basics you need to do this, so now all there’s left to do is to create the project and run it for yourself.
To create a new project, go to Visual Basic and open up the program. Then go to File and select New Project.
Within the new project Dialog box you will see various templates to choose from. For this program you will be using the Windows Forms Application template.
Once you click OK after you name the program, Visual Basic will then create all the files you need for the program to run in the Form Designer window. All you have to do is create your variables and see your program come to life.
Creating Your First Visual Basic Program
Now that you’ve done the setup, all you have to do is go to the correct place to enter in your code.
What you’re going to do is create your variables and make the values display on a popup box. Click on the form and it will open up the Code Editor.
When you open up the Code Editor, you will be in a section called Form1_Load and it will be the place where you give your program instructions on what to do when you start it.
In the code editor you will write the following lines of code.
Dim string As String = “Hello my name is Bob”
Dim integer As Integer = 57
Dim double As Double = 17.5
The code you’ve just written has done a few things, all of which you’ve seen and done before. The code declared three different variables, string, integer, and double. The code then assigned those variables to their data types. Remember you can name your variables whatever you want, and it doesn’t have to be the same name as the data type it’s assigned.
The final three lines of code you have to write are
In these message boxes your program puts in your variables along with their values and when you start the program, you will see them appear in a message box.
Once you’re done you just have to press F5 for the program to run.
Now look at your results. You should see each message box appear with the value of your variable in the box. You can click OK or the small x on the upper-right corner to get rid of the box.
That’s all there is to it, and you’ve successfully created your first Visual Basic program!
Now that you know a little bit about Visual Basic programming, you can see how it can be applied to other professions and hobbies. The Udemy course VBA –Visual Basic and Macros, teaches you how to use Visual Basic to create more dynamic excel spreadsheets.
One thing you probably noticed is as you were writing your program the computer was prompting you with suggestions of what you should write on some of your lines of code. These suggestions are known as IntelliSense, and it helps you write code a lot faster.
If you’re stuck on a program, IntelliSense may help you figure things out so learn to use it when you can.
Projects You Can Do with Visual Basic
Getting started with Visual Basic programming can be really easy as you saw in the tutorial above. With just a few lines of code, you can have a program give you your name, age, birthday, and even calculate complicated problems.
The Udemy course Learning Game Design: As a Job or Hobby teaches you how you can use programming to create video games.
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