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Microsoft Visual Studiofor Windows

2019.16.10

6

Microsoft's development environment

The history behind Microsoft's classic and traditional programming language started when the company released Windows replacing their ancient DOS operating system. If you’re old enough to remember, typing white-colored texts on a cheery but bleak blue background was the classic way of writing codes back then. You may still remember the good old days of utilizing not just any BASIC language but Microsoft`s groundbreaking QuickBASIC which lets you write code without the hassle of clunky line numbers, catch syntax errors quickly as you type, and launch your program straight from the development environment without the need of nonsense command line. Then significant changes happened when Microsoft launched its most successful attempt to enter the programming industry, the well-known Visual Basic 1.0. It's revolutionary in a way that it became the stepping stone to the company's fame and success. After almost three decades, will its stay as grand as it is in the 1990s or will it be forgotten and overlooked without a hint of the future?

The most classic programming tool in the market

Even if a lot of modern programmers are now using popular tools instead of Visual Basic, the truth is it will not easily disappear and will stay for a few more decades in the market.

Visual Basic is a third-generation event-driven programming language developed especially for Microsoft’s Component Object Model (COM) programming model. It was created and released together with Windows 3.0 in 1991 and declared as a legacy project in 2008. It’s relatively easy to master and utilize in comparison with other similar tools. It offered the newest features back then including the ability to create buttons for your programs by merely drawing it on the surface of your program’s window. All you had to do was double-click it within the design environment and write your preferred code and command. There’s a lot of reasons why this programming language had skyrocketed to its fame and success, but the most important of them all was its convenience and practicality to its users. Its ability to create and develop a complete user interface through your sketches and its fastest coding results were like no other. Ergo, this programming tool is simply the best within its time. Its visual part was also incomparable and undoubted talk of the town but what made it so popular to its users and critics was not its signature graphical widgets but instead, it rose to the top because of its indispensable (and legendary) feature called edit-and-continue. This feature is hard to find these days which can easily allow you to run your programs, find the problem within, fix all of it, and then let you proceed with new sets of codes and scripts. It really was a game-changer since other similar tools will force you to recompile your work just to start over after significant changes are made.

Legendary functions and features

The programming tool’s original version had thrived for roughly a decade which had opened many possibilities within the web programming industry. What started as a helpful start-up tool for beginners become the most capable tool for professional programmers. With the release of its latest version, this programming language had found its way to the doors of different company offices and even onto the web through ASP (Active Server Pages) which lets you create web pages through the tool’s components called databases and directly write HTML on the fly. Its structureless nature became its downfall. Its barriers which guarantee the freedom to its users were not enough to stop careless programmers from disseminating bad codes everywhere and it (unsurprisingly) did nothing to encourage them to correct their bad habits which lead to more difficult problems that other similar tools easily solved.

Old but gold

Microsoft gave it a reboot with a name (which you may have heard already) Visual Basic.NET which was heavily influenced by Java, featuring overflowing tools that every business developer needs. The problem lies with this unexpected revamped was Microsoft had to put aside almost all of the features found within its classic version. With all this chaos, other programming tools adapted modern features which literally put Visual Basic to a strange and stagnant spot where it eventually lost its charm. It became just another tool in a programmer’s toolkit without any special use left to amaze its users.

Where can you run this program?

Since this programming tool is developed by Microsoft, it’s only available for Windows computers. Its most popular version (Visual Basic 3) is compatible with Windows 3.1 (16-bit) while its last release (Visual Basic 6) is the most suitable version for Windows 95/NT (32-bit) and later. You can get it for free by downloading it from Microsoft's official website. If you’re getting the revamped version, then remember that Visual Basic.NET needs only a text editor such as Notepad, and Atom (recommended) to write texts that can be converted into instructions that you’re computer can eventually execute. However, if you want your computer to convert your texts into an application, you’ll need to have a copy of Microsoft’s .NET framework. 

Is there a better alternative?

Modern conglomerate corporations and professional programmers are now commonly using JavaScript in order to run their websites since it’s lightweight with first-class functions and comes with various available open-source libraries. Its popularity is incomparable to its competitors including Visual Basic. This fact will lead you into thinking about the position where this legacy fits in today’s world. Well, there is one perfect place where Visual Basic really fits. With its user-friendly graphics and widgets accompanied by a lot of helpful features, students and beginners can pick up their first language with the aid of this programming tool. Although even in the educational market, there are a plethora of other modern languages that are easier and safer to use such as Microsoft’s C#. It is a general-purpose, multi-paradigm programming language with a large scope encompassing strong typing, lexically scoped, imperative, declarative, functional, generic, object-oriented (class-based), and component-oriented programming disciplines made through the .NET initiative. Both languages have the same form, same capabilities and use the same components. Although, the only difference between the two is that Microsoft still supports the development of the C# project with its latest version C# 7.3, unlike the Visual Basic which became a legacy in 2008.

Our take

It is saddening to know that Microsoft had already declared the classic programming tool as a legacy. It was a real game-changer in its time and helped a lot of beginner and professional programmers with its legendary functionalities that are now unavailable to the modern programming tools such as its edit-and-continue feature. Even if a lot of modern programmers are now using popular programming tools instead of Visual Basic, the truth is it will not easily disappear and will stay for a few more decades in the market.

Should you download it?

Yes, if you're a beginner. If you’re already a veteran and professional programmer then don’t bother downloading this programming language and just use JavaScript instead. While if you’re still a beginner and like to learn the basics then it is highly recommended to try similar but more modern tools such as C#, Python, and Scratch. On the other hand, if you still need to try Visual Basic then download its version 6.0 instead of its .NET revamped version, since the latter one is a whole new different tool compared to Visual Basic series.

Highs

  • Free download available
  • Easy to learn
  • Comes with edit-and-continue function

Lows

  • Available only in older Windows versions
  • Outdated in comparison with its modern counterparts
  • Declared as a legacy in 2008

Microsoft Visual Studiofor Windows

2019.16.10

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