Installing Visual Basic

Before we start the programming goodness you first need Visual Basic installed on your computer.  Visual Basic comes in a number of flavours; Visual Basic for Applications, VBScript, Visual Basic 6.0 (and earlier) and Visual Basic .NET.

These tutorials deal exclusively with Visual Basic .NET.    You can follow the tutorials with any flavour of Visual Basic but the code samples will only work with Visual Basic .NET.  If you have Visual Basic .NET installed on your machine already you can go to the next tutorial.  If you haven’t got Visual Basic .NET on your pc you have a couple of choices to make.   You can either:

  1. pay for it
  2. get it for free

If you pay for it you’ll get the full Visual Studio, a professional package for teams of software developers.  Many of these tutorials were developed using the free version; Visual Studio Express.  It’s a fully featured software development environment which, in my own humblest, provides a great introduction to the language and is used by hundreds of thousands of developers worldwide.  If you still want to pay for it, get in contact, I have a couple of other ideas to help you spend your money!

Visual Studio Express is, at the time of writing, up to version 2012.    I developed using Visual Studio Express 2010 which doesn’t provide support for Windows 8 Metro style interfaces.  But does anyone  develop Windows 8 Apps?

Visual Studio Express 2012 is split by the type of application you want to develop; desktop or web.  We will be developing predominantly desktop applications.  Visual Studio 20102 Express for Windows Desktop can be downloaded here:

In addition, the tutorials will also introduce web development once you’re a competent programmer.  Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web applications can be downloaded and installed from here:

Visual Studio Express 2010 is split by the language.   Obviously (or I hope it’s obvious by now) we will be developing in Visual Basic.   Click the link below, install Visual Basic 2010 Express and you will be able to develop both desktop and web applications.

As soon as you’ve installed Visual Studio I want you to do one thing.  This is absolutely essential and I have no idea why Microsoft doesn’t do this by default.  Open Visual Studio.  In the top menu I want you to click Tools >> Options

The resulting window should look something like this:

Option Strict in Visual Basic

Select VB Defaults in the left had menu as shown.  In VS 2012 it’s under Projects and Solutions.  Click the Option Strict dropdown and switch it to “On”.  This is extremely important, I’ll go into the reasons later in these tutorials but make sure this is always switched on.  If you use a new installation of VB, check this value is switched on immediately.

Now, you’re good to go!