The Beginner’s Guide To Visual Basic 2017 #1 – Introduction
Installation, Configuration & Software Overview
In this new series of tutorials – I will be explaining the principles of Visual Basic programming and the core functionality of Visual Studio 2017. Upon completing each guide, you’ll be equipped with an effective understanding of the language, and be able to create a fully-functional object-oriented application by the end of the series.
Rest assured, Visual Basic is one of the easiest programming languages to learn, and by using an integrated development environment such as Visual Studio 2017, it couldn’t be easier to create professional graphical interfaces. The language itself is also extremely basic and fairly easy to interpret, even for a beginner with no prior programming experience.
In this chapter, we’re going to focus on the installation and setup of Visual Studio 2017, as well as a quick overview on the main features of the software.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Chapter 1A – Installation
- Chapter 1B – Configuration
- Chapter 1C – Overview
1A – Installation
To start creating Visual Basic applications, you’re going to need to download and install Visual Studio 2017. This is the latest and most updated version of the Visual Studio software.
You can download Visual Studio 2017 by clicking here.
There are three different versions of this software, including Community, Professional and Enterprise. Community 2017 is the basic package of development tools and includes the core functionality of Visual Studio, whereas Professional and Enterprise are paid versions with more features and benefits (suited towards teams and organisations.)
For now, Community 2017 is more than adequate for general programming, particularly if you’re just getting started with Visual Basic. Simply select the Community 2017 option from the drop-down list and you’ll be redirected to the download page (or click here for a direct download.)
Once complete, you’ll have a small installation file (1MB.)
Open this file, and the Visual Studio Installer will start. Before the installation takes place, you’re able to choose exactly what you want to be installed. By default, the core editor will already be selected, but you’ll also want to select .NET Desktop Development. This will allow you to build Windows form applications using Visual Basic.
It’s also a good idea to select the other options, as you may want to use these features later.
Once you’re happy with the installation options, simply hit the Install button and the installation will start. The installation of Visual Studio may take some time.
1B – Configuration
Once the installation is complete, and you’ve restarted your computer – you should be able to launch Visual Studio 2017.
If there isn’t a shortcut on the desktop, head over to the Start Menu and select All Programs. Visual Studio 2017 should be among the list of applications, which you can then drag and drop to the desktop to create a shortcut.
Open the shortcut, and Visual Studio 2017 will launch. As it’s your first time, you may be required to sign in with a Microsoft account. For now, you can just skip this step. You’ll also be given the option to select a theme. You can change these settings later, so don’t worry too much about which one you select. Personally, I prefer to use the ‘Dark’ theme as it’s much easier on your eyes over long durations of time.
Once you’ve chosen an option, select Start Visual Studio.
You should see something similar to the screenshot below (I’m currently running Professional 2017.) This is the interface of Visual Studio 2017. If you’ve got this far, congratulations! You’re ready to start programming. But before we begin, I’m going to provide a brief overview of the software and the different components it’s composed of.
1C – Overview
To keep this tutorial as simple as possible, I’m going to briefly overview some fundamental components of the Visual Studio software. These are components that you will frequently use throughout this guide.
The Menu Bar is the toolbar located at the top of the application Window and contains some fundamental option categories such as File, View, Window, Help etc.
The Toolbox is a list of different functions and objects that can be implemented to a Windows application form. This includes buttons, labels, textboxes etc.
The Properties section contains different types of editable options and details of the current form/component. For example, you can change the name, text, size and other types of properties in the Properties section.
The Solution Explorer is an organised display of project files and forms. From this section, you’re able to switch between forms within your project.
As the name suggests, the Windows Form Designer is an interface that allows you to design and create typical Windows applications. You’re able to integrate objects and controls to the form by using the drag-and-drop feature, as well as resize and move the objects with the mouse.
Of course, the Code Editor allows you to create, edit and modify the source code of forms, objects and controls. The Code Editor is also equipped with many features and provides much more than the average text editor.
For example, Visual Studio uses a feature known as Intellisense. This is also known as intelligent code completion and uses auto-completion and query pop-ups to create a much more user-friendly experience. You’ll learn more about these features later. For now, we’ll just stick to the basics!
The Code Editor can be easily accessed by double-clicking on an object or form.
The Output Window simply outputs all of the results and status messages printed by the application. This window will tell you what’s happening with the application and whether or not it has compiled correctly.
The Error List is a window that displays a list of any suspected errors or warnings in the current project or application.
As programming syntax can be very strict, simply missing a bracket or entering an invalid character can cause errors and prevent the entire application from running. The Error List will allow you to identify the exact line in which the error has occurred.
More chapters arriving soon!
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