January 2002 Newsletter

Hi Folks

It's been a while since I came out with a formal newsletter. Here's what is new with me--I hope you find some of it useful!

John Smiley


Table of contents...

1. Need help with VB? Check my VB Expert's Page
2. VB6 Desktop Bootcamp starting Monday, February 4th
3. Tutorials
4. VB6 Intro Study Group begins Monday, February 4th
5. VB6 Database Study Group begins Monday, February 4th
6. VB6 Objects Study Group begins Monday, February 4th
7. Learn to Program with VB.NET book now available
8. Learn to Program with Java book now available
9. Working on Learn to Program with C#
10. VB6 Certification Exam--how long will it exist?
11. The future of VB6
12. VB6 Service Pack 5 now available
13. Helpwithvb
14. FAQ's
15. Resumes
16. Career tips for beginners
17. Need some inspiration? Yes You Can!
18. Transcender for Sale
19. Free Articles
20. Student Projects
21. Book errata
22. Kevin Smiley's Campaign to feed the hungry
23. Source code for Learn to Program with Java
24. Learn to Program with Java Applet Addendum
25. ILoveToHelp page updated


1. Need help with Visual Basic? Check out my VB Experts page.

Some of you have heard about this, but to many of you it's a new idea.

I get tons of email questions (100+ a day) about VB. I also gets lots of emails from people asking me how they can become better VB programmers. Most times I ask the people asking the questions to post them to the helpwithvb group.

Recently I decided we could kill two birds with one stone by creating a web page with identified experts in certain areas of 
VB, which people could access to either read an article on click on an email link to an expert. That's where you come in.

You may be thinking "I'm hardly an expert, how can I help?"

The answer is I want to narrow the expert focus so that everyone---even a beginner new to Visual Basic---can chip in and help 
out. 

For instance, you may not be a VB expert, but could you be my identified expert for the Listbox Control?

If not the Listbox Control, how about the Text property of the Listbox control? If you check VB Help, you'll see that there 
are only 3 paragraphs or so written about the Text property--could you be the expert just on that portion of VB?

Here's the link to my new VB Experts page

http://www.johnsmiley.com/vbexperts.htm

You'll notice that the page is entirely blank--for now anyway. That 
means there's a spot for you to help out and be the 
recognized expert.

The benefits can be tremendous---not only will you be a recognized expert at something, you'll gain confidence and experience 
(and learn something) in the process. Teaching and helping others is a great way to get really good at something--are you 
willing to try?

How will this work?

Based on the feedback you give me, I'll create a topic tree, along with your name and a link to your email address. Someone 
who needs help will be directed to the Experts page, and if they see a topic with an expert, they'll click on it to send you 
an email. The help you provide them will then be up to you. You can choose to give them help for free or name a price for 
your services (Keen.com is a great way to do this)

If you are willing to try, please send an email to

becomeanexpert@johnsmiley.com

Include your name, your email address, and the topic for which you wish to be the identified expert. If you have a support 
web site, include that also.

As time goes on, you can grow your expertise in any way you desire---you'll be able to write articles about your expertise, 
or get paid for it if you desire by setting up a paid link to Keen.com. You may even be able to host your own minicamp!


2. VB6 Desktop Bootcamp starting Monday, February 4th

Our next Visual Basic 6 Desktop bootcamp begins on Monday, February 4th. As has been my policy, previous bootcamp attendees may attend this one free of charge. 

For more information, follow this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/vb6bootcamp.htm


3. Tutorials

Many of you took advantage of the Visual Basic tutorials I was offering last year. Unfortunately, my attempts to offer a low cost way for people to learn Visual Basic were far from successful. Many folks simply were confused about the open-ended nature of the tutorials, and wanted something for more formal. For that reason, I'm suspending the tutorials, and will begin to offer dedicated Visual Basic study groups instead. These study groups will last 8 weeks, have a definite start and stop date, and include a one hour chat each week.

Those of you who signed up for an annual subscription to the tutorials (and there were a few of you) will be able to attend these Study Groups free of charge until your subscription runs out. 

For more information on the Study Groups, follow this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/bootcamps.htm


4. VB6 Intro Study Group begins Monday, February 4th

The next VB6 Introduction Study Group will begin on Monday, February 4th, and last for 8 weeks. For more information, follow this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/bootcamps/vb6introfaq.htm


5. VB6 Database Study Group begins Monday, February 4th

The next VB6 Database Study Group will begin on Monday, February 4th, and last for 8 weeks. For more information, follow this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/bootcamps/vb6dbfaq.htm


6. VB6 Objects Study Group begins Monday, February 4th

The next VB6 Database Study Group will begin on Monday, February 4th, and last for 8 weeks. For more information, follow this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/bootcamps/vb6objectsfaq.htm


7. Learn to Program with VB.NET book now available

My latest book, Learn to Program with Visual Basic.Net is now available. You'll need to have a copy of Visual Basic.Net to follow along with the book, and that product won't be for sale until mid-February. However, in order to ease its acceptance in the marketplace, Microsoft will be making trial versions of Visual Basic.Net widely available.

You can pick the book up via Amazon.com by following this link:

http://www.amazon.com

or you can get an autographed copy directly from me by following this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/products/063.htm


8. Learn to Program with Java book

Want to learn Java? What better way than with my new Java book. It's been available for about 6 weeks now, and the reviews have been overwhelimingly favorable. You'll need to have Java running on your PC--but don't worry, it's a free download from Sun Microsystem's Website. For information on obtaining Java, check my Java page. 

http://www.johnsmiley.com/java/java.htm

You can pick the book up via Amazon.com by following this link:

http://www.amazon.com

or you can get an autographed copy directly from me by following this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/products/058.htm


9. Working on Learn to Program with C#

I'm currently working on my latest book, Learn to Program with C#. C# is Microsoft's latest language offering, and it is provided as part of the .Net Framework, which you can download from Microsoft (for now, that's free). Learning C# may be the best thing you ever do--it all depends upon how much this Java like language is embraced by the community.


10. VB6 Certification Exam--how long will it exist?

Speaking of the VB6 Certification Exam, you may be wondering how long 
this exam will exist.

The latest edition of the Visual Basic Programmer's Journal indicates 
that Microsoft intends to 'support' both VB.NET and VB6 
simultaneously. The key question is what does 'support' mean.

At any rate, Microsoft usually maintains an exam certification for at 
least one year after a new version is released. With 
VB.NET scheduled to come out no earlier than 4th quarter 2001, you 
have at least until the end of 2002 to take and pass the 
VB6 exam.


11. The future of VB6

Concerned about the future of VB6? How will VB.NET and C# impact your investment of time and energy in VB6?

It may not be an issue.

The latest version of the Visual Basic Programmer's Journal indicates that Microsoft intends to 'support' VB6 and VB.NET 
simultaneously.

The key is what does the word 'support' mean? 

My feeling is that Visual Basic 6 will remain a viable development tool for some time. An article I read recently compared VB6 to dBase and the Introduction of Microsoft Access. dBase remained (and in some cases still remains) a viable development tool for several years. 

The bottom line? There's no need to rush out and pick up a copy of VB.Net--in fact, you won't be able to buy it until mid-February.


12. VB6 Service Pack 5 now available

Service Pack 5 is now available via this link. One of the things this does is permit VB6, and the DAO Data Control, to work with Access 2000 Databases (this will cure the unrecognized Database format error)

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/sp/vs6sp5/vbfixes.asp


13. HelpwithVB group

Just a reminder that I think we have a great resource available in my HelpWithVB mailing group. People in the group generously answer a variety of VB questions when I'm just too swamped to be able to give everyone who asks individual attention.

You may want to consider joining--do so by sending an email to this address

helpwithvb-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


14. FAQ's

I'm attempting to collect my Frequently asked questions in a web page called

http://www.johnsmiley.com/faq.htm

You may want to check this out periodically---it's loaded with questions on career advice.


15. Resumes

Just a reminder,  I still continue to maintain a Resumes page at

http://www.johnsmiley.com/resumes.htm

Since I started this page last year, a number of people have obtained employment through it. I encourage you to submit your 
resume to me for posting (I'm sorry that I can't proofread, correct, comment on them), and I also encourage you to scan the 
resumes if you need to hire someone for an IT position.


16. Career tips for beginners

Something I'd like to pursue (but really don't have the time for) is the issue of careers for beginner programmers.

Last year, I wrote a series of career tips for Searchvb.com. The link has moved several times, but I think you'll find them all here:

http://searchvb.techtarget.com/tipsIndex/0,289482,sid8_tax4f1_alpD_idx0,00.html

I've done my best to give beginners tips and advice on finding that  first job, and you can find them at Searchvb.com, my FAQ 
page, and also my Careers page

http://www.johnsmiley.com/careers.htm

Basically, in a nutshell, they involve in learning Visual Basic very well, preparing for, taking and passing the Visual Basic 
Certification exam, and seeing where things go from there. 


17. Need some inspiration--Yes You Can!

Are you a beginner programmer looking for some inspiration. Check out my Yes You Can! Web page

http://www.johnsmiley.com/yesyoucan.htm

I've compiled a series of success stories from other beginners who have found work in the IT field. 

Check it out--you may get some good ideas.


18. Transcender for sale

Transcender is the best Certification exam simulation package I have seen (at least in my opinion).

Just a reminder that I am authorized to provide discounted Transcender pricing to those I teach or mentor. I can get 
discounted Transcenders for any individual packages--although sometimes you'll do better buying directly from Transcender 
themselves for some of their bundles.

Delivery can be anywhere from a week to 2 weeks once you place your order--unfortunately, Transcender ships to me and then I 
ship to you. For this reason, I can't accept international orders.

If you are interested, check out my Transcender page

http://www.johnsmiley.com/transcender.htm


19. Free Web Articles

As you know, I write free monthly articles on a variety of beginner (and now intermediate) Visual Basic topics.

You can  access all of my articles via this location

http://www.johnsmiley.com/cis18/freearticles.htm


20. Student Projects

Just a reminder that you can view my students' VB projects at:

You can check out Fran's Flowers project at

http://www.johnsmiley.com/flowers.htm

and Sneaker Projects at

http://www.johnsmiley.com/sneakers.htm

As always, my thanks to the students for graciously sharing these projects with everyone. They're beautiful works of art--I 
hope you enjoy them.


21. Book Errata

Just a reminder that if you are reading one my books, you should check out the errata page I maintain for each one of them. 
Here are the links (notice the pattern--the ISBN of the books is included in the URL)

Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6
Learn to Program with Visual Basic Examples (Active Path)
Learn to Program with Visual Basic Examples (Muska and Lipman)
Learn to Program Databases with Visual Basic (Active Path)
Learn to Program Databases with Visual Basic 6 (Muska and Lipman)
Learn to Program Objects with Visual Basic 6 (Active Path)
Learn to Program Objects with Visual Basic 6 (Muska and Lipman)
Learn to Program with Java (Osborne)
Learn to Program with Visual Basic.Net (Osborne)


22. Kevin Smiley's Campaign to feed the hungry

My son Kevin, as part of a church project, has asked me to direct you to a website that he's created in his efforts to feed 
the hungry.

http://www.johnsmiley.com/foodforthepoor.htm

If you are so inclined, feel free to visit and check it out.


23. Source code for Learn to Program with Java

My Java book has been out for about a month now--many thanks to those of you who have purchased it, or participated in my Java Study group.

All the exercises and demo programs from my book available for download. The link to the zip file is available on my errata page, 
or you can get it directly from here

http://www.johnsmiley.com/downloads/java/ltpjavasourcecode.zip

Once you've downloaded the zip file, unzip it and it will create a folder called

LTPJFILES

Subfolders entitled Grades, Examples and Practice will be created, with subfolders for each chapter of the book.


24. Learn to Program with Java Applet Addendum

For those of you who either participated in my Java Study group, or 
who have purchased my Java book, I've just posted an addendum to the 
book on creating Java Applets. You can access it via this link:

http://www.johnsmiley.com/java/chapter14.htm


25. ILoveToHelp page updated

I've made an update to my I Love to Help page

http://www.johnsmiley.com/ilovetohelp.htm

There's an updated Downloads section that contains links to a bunch of  VB programs you can download. 


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