Professor Smiley's VB.Net FAQ's Page

Questions I've been asked in the last three years about VB.Net

1. What is VB.Net?
2. How is VB.Net different from VB6?
3. If I'm new to programming, which one should I learn--VB6 or VB.Net? 
4. Which one of your books should I buy--the VB6 book or VB.Net book? 
5. Why was your VB.Net book recently trashed on Amazon.com?
6. What is the Common Language Runtime? 
7. Will VB.Net run on my PC?
8. Where can I purchase VB.Net? 
9. There are three versions of VB6--Learning Edition, Professional and Enterprise. Is VB.Net similar? 
10. Is there any easy way to convert my VB6 programs to VB.Net?
11. Is VB.Net the same as .Net? 
12. Why did Microsoft have to change VB? 
13. How can so many books be available on VB.Net when the product isn't for sale yet? 
14. How can I best learn VB.Net? 
15. Do you offer any classes on VB.Net? 
16. Will a knowledge of VB.Net get me a good job? 
17. What are the System Requirements for VB.Net?
18. What will happen to VB6?
19. Will Microsoft continue to support VB6? 
20. Will you be writing any more books on VB.Net? 
21. Will you be updating your VB6 books, specifically the Database and Objects books, for VB.Net? 
22. Will there be Certification exams for VB.Net?
23. I've taken and passed the Visual Basic 6 Certification Exams--will those still count?
24. Will you be writing VB.Net articles like you do VB6 articles?
25.  Can you use VB.net and Visual Basic 6 on the same computer?


1. What is VB.Net?

VB.Net is the latest version of Microsoft's Visual Basic language, designed to run within the .Net framework.

The .NET Framework is a new programming model designed to simplify application development in the highly distributed environment of the Internet. Software running on the .NET Framework can communicate with software running anywhere else through SOAP and can use standard objects locally or distributed across the Internet. Consequently, the developer experience is made consistent so that you can focus on features rather than on plumbing.


2. How is VB.Net different from VB6?

Some people have described the changes as dramatic--let's put it this way, if you are a VB6 programmer, you'll recognize many parts of VB.Net, but you'll also feel uncomfortable with others. Either way, it's a new ball game.


3. If I'm new to programming, which one should I learn--VB6 or VB.Net

Not an easy question to answer for the following reasons--I'll give you some food for thought.

First, I'm not sure about the future of VB.Net. 

From my perspective as the advocate for the beginner programmer, I don't yet know how widely it will be embraced, how affordable it will be for the average person, and how learning it will enhance your employability. It may be that other languages, such as Java and C#, become the new standard for the beginner.

Secondly, when setting out to learn a programming language, what should you look for?

Books, classes. support venues (such as Web pages, newsgroups, etc). At this stage of the game, even though there are dozens of books that claim to teach beginners VB.Net, there are really only a few (mine among them) and to my knowledge, with the exception of my VB.Net class beginning on April 2nd, there are no classes available. There are some web pages and newsgroups out there, but not nearly as many as prior versions of VB.

In short, if you need to learn VB in the next two weeks, you may want to pick up a copy of my Introductory VB6 book, which comes with a copy of VB6.


4. Which one of your books should I buy--the VB6 book or the VB.Net book?

See my answer to #3 above.


5. Why was your VB.Net book recently trashed on Amazon.com?

Let me begin by stating that everyone is entitled to their opinion--and that's one of the things that makes the review process at Amazon so great. As long as the reviewer abides by the rules, unbiased reviews posted at Amazon are great. Of course, one would hope that the reviewer actually read the book (I doubt very much that this particular reviewer even bought the book--more likely did what I did yesterday, which was thumb through 20 VB.Net books in my local Borders)

As far as negative reviews, all books receive them. My target audience for my books has always been the beginner audience. I don't presume any prior knowledge of audience, I spend a lot of time holding your hand as you go through the book, and of course, it's written in a pseudo-novelistic way.

This approach turns off self proclaimed geeks who feel as though I'm insulting their intelligence, and these people tend to savage my books as being too basic. 

Still, I get a hundred emails a month from people who tell me without my books being written the way they are, they would never have learned to program.

This particular reviewer claimed that my book doesn't cover .Net--what he meant to say was that my book is about Visual Basic.Net--and I don't cover any other topics superficially the way some of the pretenders he listed do. There's no sense devoting a chapter to ADO.Net or ASP.Net---as the name implies, these are not VB, and need to be covered in the proper way in another book.


6. What is the Common Language Runtime?

Great question.

The Common Language Runtime (CLR) is that part of the .Net environment which executes programs. The great thing about the CLR isn't the CLR itself, but the fact that languages which are developed to run under the CLR have interoperability. Microsoft says that ".Net languages are only lenses through which programmers see the same underlying framework."

What that means, in theory, is that code that you write in VB.Net can run in the Visual C++ or Visual C# environment WITHOUT modification. Even better, if the .NET framework is ported to run on Unix or Macintosh PC's, the code will also run--WITHOUT modifications.


7. Will VB.Net run on my PC?

That depends. At a minimum, you must be running Windows NT, 2000, or XP. That means if you are running Windows 95 or 98 (yes, there still are people doing that), you're out of luck.

Check this Microsoft Link for information on requirements for your PC. 

http://www.microsoft.com/catalog/display.asp?site=11133&subid=22&pg=3


8. Where can I purchase VB.Net?

Be sure to check the System Requirements for VB.Net before purchasing. It WILL NOT RUN on a system with Windows 95 or 98.

Right now, the only version of VB.Net that I can find available is the Standard Edition of VB.Net. You can purchase it (for approximately $109) from many locations, and these are listed on my links page

http://www.johnsmiley.com/vbnet/links.htm

You can also buy it directly from Amazon.com for $99 or so (and you may be eligible for free shipping). Here's the link to purchase it.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005RV4Y/professorsmileys/103-4200497-1277435


9. There are three versions of VB6--Learning Edition, Professional and Enterprise. Is VB.Net similar?

From what I can tell, Microsoft will produce two versions of VB.Net--Standard and Enterprise. You can read about the Standard Edition here

http://www.microsoft.com/catalog/display.asp?subid=22&site=11133&x=45&y=15

Right now, I can't find any information about the Enterprise Edition.


10.Is there an easy way to convert my VB6 programs to VB.Net?


I'm not sure how easy it is, but Microsoft has provided a Visual Basic .Net Upgrade Wizard to convert VB6 programs to VB.Net. My experience with it hasn't been all that great---but Microsoft claims that the Upgrade Wizard, which will upgrade 95 percent of your existing Visual Basic 6.0 code to Visual Basic .NET


11. Is VB.Net the same as .Net?

No. VB.Net is just one of many languages that runs under the .Net framework. Right now, the others are C++ and C# (and COBOL if you can believe it)

When you hear people speaking about .Net, they may be speaking of the .Net Enterprise tools, packaged as Visual Studio.Net, which encompass all of these languages. For more, check this link:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/default.asp


12. Why did Microsoft have to change VB?

VB had to change because of Microsoft's movement to the .Net framework. VB6, as we know it, doesn't produce Common Language Runtime compliant code.


13. How can so many books be available on VB.Net when the product isn't for sale yet?

Actually, you can now purchase VB.Net--but you're right, that's just a recent development.

Speaking for myself (and other authors as well) I've had two Beta versions of VB.Net which I've used to write my VB.Net book. In addition, I was given, shortly before December, the production version of VB.Net to verify the code in my book.


14. How can I best learn VB.Net?

People learn in different ways. The main ways of learning a new language are:

1. Buy a book

2. Take a class (Internet or real)

3. Buy the product and learn on your own

I have links to books, classes and product information here, and on my VB.Net links page

http://www.johnsmiley.com/vbnet/links.htm


15. Do you offer any classes on VB.Net?

Yes, I offer many classes on VB.Net. Check this link for more information.

http://www.johnsmiley.com/main/training.htm


16. Will a knowledge of VB.Net get me a good job?

At this point, I'm not sure, and it depends if you already know VB6. 

Historically, knowing a language that no one else knows makes you marketable. However, bear this in mind. At the moment, it is estimated that there are 6 MILLION Visual Basic 6 programmers. If, as is estimated, 1 MILLION of them run out and buy VB.Net, and learn it in the next three months, at best you'll be one of 1 MILLION who know the new language. If you are new to VB, and decide to learn VB.Net from scratch, then you will be at the bottom of the job rung.

You might want to consider learning C# instead. Some of the 6 MILLION Visual Basic 6 programmers will migrate to this language. Since there is not prior version of C#, it should mean that if you learn C# as your first programming language, you're not at the bottom of the job rung. For more information on C#, check my C# page...

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


17. What are the System Requirements for VB.Net?

For the Standard Edition, you need 

Windows NT, 2000 or XP

Lots of memory (depends on the Operating System)

Lots of disk storage (500 MB to 2 Gigabytes)

A CD or DVD drive

For details, check this link:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/productinfo/sysreq.asp


18. What will happen to VB6?

Microsoft has announced they intend to 'support' VB6, via Service Packs, into the near future. 

VB6 Certification exams will continue to be offered as well.

I've heard VB6 analogized to dBase---there are still a zillion dBase applications running today, and still people writing new applications in dBase. VB6 isn't going to go away---with a zillion VB6 applications written (and no easy way to migrate them to VB.Net), if you are a VB6 programmer, you should still have plenty of work for the foreseeable future. 

For details on Microsoft's VB6 intentions,, check this link, which is an interview with the Microsoft VB.Net Product manager

http://www.universalthread.com/Magazine/June2001/Page14.asp


19. Will Microsoft continue to support VB6?

See # 18 above.


20. Will you be writing any more books on VB.Net?

I hope so. I would like to write a book that discusses Database connectivity within VB.Net---but I suspect this book may turn out to be a book on ADO.Net. Book decisions are based on many things, but the bottom line is only books for which there is a market will be published.

Stay tuned, and in touch with me, for more information.


21. Will you be updating your VB6 books, specifically the Database and Objects books for VB.Net?

I hope so. 


22. Will there be Certification exams for VB.Net?

Yes there are. I offer several Internet based courses on them. Check this link for more information

http://www.johnsmiley.com/main/training.htm


23. I've taken and passed the Visual Basic 6 Certification Exams--will those still count?

Historically, Microsoft has taken their time in retiring previous VB version exams. For instance, it was only last February (about 3 years after the release of VB6) that the VB5 exam was retired, and Microsoft retained any Certifications based on that exam until February 28, 2002. 

The bottom line is that I would think that any Certifications, based on any VB6 exams, will remain valid for quite some time.


24. Will you be writing VB.Net articles like you do VB6 articles.


Yes, I hope to start writing some VB.Net articles in the next month or so. Be sure to check the link for my Articles page at

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


25. Can you use VB.Net and Visual Basic 6 on the same computer?


According to the Microsoft VB.Net FAQ page, you can (although you couldn't do this with the Beta). Check this link for more information.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/vbasic/productinfo/qa.asp

 

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