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Getting Started in Visual Basic
Rod Stephens
If you have never programmed before, I would probably buy one of the fluffier books first. Some possibilities include:
  • The Complete Idiot's Guide to Visual Basic 6, Clayton Walnum, 334 pages with disk, $17.99. [Amazon] [Amazon UK]
  • Visual Basic 6 for Dummies, Wally Wang, 504 pages with CD, $23.99. [Amazon] [Amazon UK]
  • Learn to Program with Visual Basic 6, John Smiley, 777 pages with disk, $23.99. [Amazon] [Amazon UK]

The idea is to get started gradually with this book, not to become an instant expert. Read through this book as quickly as possible just to catch the major concepts.

If you have already done a little programming or are very comfortable with computers, skip this step.

Then get a bigger book read it more carefully, working through the examples. A couple books that I think are reasonable are:

    Core Visual Basic 5, $39.99, 600 pages, paperback with CD-ROM. This book provides fast paced coverage of most Visual Basic programming topics. It is well-suited to someone who knows how to program in another language. It has a particularly nice chapter on creating add-ins in VB5.

    I have not seen a VB6 version of this book, but there are few enough differences between VB5 and VB6 that this would still probably be a good book to have. [Amazon] [Amazon UK]

    Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 Developer's Workshop, $44.99, 750 pages, paperback with CD-ROM. Explains a wide variety of intermediate and advanced topics like object-oriented programming, ActiveX controls, API functions, graphics techniques, etc. It does not go into great depth in any topic (for more on graphics read Visual Basic Graphics Programming, for more on API read Appleman's book, etc.). It provides a broad introduction to a lot of important topics, however. [Amazon] [Amazon UK]

After you have the basics covered, I think everyone should read my book Bug Proofing Visual Basic. This isn't just me trying to sell books. Everyone should understand this topic and some of the tips here can save you endless hours of frustration.

Then you can decide whether you want to specialize in database programming, client/server, Web development, etc.

Descriptions of my favorite books

Visitor reviews of other people's favorite books

Some Free Stuff

  • InformIT's Free Library contains literally hundreds of free books online! Some of the books that are most relevant to Visual Basic users include:

    The library also includes lots of C++, Delphi, VB5, and other books.

    Karl Peterson's Web site is hosting Bruce McKinney's book Hardcore Visual Basic Version 5.0 (Second Edition). Click here to check it out for free.

    Click here to download a free copy of the Visual Basic 5 Control Creation Edition (CCE). It does not let you make a compiled executable (.exe file), but you can build ActiveX controls (.ocx files) and run programs in the development environment. A great way to get started inexpensively!

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