Introduction

IN 2002, VISUAL BASIC EXPERIENCED the biggest leap in innovation since it was released, with the introduction of Visual Basic .NET (as it was then named). After more than a decade, Visual Basic was overdue for a major overhaul. Nevertheless, .NET went beyond an overhaul. The changes affected almost every aspect of development with Visual Basic. The entire runtime model shifted to a new common language runtime (CLR) environment and the language went from object-based to object-oriented. From integrating Internet functionality to creating object-oriented frameworks, Visual Basic .NET challenged traditional VB developers to learn dramatic new concepts and techniques.

The various releases since then have continued to provide even more enhancements to the Visual Basic language. New features have been added that both cement this language's position as a true object-oriented language and provide access to new and better technologies. Visual Basic 2010 continues this evolution; and while it remains a challenge for VB6 developers to learn, it's an easy road for those with any familiarity with previous versions, and this book is here to help you on your way.

Visual Studio 2010 ships with version 4 of the .NET Framework. This book provides details about not only the latest version of Visual Basic — version 10 — but also the new .NET Framework 4. Combined, these products give Visual Basic developers the capability to build applications using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Forms, Visual Studio Tools for Office, and applications and libraries based upon the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), and SharePoint.

The .NET Framework 4 is the most significant change to the core framework since .NET Framework 2.0. Fortunately, as with Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2010 enables developers to continue to build and deploy applications that target both the newly released version of .NET, and previously released versions of the .NET Framework.

For those who may only now be transitioning from the VB6 development model, you'll find that this version of Visual Basic Professional is targeted less than ever at traditional VB6 code differences. With each of the four .NET versions, the core language has continued to progress and differentiate itself from where it was 10+ years ago. In some cases, the same functionality is implemented in a different way. This was not done arbitrarily — there are good reasons for the changes. However, you must be prepared to unlearn old habits and form new ones.

Next, you must be open to the new concepts. Full object orientation, new component techniques, new visual tools for both local and Internet interfaces — all of these and more must become part of your skill set to effectively develop applications in Visual Basic.

This book covers Visual Basic from start to finish. It starts by introducing Visual Studio 2010. As the tool you'll use to work with Visual Basic, understanding Visual Studio's core capabilities is key to your success and enjoyment with building .NET applications. In these pages, you have the opportunity to learn everything from database access, Language Integrated Queries (LINQ), and the Entity Framework, to integration with other technologies such as WPF, WCF, and service-based solutions. Along with investigating new features in detail, you'll see that Visual Basic 10 has emerged as a powerful yet easy-to-use language that enables you to target the Internet just as easily as the desktop. This book covers the .NET Framework 4.

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