The BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language was developed in the mid-1960s at Dartmouth College as a means of writing simple programs. BASIC's primary purpose was to familiarize novices with programming techniques. Microsoft's Visual Basic language, introduced in the early 1990s to simplify the development of Microsoft Windows applications, has become one of the most popular programming languages in the world.
Microsoft's latest development tools are part of its corporate-wide strategy for integrating the Internet and the Web into computer applications. This strategy is implemented in Microsoft's .NET platform, which provides developers with the capabilities they need to create and run computer applications that can execute on computers distributed across the Internet. Microsoft's three primary programming languages are Visual Basic .NET (based on the original BASIC), Visual C++ .NET (based on C++) and C# (a new language based on C++ and Java that was developed expressly for the .NET platform). Developers using .NET can write software components in the language they are most familiar with and then form applications by combining those components with components written in any .NET language.