In This Chapter
In the beginning, a new architecture was created. The architect held the model to the light and Bill Gates saw that it was good, and he said, behold, we shall call the architecture .NET. Then the economy imploded, e-commerce companies failed, and according to the news, many people lost a lot of money on tech stocks.
From a historical perspective of about a year from now, we will look back and this will look like a correction or hiccup. The new economy is based on information, just as the old economy was based on manufacturing. We are in the Information Age, or what Shoshana Zuboff refers to as the business of informating, the process that translates descriptions and measurements of activities, events, and objects into information (Zuboff, 1988).
Visual Basic .NET is a timely release of a newly architected product to address the need to make information ubiquitous, to "informate." Businesses need to track transactions and buying habits, and make goods and services accessible by various connected devices, including cellular phones.
I grew up on Basic: ROM-BASIC, BASICA, GW-Basic, Basic for DOS, Visual Basic for DOS, and half a dozen versions of Visual Basic for Windows. Visual Basic .NET owes something to its predecessors, but Visual Basic .NET is the most significantly and radically changed version of Basic to date. Everythingfrom a unified Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and tools to the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and the object-oriented grammarhas all changed. If you are an experienced VB6 programmer, you will find many familiar elements in VB.NET that will make you feel right at home and several new features that you can sink your teeth into.
For all these reasons, we are beginning at the street level with the IDE. In this chapter, you will see some of the best and most useful features of Visual Studio .NET, and tools in the .NET Framework. We will even create a few applications. (We do have to get back to making a living.)