At my institution, students who want to major in computer technology are required to take a two-semester introductory programming course. The language used in those two courses is Microsoft's Visual Basic. On the first day of class, I dutifully ask the students what they think the purpose of the course is. Invariably, most of the students say that the purpose of the course is to learn Visual Basic. Although learning Visual Basic is one objective of the course, it is not the primary objective.
The primary goal of the course is to teach the student to think like a programmer. As we journey through those two semesters, I strive to impart to the students the mental discipline, critical thinking, and creative processes that are all components in computer programming. The fact that we use Visual Basic as the vehicle for the learning processes is almost incidental. After all, there have been some pretty sharp programmers emerge during the past five decades who did not use Visual Basic as their first programming language.
The primary goal of this book is the same: to teach you to think like a computer programmer. To do this, I discuss things that are going on "under the hood" moreso than other introductory texts. Most programming texts do not discuss compiler symbol tables and lvalue and rvalue values. This one does. Armed with these and similar details, you'll be better prepared for the future as a computer programmer.
In the field of computer technology, one thing is certain: Things change. Among those things are programming languages themselves . Mastering one language is fine until a better language comes along. If this book can teach you to think like a programmer, you'll be able to master any language the future might throw at you. To paraphrase an old saying: "Give people a fish, and they eat for a day. Teach them to fish, and they feed themselves forever." My goal in this book is to give you the tools today to survive the future. If I can help you do that, I've done my job.
The secondary goal of this book is to teach you how to use Visual Basic .NET. As you already know, Visual Basic .NET is but one component of a suite of programming tools embodied in Visual Studio .NET.
Finally, Visual Basic .NET is substantially different from earlier versions of Visual Basic. If you're new to Visual Basic and have no previous experience, great! If you have prior experience with Visual Basic, you're going to have to unlearn some things that you are accustomed to. Not only is the language itself different, so is the environment in which it runs. Change is afoot, and it's wearing big shoes!