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vb6 learning or professional

Posted on 2002-04-08
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Last Modified: 2010-05-02
I can't afford professional (500 bucks), but coming from a guy who just bought "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Visual Basic 6.0" does the learning edition not have everything a beginner would need?  Right now I'm using a limited version that came with the book.  I don't know anything really about programming (other than a little dbase III stuff way back when) so I thought VB would be a good place to start, and keep the frustration level to a minimum.  The working edition won't run your programs without it running first, and won't make .exe files.  I don't want to spend a $100 and find out the Learning Edition is just as limited as my working edition.
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Question by:rspar1
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Arthur_Wood earned 50 total points
ID: 6926968
You will not be able to purchase VB6 (at least not from Microsoft), as VB 6 is NO LONGER being sold by Microsoft.  It was replaced, in Mid-February, with a completely NEW version, VB.NET.  VB 6 Learing Edition might be a good place to start, IF YOU CAN FIND a copy for sale, but that might be a problem.  The major difference with Learing Edition is that you will only be able to run the EXE (Yes, Learnig Edition can genrate an EXE), on the PC where you have the product installed.  YOu will not be eble to create a program that can be installed on another PC.

VB.NET is quite different from VB 6, though much of the fundamental strcuture of the language is the same.  It is MUCH more Object Oriented, and may prove to be a real challenge for a true beginner.

Arthur Wood
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Author Comment

by:rspar1
ID: 6927124
I can ebay the professional 6.0 for $130.
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by:rspahitz
ID: 6929184
Of course, you don't really need the Learning edition if you have MS Office, since the VB that comes with Word/Excel/Access is the same language.  If you have Office, your VB cost is $0!

The main difference in the versions seems to be (aside from making an .exe) that some of the components available in the toolbox are different.
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by:Arthur_Wood
ID: 6929713
But the version of VB (actually Visual Basic for Applications - known as VBA) DOES NOT allow you to create an independent, stand-alone  program, outside of the Office application in which you are working.  Also, there are some significant differences between VBA and VB 6.0 - AND HUGE differences between VBA and VB.NET.

Arthur Wood
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by:rspahitz
ID: 6929768
>DOES NOT allow you to create an independent, stand-alone  program

Neither does VB Student edition.
Furthermore, the professional edition is merely "VBA for Windows"  it doesn't let you create an independent, stand-alone program outside of the Windows environment!

>significant differences between VBA and VB 6.0

Nope, not really.  The main differences are in the included components.  If you know of anything else, let me know.  I've done a lot of research on this.  The both use the same virtual machine for their syntax (aka VBA, aka MSVBVM60.dll) and therefore have the same commandset.  That structure allows references to other objects.  By default, Word VBA includes the Word object library, Excel includes the Excel object library, VB Professional includes the VB object library (for compiling.)

>HUGE differences between VBA and VB.NET

Yes, you mentioned that already, and you're 100% correct!

I was merely looking at it from a cost/learning perspective.  For anyone who simply wants to learn how to use VB, the VBA environment may be enough, and is "free" for anyone with Office.

For those looking to create professional applications for distribution, VB6 or VB.NET Professional would be necessary, but your knowledge from the VBA environment would be a good starting point to get there since the rest is simply how you prepare your program for distribution.

As for VB Learning/Student edition, I wouldn't recommend it.  It simply offers what you can get in Office's VBA which, if you bought it, would also give you other useful tools.
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Author Comment

by:rspar1
ID: 6930041
What version of Office does has VBA?  Although I'm a little leary of sending some guy 130 bucks on ebay that would seem to be the way to go.  I'm not sure but the latest version of Office is probably considerably more.  

I'm looking to make my own billing program for my business so that I can fine tune it to my own needs instead of the generic ones you can buy.  Also I have some relatives with a small manufacturing business that needs a fairly simple program to cut down on ciphering errors.
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Expert Comment

by:Arthur_Wood
ID: 6930111
rspar1,

VBA in Office 97 is essentially VB 5.0, WITHOUT the ability to raise your own events in Objects- VBA 97 DOES NOT support the WithEvents construct.

VBA in Office 2000 is essentially VB 6, though VBA does NOT support Control arrays, and you cannot create libraries of functions/classes (DLLs) with VBA.  Thus you cannot create a component in one tool, to be used from another tool.

The problem with either of the two applications that you describe is that in order to implement them with VBA, the user would need OWN MS Office, and as you point out, that involves some $$$.
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Author Comment

by:rspar1
ID: 6930216
thx for the help
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LVL 22

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by:rspahitz
ID: 6931720
Arthur is correct, and deserves the points.

However, just to clarify, WithEvents is not necessarily important for small projects.

And although VBA6 doesn't support the controls collection directly, it can be accessed through the forms collection as follows:

    Dim icntr As Integer
   
    For icntr = 1 To Me.ActiveWindow.Document.FormFields.Count
        Debug.Print Me.ActiveWindow.Document.FormFields(icntr).Name
    Next icntr

And, of course, you can't created .DLLs since that's the same function used to create .EXEs.

Again, Arthur's diagnosis is correct that you should purchase VB and not use VBA since you said, "I'm looking to make my own billing program for my business..."
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