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Beginning Microsoft® Visual Basic® 2008 by Bryan Newsome, Thearon Willis

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Chapter 3. Writing Software

Now that you have Visual Basic 2008 up and running and even written a simple program, you're going to look at the fundamentals behind the process of writing software and start putting together some exciting programs of your own.

In this chapter, you will:

  • Learn about algorithms

  • Learn to use variables

  • Explore different data types, including integers, floating-point numbers, strings, and dates

  • Study scope

  • Learn about debugging applications

  • Learn more about how computers store data in memory

Information and Data

Information describes facts and can be presented or found in any format, whether that format is optimized for humans or for computers. For example, if you send four people to different intersections to survey traffic, at the end of the process you will end up with four handwritten tallies of the number of cars that went past (say, a tally for each hour).

The term data is used to describe information that has been collated, ordered, and formatted in such a way that it can be used by a piece of computer software. The information you have (several notebooks full of handwritten scribbles) cannot be directly used by a piece of software. Rather, someone has to work with it to convert it into usable data the computer can understand. For example, the scribbles can be transferred to an Excel spreadsheet that can be directly used by a piece of software designed to analyze the results.

Algorithms

The computer industry changes at an incredible speed. Most professionals ...

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