With its language enhancements and its tight integration into the .NET Framework, Visual Basic is a thoroughly modernized language that will likely become the premier development tool for creating a wide range of .NET applications. In the past, Visual Basic was often seen as a “lightweight” language that could be used for particular kinds of tasks, but was wholly unsuitable for others. (It was often argued, sometimes incorrectly, that you couldn’t create such things as Windows dynamic link libraries or shell extensions using Visual Basic.) In the .NET Framework, VB.NET emerges as an equal player; Microsoft’s claim of language independence — that programming language should be a lifestyle choice, rather than a choice forced on the developer by the character of a project — is realized in the .NET platform.
This means that VB.NET can be used to create a wide range of applications and components, including the following:
Windows console mode applications
Standard Windows applications
Windows controls and Windows control libraries
Web (ASP.NET) applications
Web controls and web control libraries
.NET classes and namespaces
Accessing application object models (such as those of the individual applications in the Microsoft Office suite) using COM automation
Most importantly, for the first time with the release of VB.NET, Visual Basic becomes an all-purpose development environment for building Internet applications, an area in which it has traditionally been weak. This means that the release of this newest version should revitalize Visual Basic, allowing it to remain the tool of choice for developing state-of-the-art software for the next generation of software development.