Just like any reference (such as a dictionary), this book will be useful to many types of readers:
Developers who have used previous versions of Visual Basic
Developers who are new to Visual Basic, but who have been developing applications in other programming languages, such as C++
Those who are learning VB.NET as their first language and would like to have a definitive language reference on their shelf
If you are new to the Visual Basic language, then you will want to pay particular attention to the first half of the book, which discusses many important areas of programming under VB.NET, including variables, data types, the basic principles of object-oriented programming, and error-handling techniques.
Some critics have argued that VB.NET is an entirely new language. While we wouldn’t go quite that far, we do agree not only that the language changes have been extensive, but that the new .NET platform will result in a paradigm shift that affects the way we think about application development. So in many ways, as a VB or VBScript developer new to VB.NET, you may find yourself in a position similar to that of a developer who is new to all forms of VB.NET.
However, one of our goals was to develop a book that will ease the thorny transition to VB.NET from earlier versions of VB. In particular, the first nine chapters of the book offer a rapid introduction to VB.NET and its new features. Appendix A discusses many of the major language changes between VB 6 and VB.NET, while Appendix F lists VB 6 language elements that are no longer supported in VB.NET. Finally, if version differences exist in a language element, we include a “VB.NET/ VB 6 Differences” section that shows you precisely how the behavior of that element has changed from VB 6 to VB.NET.
As we write the second edition of this book, VB.NET is brand new (the initial version of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio .NET have just been released to manufacturing), so existing VB.NET developers are a rarity. But we believe that, given the strengths of VB.NET, this situation will change quickly. As you continue to develop in VB.NET, we believe you will find that VB.NET Language in a Nutshell retains its value. As an experienced developer, you can delve into the book to get the lowdown on a language element that interests you or that seems to be behaving erratically or unexpectedly in your code. Appendix B details all of the language elements by category to help you find the relevant entry in the language reference more easily.