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Writing Word Macros, Second Edition by Steven Roman PhD

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Visual Basic

Microsoft took the BASIC programming language to new heights when it developed Visual Basic. In the early 1990s, Microsoft faced a dilemma. Windows was (and is) a considerably more complex operating system than DOS, so much so that only professional programmers could effectively use Microsoft’s main programming tool for creating Windows-based applications—the Microsoft Windows SDK, which is based on the C language. (These days, this tool has given way to a more modern tool, Microsoft Foundation Classes, which is still not for the casual programmer.)

But Microsoft wanted more people to be able to create Windows applications, since it was good for business. So in 1991, the company introduced Visual Basic (VB), which essentially combined the BASIC language with a visual programming environment that allowed users to create graphical components easily, such as windows, command buttons, text boxes, option buttons, and menus that are required by Windows applications. The underlying language for VB is called Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA, although this term was not coined until later in the development of VB.

The first version of Visual Basic was little more than an interesting toy. It did not really have the power to create serious Windows applications. However, it provided a necessary starting point for further development of the product. Each successive version of Visual Basic has taken major steps forward in sophistication, so that now VB is by far the most widely ...

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