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Sams Teach Yourself Visual Basic 2008 in 24 Hours: Complete Starter Kit Paperback – May 26, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0672329845 ISBN-10: 0672329840 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Sams Publishing; 1 edition (May 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672329840
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672329845
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #233,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Foxall is vice president of Tigerpaw Software, Inc. (, a Bellevue, Nebraska, Microsoft Certified Partner specializing in commercial database applications. He manages the development, support, training, and education of Tigerpaw CRM+, an award-winning CRM product designed to automate contact management, marketing, service and repair, proposal generation, inventory control, and purchasing. At the start of 2008, the current release of Tigerpaw CRM+ had more than 16,000 licensed users. Foxall’s experience in creating certified Office-compatible software has made him an authority on application interface and behavior standards of applications for the Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office environments.


Foxall has been writing commercial production Visual Basic code for more than 14 years, in both single-programmer and multiple-programmer environments. He’s the author of numerous books, including Practical Standards for Microsoft Visual Basic and MCSD in a Nutshell: The Visual Basic Exams. He also has written articles for Access-Office-VBA Advisor and Visual Basic Programmer’s Journal. Foxall has a bachelor’s degree in management of information systems (MIS). He is a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer and an international speaker on Microsoft Visual Basic. When not programming or writing about programming, he enjoys spending time with his family, playing guitar, listening to amazing bands like Pink Floyd and OSI, and playing computer games. You can reach him at

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.



Visual Basic 2008 is Microsoft's latest incarnation of the enormously popular Visual Basic language, and it's fundamentally different from the versions that came before it. Visual Basic 2008 is now more powerful and more capable than ever before, and its features and functionality are on par with "higher-level" languages such as C++. One consequence of this newfound power is added complexity. Gone are the days when you could sit down with Visual Basic and the online Help and teach yourself what you needed to know to create a functional program.

Audience and Organization

This book is targeted toward those who have little or no programming experience or who might be picking up Visual Basic as a second language. The book has been structured and written with a purpose: to get you productive as quickly as possible. I've used my experiences in writing large commercial applications with Visual Basic and teaching Visual Basic to create a book that I hope cuts through the fluff and teaches you what you need to know. All too often, authors fall into the trap of focusing on the technology rather than on the practical application of the technology. I've worked hard to keep this book focused on teaching you practical skills that you can apply immediately toward a development project. Feel free to post your suggestions or success stories at

This book is divided into five parts, each of which focuses on a different aspect of developing applications with Visual Basic 2008. These parts generally follow the flow of tasks you'll perform as you begin creating your own programs using Visual Basic 2008. I recommend that you read them in the order in which they appear.

  • Part I, "The Visual Basic 2008 Environment," teaches you about the Visual Basic environment, including how to navigate and access Visual Basic's numerous tools. In addition, you'll learn about some key development concepts such as objects, collections, and events.

  • Part II, "Building a User Interface," shows you how to build attractive and functional user interfaces. In this part, you'll learn about forms and controls—the user interface elements such as text boxes and list boxes.

  • Part III, "Making Things Happen: Programming," teaches you the nuts and bolts of Visual Basic 2008 programming—and there's a lot to learn. You'll discover how to create modules and procedures, as well as how to store data, perform loops, and make decisions in code. After you've learned the core programming skills, you'll move into object-oriented programming and debugging applications.

  • Part IV, "Working with Data," introduces you to working with graphics, text files, and programming databases and shows you how to automate external applications such as Word and Excel. In addition, this part teaches you how to manipulate a user's file system and the Windows Registry.

  • Part V, "Deploying Solutions and Beyond," shows you how to distribute an application that you've created to an end user's computer. In Hour 24, "The 10,000-Foot View," you'll learn about Microsoft's .NET initiative from a higher, less-technical level.

Many readers of previous editions have taken the time to give me input on how to make this book better. Overwhelmingly, I was asked to have examples that build on the examples in the previous chapters. In this book, I have done that as much as possible. Now, instead of learning concepts in isolated bits, you'll be building a feature-rich Picture Viewer program throughout the course of this book. You'll begin by building the basic application. As you progress through the chapters, you'll add menus and toolbars to the program, build an Options dialog box, modify the program to use the Windows Registry and a text file, and even build a setup program to distribute the application to other users. I hope you find this approach beneficial in that it allows you to learn the material in the context of building a real program.

Conventions Used in This Book

This book uses several design elements and conventions to help you prioritize and reference the information it contains:

Note - By the Way boxes provide useful sidebar information that you can read immediately or circle back to without losing the flow of the topic at hand.

Tip - Did You Know? boxes highlight information that can make your Visual Basic programming more effective.

Caution - Watch Out! boxes focus your attention on problems or side effects that can occur in specific situations.

New terms appear in a semibold typeface for emphasis.

In addition, this book uses various typefaces to help you distinguish code from regular English. Code is presented in a monospace font. Placeholders—words or characters that represent the real words or characters you would type in code—appear in italic monospace. When you are asked to type or enter text, that text appears in bold.

Menu options are separated by a comma. For example, when you should open the File menu and choose the New Project menu option, the text says "Select File, New Project."

Some code statements presented in this book are too long to appear on a single line. In these cases, a line-continuation character (an underscore) is used to indicate that the following line is a continuation of the current statement.

Onward and Upward!

This is an exciting time to be learning how to program. It's my sincerest wish that when you finish this book, you feel capable of creating, debugging, and deploying modest Visual Basic programs using many of Visual Basic's tools. Although you won't be an expert, you'll be surprised at how much you've learned. And I hope this book will help you determine your future direction as you proceed down the road to Visual Basic mastery.

I love programming with Visual Basic, and sometimes I find it hard to believe I get paid to do so. I hope you find Visual Basic as enjoyable as I do!

© Copyright Pearson Education. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

James Foxall, President & CEO of Tigerpaw Software, has been involved in commercial software development for over 20 years and was instrumental in the development and creation of Tigerpaw's award winning product suite, serving over 35,000 users in 28 countries. In the 20+ years since joining his family's company full time, James has helped transform Tigerpaw Software from a small "garage" business to one that employs more than 45 people and produces business automation software servicing the IT/Networking, Telecommunications, and Systems Integrator industries. In his current role, James provides the vision and management to keep Tigerpaw focused on its customers and properly serving its markets.

James has a Masters degree in Business Administration and a BS degree in Management of Information Systems. These two degrees dovetail perfectly as James is devoted to creating better businesses through technology. James has written 14 books on technology which have been published in over a dozen languages around the world. He is considered an authority on application interface and behavior standards of Windows applications and serves the business community as an international speaker on Microsoft technologies and best practices for automating business processes in the SMB environment. Viewed as a business and technology expert, James has been featured on several television news shows, as well as in various trade publications and newspaper articles. James' goal for the future is to grow Tigerpaw by continuing to provide software and services that allow customers to not only meet their challenges, but to excel in a constantly changing market.

Customer Reviews

This is a very good book for learning Visual Basic.
Brendan E. Casey
I have to say, that most of the time I was just going through the motions to achieve what needed to be done.
He doesn't even tell you how to make a executable file until the end of the book.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By J. Carlino on July 14, 2008
Format: Paperback
I love this book! The only programming I had had was Basic back in 1984-85 so obviously I am starting from the beginning. I needed basics (like general definitions, logic of how programming works, and specifics for how the Visual Basic works) so I could understand the programmers I work with. After reading and going through the exercises in this book, I can speak the same language and I've even been able to do automation for my quality assurance testing.

BTW - took me about 2 1/2 weeks to get through it all ;-)
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Keith Williams on July 1, 2008
Format: Paperback
I would classify myself as a "hobby" programmer. I enjoy programming, but aside from a few courses taken years ago, I have little formal training. I frequently write programs for myself, my clients, and my friends (I'm a computer technician). Although I know a little about OOP (object-oriented programming), I find it to be overkill for many of the programs I like to write. Most of the time good, old-fashioned procedural programming does the trick, and although maybe if I choose to revisit my code twenty years from now, I will regret not having laid out my code using a proper class hierarchy, I sort of doubt it.

If the preceding paragraph somewhat describes you as well, you may enjoy this book. To me, it takes VB2008 and makes it simple and enjoyable like VB6. The author, James Foxall, doesn't try to cover everything, but he covers enough to be able to actually use VB2008 to solve real problems, and along the way he teaches the fundamentals of Visual Basic (even a blessedly short chapter on custom classes).

When done, you can use VB2008 to: develop and use forms (dialog boxes), manipulate the objects that VB and .NET provide, work with the keyboard, manipulate graphics within your own windows, manipulate files and directories, read/write text files, databases, and the registry. You can use automation to manipulate other applications, and even package your creation for distribution using Microsoft's "ClickOnce" technology.

The book is a good size, large enough to cover major areas, but not so large as to intimidate. I only wish there was more coverage of common .NET classes such as the print / print previewing classes. Overall, I would say this is a great book for all us old VB6 types wanting to "modernize."
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bob M. on May 12, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Clear, concise, understandable and (a little bit) humorous. As a mainframe assembler programmer of almost 40 years and a former VB6 hobbyist, this book allowed me to make the leap to .NET and OOP. I also recommend it for first-time programmers.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles Ashbacher HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 16, 2008
Format: Paperback
It is obvious that no subject as complicated as Visual Basic can actually be taught in 24 lessons, each of which is designed to be completed in an hour. Therefore, to criticize any book on that basis is to miss the point. These books should be called "Teach Yourself the Fundamentals ..." but that of course is not as catchy a title. When I examine such books, my standards of evaluation are based on the topics covered in the context of what is a reasonable set of necessary knowledge.
In that area, Foxall succeeds at a high level. The fundamental GUI objects, their properties and methods are covered as well as the events that they are associated with. Variable, functions, subroutines, arrays and most importantly, objects are introduced to significant depth. Control constructs such as the if - then and loops are covered as well the basics of error handling via the catching of exceptions.
If you are interested in getting a quick and effective introduction to Visual Basic and do not want to take a formal class, then this is the book for you. All you need is the motivation to learn, as the Visual Basic 2008 Express Edition is included with the book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MTCampbell on September 7, 2009
Format: Paperback
VB 2008 in a month

Alright, 26ish hours divided into the span of 30-someodd days. Not bad for me!

I am a beginner, absolutely no programming history (well except for BASIC when I was a kid and made a G.I. Joe dB program that flashed "ACCESS DENIED" if you didn't enter the correct password). This book is for beginners. James Foxall takes you through the steps toward making your own functional, publishable windows form by taking a sometimes blah, but mostly humorous journey.

To start, the book comes with a DVD of VB 2008 Express. It's a simple install. The program is also available from Microsoft Developers Network as a free download (all express editions are free, but lack some advanced functionality from what I can tell). The biggest headache I had with this book is that it doesn't mention until page 16 that you need source files that are available from the Sams Publishing website. It would be nice to have, perhaps in the intro, all of the things laid out that one needs to do before starting the Hour 1--I know it may sound remedial to most, but like I said, I have NO programming experience and this book IS directed to an audience that has no experience.

Source files...oh man! It was absolutely frustrating trying to peruse Sams Publishing site to find this book, register it and then find where you're supposed to download these files that accompany the book. I literally couldn't find out the info from the Sams site. Then I noticed in the little by the way section of the book that James has a link to his site and POOF! The files were easily available and downloadable.

I have to say, that most of the time I was just going through the motions to achieve what needed to be done.
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