For the first few years of my engineering career, I spent a lot of time writing Visual Basic based GUI applications for automated factory machines. These were the sort of VB applications that were very difficult to test, because for the most part the users consisted of moderately educated folks who had a hard time using a mouse, let alone clicking on the screen and entering information. Inevitably, no matter how much I tested these applications, one of these operators would do something that would bring the application crashing to its knees. Very quickly, I learned the value of reusing thoroughly tested Visual Basic code. Otherwise, if you start from scratch every time, you’re bound to make new mistakes all over again.
In time, I learned to significantly speed up my own Visual Basic programming by working in a more modular format – utilizing components that I either wrote myself or downloaded off of reliable source code websites. I really started to appreciate those folks who spend time writing up a VB component that performs a specific function, and then offer that code for absolutely free to other developers. In the course of my work – these selfless developers were saints. Today I’d like to offer up some of those resource websites to MUO readers who are also VB developers.
Finding the Best Websites for Visual Basic Examples
Whenever you need to create a particular function or add a feature to your application, don’t start from scratch – just sift through the visual basic examples at these websites, download the ones you want and then customize them to suit your needs. A while back I wrote an article on the top professional sample code websites for programmers. Many of those are invaluable resources for the VB programmer, such as Planet-Source-Code and DevX. David also wrote a great article on Google Code University, where you can learn to write in different coding languages. However, what I’d like to focus on in this article are resources tailored specifically for Visual Basic programmers and for the sort of programming that they do.
VBCode – Visual Basic Code Snippets and Files
VBCode is a valuable, constantly updated resource featuring hundreds of VB code examples. In choosing the best sites, I evaluated the site based on not only the volume of free VB code, but also layout and ease of use. If it takes hours to locate the code sample that you need, the site won’t be very useful. The great thing about VBCode is that it’s wonderfully organized into 10 general categories such as Internet and Music/Sounds. You can also search the entire database for keyword phrases that describe what the code snippet does. The website currently holds over 10,000 lines of sample code, and that number rises every month.
On the left menu bar at this website, there’s a “popular code” category, which I love to search through – you never know what kind of code snippet you’ll find. For example, a quick review just now turned up source code that lets you:
- Make a form transparent
- Code you can use to check your email
- How to produce “movie” like credits that scroll
A1 VB Code – Visual Basic Code, Forums and More
A1 VB Code is a pretty cool Visual Basic coding community that features thousands of Visual Basic examples. The code here covers VB and VB.NET as well as ASP and ASP.NET. The code here is sorted into 22 categories, including databases, game programming, XML and Internet Programming just to name a few. My favorite is usually the “Controls” section, because they’re so easy to integrate into existing source code and usually very easy to customize.
At A1 VB Code you’ll also find a fairly active forum where you can ask questions or discuss code. This website on it’s own would be more than enough of a resource to keep any VB programmer satisfied. If you can’t find what you need and you’re having a hard time coding it yourself, you’re sure to find someone in the forums who’s willing to lend you a hand.
Andrea VB – Programming & Downloads
One of the best VB resources I’ve found is Andrea VB, an enormous resource created in 1999 by Andrea Tincani, and filled with just about anything related to Visual Basic that you could imagine. A better description for this website would be a VB portal, offering a popular forum, articles and tutorials, news and links as well as really useful source code examples and downloads. My favorite section of this site that I’ve used often is the API Calls List under the Source Code section. These API calls aren’t alway seasy to find, and AndreaVB has a whole section devoted to them.
The main page of the site does at first come across as very busy, but that’s only because the website is chock-full of valuable resources. In addition to the huge source code section, there’s also the download section that features full application source code under some pretty cool categories like Bluetooth, E-Books and Visual Basic Games. For anyone who likes to push VB to its limits and step a bit outside the box – this website is like a big playground.
The VB Accelerator website is actually pretty well named. Unlike Andrea VB, VB Accelerator focuses on the bread and butter of VB – the old meat and potatoes core functionality such as standard controls and common libraries and techniques that even old school programmers forget how to do occasionally. This is especially useful for folks who didn’t bother to purchase the Library CDs where you can look up many of the VB functions and syntax. This site provides you with a resource to go to whenever you need to look up things like how to program Combo and List Boxes, or how to set up a TreeView.
The simplicity of the index on the main page betrays the depth of this website. Once you start drilling down through the directories within each folder, you’ll discover a seemingly unlimited supply of Visual Basic examples, like this page I found on writing CDs.
For the most part, these websites are only the very tip of the iceberg. Today, Visual Basic remains one of the most popular programming languages – with websites and programmer communities producing more lines of code and within more industries than any other applications programming language in the world.
Are you a VB guru? And if so, do you have any favorite resources or online communities where you go to get programming advice or Visual Basic examples? Share them in the comments section below.