This article is the first page of Lesson one in the About Visual Basic tutorial "VB Programming for Non-Programmers!". Sign up for the entire course at ... this signup page.
The goal of this course is to help people who have never written a program before learn to write one. There's no reason why office workers, homemakers, professional engineers and pizza delivery persons shouldn't be able to take advantage of their own hand crafted custom computer programs to work faster and smarter. It shouldn't take a 'professional programmer' (whatever that is) to do the job. You know what needs to be done better than anyone else. You can do it yourself!
(And I say this as someone who has spent many years writing programs for other people ... 'professionally'.)
With that said, this is NOT a course in how to use a computer. We assume that you know how to use popular software and in particular, that you have Microsoft Word installed on your computer. We assume that you know basic computer skills like how to create file folders (that is, directories) and how to move and copy files. But if you've always wondered what a computer program actually was, that's OK. We'll show you.
If you have experience in writing software, this probably isn't the course for you. Try "VBA - The Visual Basic Working Partner" at About Visual Basic instead!
Many introductory programming courses use free, downloadable languages available on the web. The problem with most of those is that, in addition to generally having poor quality, you quickly 'run out of gas' as you ramp up to real work. Free software is generally worth every cent you pay for it.
This course assumes that you're here to get more value from that expensive software you already have installed. That's a big reason we use Visual Basic for Applications, or VBA, along with Microsoft Office, applications. There are millions who have it and a handful (maybe no one) who uses everything it can do.
Another reason we use VBA is that it really is a 'fully baked' (nothalf baked) software development environment that has been used for years by programmers to create some of the most sophisticated systems in existance. It doesn't matter how high your programming sights are set. Visual Basic has the power to take you there. If you decide that you need to move up to the most advanced development technology available today: .NET, VBA is a great way to start.
Many of the desktop applications (previous versions of WordPerfect, for example, although current versions now support VBA) have what is called a macro language built into them. Macro's are traditionally just scripts of keyboard actions grouped together with one name so you can execute them all at once. If you always start the day by opening your "MyDiary" document, entering today's date, and typing the words, "Dear Diary," -- why not let your computer do that for you?
To be consistent with other software, Microsoft calls VBA a macro language too. But it's not. It's much more. Although, as we will see, VBA can simply record keyboard actions and play them back like other macro languages, you can also write sophisticated systems in VBA that leave simple keyboard macros in the dust and integrate with other systems like databases, the web, or other software applications.
So ... Start Microsoft Word 2000 with a blank document and get ready to write a program. Here's the next section: 2 - Programmers, Start Your Recorders!
This class was inspired by Rebwar Zainaddin and is dedicated to him.