View Full Version : Suggest a programming language

09-23-2008, 08:12 AM
I have enjoyed some work with Excel and VBA in the past few years, though I am a LONG way from really good at it.

I am wanting to learn a language that I can use to create standalone programs, not necessarily requiring the use of MS Office. I'd like to use something that is at least remotely similar to VBA so my first thought was learn VB6. Then I read VB.Net was better.

I'm looking for advice from people who know. What language could I study that might produce the shortest learning curve for me?


09-23-2008, 01:09 PM
VB.Net has a MUCH longer learning curve than VB6. VB.Net is an object-oriented language, while VB6 is not. Many developers who were initially attracted to VB.Net, because of their experience with VB, ultimately decided to go with C#, which has a much larger user base.

As a standalone program, I have a strong preference for VB. In fact, in Microsoft's view, VBA was just another flavor of VB, with built-in references to the object model of the application it supported.


Bob Phillips
09-23-2008, 03:09 PM

The big problem with .Net is that you have to learn a whole new development paradigm, which means thinking differently, as well as learning the synatx and structures of the language, whichever you choose. In addition, if you wish to deploy office based solutions, this can be a nightmare. I believe it is safe to say that .Net is far from being fully integrated with Office.

VB is not going to give you much in the way of an experience regards a new language, VBA is a superset of VB, but it can ease you gently into alternate development paradigms. If you want to get to grips with using Excel via automation, non VBA forms, building standalone executables, and some of the issue around deployment, VB may be a good start, and you will be able to build deployable solutions. And then when .Net integrates better with Office, and it surely has to for MS' bottom line if nothing else, then you can migrate to .Net. It won't be painless, but you will at least have experienced something else, and you just might be better prepared to tackle the new big beast.

09-23-2008, 03:54 PM
I am just looking for something that I can use for personal use and for here in the office that won't involve a huge learning curve. I have no ambitions of becoming a professional programmer, at least not at this point.

Just a quick look at VB leads me to think there is enough similarity with VBA to make it worth my while to study it, IF it would accomplish what I'm looking for, and it sounds like it might. I will look around for a copy of VB6 and dig into that for a while.

Thank you both for your comments. They have been helpful.


Bob Phillips
09-24-2008, 03:38 AM
VB IS VBA, VBA IS VB. VBA just has access to the host object model as well, but VB can get at these via automation. Forms are different, but other than that you will be up and running very quickly.

09-24-2008, 03:17 PM
I started shopping around for a copy of VB6 and I about dropped my teeth. I thought this was 10 year old software that was discontinued and no longer supported.

Maybe so, but prices I found on line ranged from $250 to $800 USD. I found a couple of sites where you can download it for $50, but I'm wary of such sites, especially when their English is even worse than mine.

I'll keep looking, hoping to find someone who has "upgraded" and wants their old VB6 to have a good home.


Bob Phillips
09-28-2008, 03:54 PM
I am amazed, that is a ridiculous price. I know VB6 is a great tool, and it is hugley productive even today, but it is obsolete.

Have you looked for Visual Studio, it will include C++ as well, but it jsut might be more affordable.

I will looke through my software boxes and see if I have a spare copy. Don't hold your breath, but it is amazing what I have accumulated in my time.

09-29-2008, 06:28 AM
Not holdng my breath (I don't look that good in blue), but if you come across something, I'm interested.



Bob Phillips
09-29-2008, 09:42 AM
Just a thought Ron, but have you looked at Visual Basic 2005, it is free!


10-18-2008, 02:55 PM
Hi there! In my opinion the best and easiest programming language to learn is C++, but it is not free (C++ Builder). Similar in common and free is Java, there are many tips, snipets and tricks on the Internet concerning Java. It is also object oriented, but very simple to use. As far as I know JBuider2005 is free or it was :) There also methods pops uot when you write like: object. (point I mean).