[dba-VB] Please Advise: Should I Buy "Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Standard 2003 ..."

Lawhon, Alan C Contractor/Morgan Research alan.lawhon at us.army.mil
Wed Dec 1 16:14:45 CST 2004

... or just try to learn what I can from [VB.Net] books alone?

Well, the "future" has finally arrived ...  Here at work we have a fairly significant environmental database application that we have been using (and "tweaking") for the past five years.  The application, called "EDS" - which stands for "Environmental Document System" - started off as a very simple Access 97 application.  Over time, as the capabilities of the system grew and the need to provide client/server access was realized, the front end migrated to Access 2000 and the back end [eventually] migrated to SQL Server 2000 - which is where we are now.

Well, you know how customers are ... they are always wanting changes (or "something new") and that is the case with our customer.  EDS is becoming increasingly popular with users outside our immediate organization.  So popular, in fact, that our Government manager has requested that we "web enable" EDS and make EDS accessible from a web browser - such as Internet Explorer.  Gulp !!  It didn't take too much web surfing (and research) to realize that "web enabling" EDS is going to be thirsty work ...

The EDS database consists of multiple form and report objects with lots of event driven Visual Basic code.  Most of the VBA code is attached to command buttons as Click_Event() procedures.  (There's a lot of logic testing and conditional execution for business rule implementation within the VBA code.)

The research I have done (so far) indicates that I face a steep learning curve when it comes to web programming.  I'm already looking at "HTML & XML for Beginners" (book) by Michael Morrison and I have just ordered a couple of books on databases and VB.Net programming.  (I have ordered "Beginning VB.Net Databases" by Thearon Willis and "Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET for Microsoft Access Databases" by Rick Dobson.)  I figure these two books will give me plenty to chew on - at least initially.

The senior programmer and I have been looking on the internet for the proper .NET development tool.  Right now it looks like we will be asking our customer to pay for a full-up version of Visual Studio 2003 - or whatever contains the full "Professional" version of MS Visual Basic .NET.  While researching the various developer tool alternatives for VB.NET programming, I came across this page at Amazon.com's web site:


The "Standard" edition of Microsoft VB.Net [2003] appeals to me for two reasons: It's (relatively) affordable - less than a hundred dollars - and the "Standard" edition might be a good "learning tool" for playing around with VB.Net on my home computer.  However, the "Standard" edition appears to have a number of ... uhm ... limitations.  (Look at Frank Spillman's "Roadblocks, Roadblocks" reader review in the above link.)

I would be grateful if some of the folks on this list who have actually done some web programming (especially with VB.Net) could offer advice and opinions with respect to the "Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Standard 2003" [web] development tool.  Basically, I'm wondering if the "Standard" edition has enough capability to serve as a useful "learning tool" - or is it so "crippled" that I would be better off simply reading .NET books?

Thanks in advance ...

Alan C. Lawhon


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