Many free resources to get started with Visual Basic

One of the key areas of my job is to help developers who want to learn Visual Studio find all the resources we have available for them. Very quickly after I joined Microsoft 15 months ago I realized one of our problems is that we have too many resources for developers produced by different groups, and that we have a long way to go to find the best way to present all this information to developers.

Especially for a new developer, it is hard to discover everything we make available (often for free) on the vast MSDN site, Channel 9, GotDotNet, Asp.Net,, our Support group, Microsoft Learning and so on.

On a recent thread on
Joel’s forum , someone was looking for a free training video to get started with Visual Basic. Here are the resources I recommended:

  • You can download the new Visual Express 2005 Express Edition for free from MSDN Labs . After completing registration you will get access to three free books:
    - Introducing ASP.NET 2.0
    - Introducing Microsoft® Visual Basic® 2005 for Developers, and
    - Writing Secure Code, 2nd Edition

  • Microsoft also offers free beginner training videos online

  • You can download the book Introducing Visual Basic 2005 for Developers for free here

  • Complete e-Learning courses are avalaible also free until launch (only a few weeks away)from Microsoft Learning

  • AppDev has a free video training CD for download on their site.

    Two things are very evident: One, that we have excellent resources for beginner developers and second that all these resources are in different sites. We also need to do a (much) better job in promoting our partner's rescources. In the next few months we are making a number of improvements to start to solve this problem. If you have any ideas or comments I would love so hear them!

  • Comments (1)
    1. Nektar says:

      Beginners need two things:

      1. Sample code to get their hands wet with. From sample code many people can learn much faster and at first you can even copy paste as many students do.

      2. Easy and friendly packages that are small in size to download. Why do students use mostly GCC or the Java SDK but not Visual Studio 2003 or Platform SDK? Because MS SDKs are vast, do not provide beginner corses, are hard to find and have to beinstalled.


      1. Provide a free compiler suite containing all the commandline developer tools: cl.exe, linker, assembler, object dumper, prophiler, etc.

      2. Make searching your site easier.

      3. Aggregate all the beginner info and emphasize tutorials instead of large books. Teach us everything not only .NET. What about C++ Windows programming, MFC, etc?

      4. Most importantly make sample code available which can be found easily by using search engines like Google.

      5. Also, make better forums were people can ask questions, report bugs and give suggestions. Currently, newsgroups are too impersonal and difficult to find and use by many. Thus they are mostly unknown to students.

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