Visual Basic (VB) is a descendant of the BASIC programming language that is developed by the Microsoft Corporation. It is centered around a very powerful forms engine that enables rapid development of graphical user interface (GUI) applications and a complex database object library (ADO). It is used primarily for business applications such as database front ends, and its relative VBScript is the de facto language for Active Server Pages. VB is very friendly to a novice programmer. Its syntax is very English-like, it doesn't require the use of pointers, and it has a vast library of utility objects to do everything from printing a Microsoft Word document to printing barcodes or displaying a web page. A highly skilled programmer can build a web browser in an afternoon using components provided with VB. Virtually every Microsoft product has a corresponding VB component library, which gives Microsoft a powerful lock-in on their customers.
Visual Basic for Application (VBA) is built into every product in the Microsoft Office family (Word, Excel, Access etc.), making Visual Basic the programming platform with the largest installed base in the world. This makes it an ideal tool for writing small applications for specfic purposes. On the other hand this fact made it possible that macro viruses, viruses written in VBA, could spread out, even between the Macintosh and the Windows operating system.
During the Internet economic boom, programmers were in great demand, and many new programmers entered the field. Friendliness toward novices was instrumental in VB becoming one of the most common languages in commercial use.
Businesses continue to move their operations onto computer networks, and increasingly the public Internet. Microsoft has attempted to integrate complete World Wide Web support into all of their development tools, with limited results. VB.NET, scheduled for release in early 2002, takes a much bigger stride in this direction, in part by making VB a supported language for Active Server Pages, and by providing support for web services, allowing remote functions to be called over the Internet as easily as functions on the local machine. VB.net will compile the code to a virtual machine.
Visual Basic is also an event driven programming language.