Other Hardcore Resources

Browsing the Internet for Visual Basic information can take you on an endless round of links to links to links. Here are some of the hardcore pages where I found real stuff, not just links to other links. No doubt there are other good sites, and these sites will surely have links to them.

Karl E. Petersons One Stop Source Shop (host of the web version of Hardcore Visual Basic)

Gary Beene's Visual Basic Information Center

The Common Controls Replacement Project

The Developer's Exchange, VB Zone

My VB6 Online Update

Visual Basic Home Page

A message from Amazon.com Hardcore Visual Basic mentions many of my favorite programming books. In association with Amazon.com Books, I can offer you an opportunity to buy these books at a discount over the Internet. These really are my favorite books and the fact that I get a small kickback if you buy them through these links was not the only factor in my decision to list them.

Back to Basic: The History, Corruption, and Future of the Language, John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz. This book by the founders recounts some of the early history and philosophy of Basic.

About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design, Alan Cooper. There's not much programming in this book, but the "Father of Visual Basic" pulls no punches in his discussion of what makes a good user interface. The chapters on error handling are essential for every programmer. Alan has another book called The Inmates Are Running the Asylum on the same topics, but targeted at designers rather than programmers.

Dan Appleman's Visual Basic Programmer's Guide to the Win32 API, Daniel Appleman. Some might say this book is a competitor to mine, but I prefer to think of it as a supplement. He covers the Win32 API comprehensively while I cover it piecemeal. Although we discuss some of the same topics, there really isn't much overlap between our books.

Win32 API Programming with Visual Basic, Steven Roman. At last Appleman and I have a serious competitor. Has either of us met our match in Steven? Well, let's just say this is a good book that takes a different approach and covers some things you won't find anywhere else. I particularly admire the author's use of diagrams.

Programming Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0, Francesco Balena. In my update for VB6, I award Francesco the Joe Hacker Guru award for his articles in Visual Basic Programmer's Journal (now Visual Studio Magazine). He's been turning out so many interesting articles that I don't know where he found the time to write such a comprehensive book. It covers the range from beginner to hardcore. I didn't read every word of this book, but I was very impressed with what I did read.

Advanced Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0, The Mandelbrot Set International. This collection of chapters by different authors has some real winners (and no real losers). I borrowed and revised at least one hardcore technique from this book in my update for VB6.

Hitchhiker's Guide to Visual Basic and SQL Server, William Vaughn. I admit in the introduction to my book that I don't know beans about databases. Fortunately Bill knows beans and just about everything else about them.

Doing Objects in Microsoft Visual Basic 6, Deborah Kurata. In the introduction to my book I warn that I'm going to concentrate on code and skip many of the other elements of successful software construction--project management, interface design, team programming, testing, feedback evaluation, system analysis, and caffeine procurement. Deborah gets into some of these topics, and even has space left over for code.

Writing Solid Code, Steve Maguire. This is one of my favorite programming books. I reused many parts of it in my sections on assertions and error handling. Unfortunately, the code is in an ancient and outdated language called C. You'll have to translate the ideas to your favorite language.

Code Complete, Steve McConnell. If I had the discipline to read every page and absorb every concept in this monumental, multi-langauge book, I'd be a much better programmer.

Rapid Development, Steve McConnell. I've seen enough failed software schedules to be a little skeptical of any claims to achieve rapid development, but this book addresses the issues credibly. It has statistics and familiar annecdotes to back up its recommendations. I haven't read his other books,
After the Gold Rush : Creating a True Profession of Software Engineering and Software Project Survival Guide, but McConnell's name on the cover is all I need to recommend them.

Object-Oriented Design Heuristics, Arthur J. Riel. This somewhat academic book has a lot of good lessons on object-oriented design. Unfortunately, Visual Basic's incomplete implementation of object-oriented features makes it difficult to follow the author's excellent advice.

Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, John Vlissides. Design patterns are a hot topic in programming, and this is the book that started the movement. I wish I could recommend a book that explores design patterns in Visual Basic, but as far as I know you'll have to do the best you can with this language-independent book.

Inside COM, Dale Rogerson. The B-- language described in Chapter 10 of my book comes right out of Inside COM. Dale doesn't think much of Visual Basic, but his book illustrates in graphic detail how much irrelevant busywork Visual Basic takes off your table.

Essential COM, Don Box. The best writing on COM can be found in Don's column in Microsoft Systems Journal. His book is harder to digest because it covers so much territory. In fact, he takes us places so ugly that I'd rather stay home. But if you really want to become a COM expert, you'd better hold your nose and wade in. At least Don is good company.

Java in a Nutshell: A Desktop Quick Reference, David Flanagan. I've been reading Java books lately, and this is my favorite. The author has a bowl of related books including Java Enterprise, Java Foundation Classes, and Java Examples, all in nutshells.

Mastering Delphi 5, Marco Cantu. I did some programming in Delphi for a while, and this book got me up to speed fast. Even if you're married to Visual Basic, it can't hurt to know a little about the alternatives. In fact, I wish the VB designers had a better idea of what they're up against.

Thinking in C++, Bruce Eckel. In my opinion, C++ is the worst possible language for writing Windows programs, but no other language can match it for writing fast, small components. This book won't help you write C++ components (and I haven't encountered a book that does to my satisfaction), but it will help you master the language.

Object-Oriented Software Construction, Second Edition, Bertrand Meyer. Eiffel may not be the most popular programming language among users, but the designers of object-oriented languages know this book. Ideas from the first edition filtered down to a lot of other languages, and this time the language itself might take off. The book comes with a trial version of Eiffel.

The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest, Po Bronson. OK, so it's not a programming book. It's a novel. A novel about programmers. You might recognize yourself. You might recognize me. You might recognize Joe Hacker. You might make $20 million. Actually, I prefer Bronson's Bombadiers, but it has nothing to do with programming.

Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, and Cryptonomicom, Neil Stephenson. What will hackers be hacking in 30 years? In 80 years? I don't think we'll be designing smart molecules with Visual Basic, but in one form or another programmers will have an even more important role than we have today. The first two novels above mix fascinating speculation about the future with good storytelling. The last one speculates about hidden details of programming history and about what some programmers might be doing even now.

The previous resources can make you a better programmer, but here's one final resource that will inspire you to be a better person. It's a True Basic tribute to the remarkable John Kemeny, one of the founders of our favorite language

Take me home  Buy it now at Amazon.com