Microsoft Visual Basic

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Microsoft's Visual Basic was initially developed for OS/2 and combined the in-house developed language called "Embedded Basic", with a small database engine previously known as "Omega" and a bought in forms generator that was called "Ruby" into a variation of Basic better suited for development of GUI programs than what had previously been available. Embedded Basic was a smaller variation of the QuickBASIC language that MS had offered to OEM's in the latter half of the 80's but with little or no sales.

MS shipped alpha and beta versions of Visual Basic for OS/2 on their TechNet CD-ROMs including a late version that was production ready, but the split of Microsoft and IBM over the future of OS/2 made them decide not to ship the OS/2 product even though it was more mature than the Windows product they eventually released, purely to sabotage the chances of IBM's OS/2. But even then the initial version of VB for Windows contained references to OS/2 and Presentation Manager that the manual writers had forgot to take out of the text and the visual style was more Presentation Manager than Windows Shell.

Microsoft has discontinued the development of Visual Basic altogether but has a development system available for current versions of Windows that has some similarities with VB called "Visual Basic for .NET", although the similarities are not as great as the name implies.

When Microsoft discontinued the sale of Microsoft Basic PDS in favour of Visual Basic it caused quite a lot of resentment in the developer continuity, VB was a lot smaller language than PDS and outside of the forms generator the development tools supplied with VB were much less advanced, although they did get greatly enhanced over the product's lifetime. A number of hard core Basic programmers went on to products such as Power Basic and GFA Basic, when Visual Basic itself was discontinued in favour of VB.NET there was a similar upheaval.

Foreign libraries with Visual Basic bindings

  • LibcURL - Internet URL (WWW, FTP, etc) access - Open Source - Current.
This probably will not work with the OS/2 or WinOS2 versions.
Editor support
  • Boxer - Visual Basic syntax highlighting support built in - Commercial - DOS and OS/2 versions discontinued, Win32 version still sold.
  • jEdit - Java based editor - Visual Basic syntax highlighting built in - Current.


  • Version 1 Beta - Last version that shipped as a native OS/2 program.
  • Sep 1992: Version 1 for DOS - The only version that could generate DOS executables
    • Standard Edition
    • Professional Edition
  • May 1991: Visual Basic 1.0 (Standard Edition, Professional Edition)
  • Mar 1992: Visual Basic with Professional Toolkit
  • Nov 1992: Visual Basic 2.0 (Standard Edition, Professional Edition)
  • Aug 1993: Visual Basic 3.0 (Standard Edition, Professional Edition)
  • Aug 1995: Visual Basic 4.0 (Standard Edition, Professional Edition) - The first version that could generate 32bit code and the last that could be used to create 16 bit Windows executables that run under WinOS/2.
  • Feb 1997: Visual Basic 5.0 (Standard Edition, Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition)
  • 1998: Visual Basic 6.0


  • Tripod (Original developer)
  • Microsoft


  • Discontinued Commercial Software.