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4.7 out of 5 stars135
4.7 out of 5 stars
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2001
This book is excellent for complete beginners, not just as an introduction to Visual Basic but also to programming as a whole. The classroom scenario gives you fellow students to learn with, and the tone of the book is instructive without being dry, and very encouraging. Progress is made at just the right pace, each chapter building on the last and introducing something new. You won't be a fully-fledged programmer by the end, but you'll have a good basic understanding on which to build. Highly recommended to anyone who is considering learning programming but is not technically-minded and who is looking for a book that will fully explain things without being patronising.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 2003
Having looked at and bought other books on visual basic, this is the best beginners book I have come across. With other books I found it hard to keep motivated to read them and disliked the descriptive and boring text book style they had, they ended up collecting dust on my bookshelf.
This book is different. You join a class of beginners at their weekly class and each week you work on a new topic. You are actually developing a working application throughout the book from beginning to end.
The narrative style of the book has kept my interest all the way through (more than can be said of most other VB books!) I found myself actually enjoying learning to program and couldn't wait to read the next chapter. John Smiley takes you through each step and even the more difficult areas he teaches with ease.
Other books I found had too much information for the beginner. If you are learning from scratch and have not programmed before this is the book for you. Once you have mastered the basics you can always read other books for more detail and advanced stuff later. However when you are learning you need a book like this to grab your interest and teach you the basics.
I have just started his other visual basic databases and am enjoying that as much as this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 15 March 1999
Probably one of the best books for learning Visual Basic
If you know absolutely nothing about programming and would like to learn programming in Visual Basic, this is the place to start.
Using what could be a real-life case, the book not only takes you through the principles of programming in Visual Basic, but also includes a chapter about SLDC (Systems Development Life Cycle) and a very easy to understand chapter that explains how the computer works.
The classroom approach used by John Smiley, gives the feeling of being instructed in a classroom, and ensures that the book in contrast to many other books about programming, never gets boring to read.
The book covers all the basic principles of programming in Visual Basic, and after reading it you will be able to develop your own Visual Basic applications. The only thing I miss, is a chapter about using Ms Access databases with Visual Basic.
Maybe a small thing, but I think it's really important that the beginner gets used to good programming practice allready from the first day, so it's very pleasing to see that throughout the book the author uses Hungarian notation.
This is probably one of the best (If not the best) books for learning Visual Basic, and I will recommend it to everybody with no prior programming experience, who wants to learn to program in Visual Basic.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 1999
When I first stumbled upon John Smiley's book a banner on the top of the cover screaming "For Abolute Beginners" immediately caught my attention. As an experienced but amateur basic programmer who had just purchased the Microsoft "learning" edition of Visual Basic I was turned off by its "documentaton" which appeared to be the kind of stuff that computer nerds create for an audience of other computer nerds.
As I got into the Smiley book I found that it was exactly what I needed. While it covered much that I already knew something about, it clearly explained a multitude of changes that have enhanced programming languages in the last five years or so. To make it even better the book uses a format which allows one to generate a real program during the learning process, and even includes a version of Visual Basic on the accompanying CD. After working with it I am convinced that even if I never write a single program in VB I will have learned so much about the windows environment that the time devoted to the book will be more than warranted.
My thanks to Professor Smiley, and I hope that others will join me in awarding his effort "for absolute beginners", or even those with some programming experience, no less than five stars.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 5 August 2000
This was a great book to learn programming if you've never done it before and it takes you through everything step by step. Yes the classroom style was a bit frustrating at times with the 'that's a good question' comments but it does say its for ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS. If those of you who complained about it were as bright as you make out to be, you could have just ignored them and skim read to the bit that was relevant to you - and if you are too good to read it and are not an absolute beginner, why did you buy it? If you know about computers and how to use them, save files and create directories etc them you can just skip those bits and pay attention to the rest of it which is good and very explanatory, teaching you principles you would otherwise not learn
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2002
After deciding to teach myself VB I ran out and purchased a few books on the subject and gave up on them, but after searching the net for VB programmers I heard of this book, bought it, and now two days later I am halfway through and enjoying reading every page, the way Mr Smiley has presented this book (virtual classroom) is by far the best way of writing to teach, if like me you are new to VB buy this book first.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 1999
This book started out with a bang. The first 3 chapters really got me going. Along about chapter 4 the book seemed to lose its focus. At that time I bought a copy of "Visual Basic 6.0 Step by Step" and worked through the first several chapters before coming back to this book where I left off. From that point on I could hardly put it down. Compared to the Step by Step book, this is truly a beginners book. The exercises are great learning tools and well explained. John Smiley knows how to teach the absolute beginner. Every other beginners book "assumes" a certain level of experience and does not actually start at the beginning with clear explanations. This book does! After working through this excellent book, I can actually understand some of the other "Beginners" books. IF YOU are an absolute beginner like me, this book is a good place to start. I'm now looking forward to the "Professional Programmer Training Books" that hopefully will be authored by John Smiley or his cosmic double.
Would love to hear from some of the other reviewers. What books have helped you to take the next step forward?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 21 December 2000
On the whole the book was very good but by the time i'd reached page 300 I still was longing to get into some real coding. Not for the impatient.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 February 1999
This book is an excellent introduction to programming with Visual Basic. Starting with an idea for a real-world program and going through the complete life-cycle of requirement gathering, design, development and maintenance. The book is written in an almost conversational manner with a "virtual classroom".
The book starts with a short look at DOS and Windows, then gets the reader familiar with using the Visual Basic IDE. It then goes on step-by-step to cover all aspects of programming in VB (Events, data types, controls, selection structures, loops, error handling, registry functions, debugging and more) to produce a complete program. Each chapter has a summary and quiz.
Not for experienced VB coders, but definitely the best of its type for beginners. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 1999
Re: New book, "Learn to Program With Visual Basic", by John Smiley
I used to program in basic, out of enjoyment and necessity, but sort of got out of programming when Windows was getting popular. A couple of years ago, out of a new necessity, I decided to learn Visual Basic, a Windows language. After two or three years of reading different books (as time permitted), and not learning much, i was about to give up. I didn't seem to be able to find any books with the VB basics, that I could understand. I could copy the programs in the books and make them work, but I never really understood how or why, and certainly couldn't write my own programs.
I've just finished the new book, "Learn to Program With Visual Basic", by John Smiley, and it was fantastic. For the first time, VB isn't just something i can memorize how to do, but it actually makes sense. It's an easy, fun language, IF YOU KNOW THE BASICS - which I'm now comfortable with.
I was skeptical about buying this book, since i'd already read so many others that claimed to be written for the absolute beginner, but now I consider it the best programming investment i've ever made. It was almost like a good mystery, I sort of hated to get to the end.
I understand Professor Smiley will have some follow-up books out this year. Please let me know as soon as they're available - I WANT THEM ALL, the concept of these books is so great, and John Smiley's style is so readable, logical, and informative. I can hardly wait for his next!
Thanks again, DKS
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