If I'm just starting out in programming, should I start out by learning VB.NET, or VB and then move to VB.NET? And can you recommend a good instruction book for the complete beginner, please?
You're probably best to start with Visual Basic .NET, as that is the future as far as Microsoft is concerned. I'd make sure that when you start, you get a good book that teaches you what a computer actually is. I've always loved Structured Computer Organization by Andrew Tannenbaum, because you'll really learn how a computer works. If that's too intense to start out, Charles Petzold's Code is a lighter introduction.
I'm stressing the underpinnings of how computers work because I'm finding in my travels that there are very few folks doing software development today that know how a computer fits together. Consequently, they are building on a foundation of quicksand. So when things go wrong in their code, they've not got a clue how to start fixing them. I think it's obscene that now you can get a four year Computer Science degree and actually never figure out what a register is.
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