Visual Basic (VB) is the third-generation event-driven programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft for its COM programming model. VB is also considered a relatively easy to learn and use programming language, because of its graphical development features and BASIC heritage.
Visual Basic was derived from BASIC and enables the rapid application development (RAD) of graphical user interface (GUI) applications, access to databases using Data Access Objects, Remote Data Objects, or ActiveX Data Objects, and creation of ActiveX controls and objects. Scripting languages such as VBA and VBScript are syntactically similar to Visual Basic, but perform differently.
A programmer can put together an application using the components provided with Visual Basic itself. Programs written in Visual Basic can also use the Windows API, but doing so requires external function declarations.
The final release was version 6 in 1998. Microsoft's extended support ended in March 2008 and the designated successor was Visual Basic .NET (now known simply as Visual Basic).
Visual Basic 4.0 (August 1995) was the first version that could create 32-bit as well as 16-bit Windows programs. It also introduced the ability to write non-GUI classes in Visual Basic. Incompatibilities between different releases of VB4 caused installation and operation problems. While previous versions of Visual Basic had used VBX controls, Visual Basic now used OLE controls (with files names ending in .OCX) instead. These were later to be named ActiveX controls.