Microsoft Announces Visual Basic 5.0, Professional Edition

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 3, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today unveiled the Microsoft® Visual Basic® programming system version 5.0, Professional Edition, the latest version of the world’s most popular rapid application development (RAD) tool. Visual Basic 5.0 features a number of significant performance and productivity enhancements that will help make developers more efficient and end-user solutions faster and more flexible. Advanced features such as native code compilation, high-speed database access, and an improved development environment make Visual Basic 5.0 the most powerful version to date. In addition, the component creation capabilities of the ActiveX
technologies in Visual Basic 5.0 will allow the more than 3 million developers using Visual Basic to quickly create component-based applications targeting the Internet, intranet and traditional client/server environments.

“It has been a long time in coming, but the Industrial Revolution of software is finally upon us,”
said Bill Gates, chairman and CEO of Microsoft.
“Specialization of resources, standards for interchangeable parts, and streamlined assembly tools have been used in other industries for hundreds of years to speed the development of highly complex products. Despite their ubiquity, application of these concepts to the modern software industry is just beginning. Visual Basic 5.0 advances this trend considerably by finally making it easy for millions of developers to create and assemble high-performance, broadly reusable ActiveX components.”

ActiveX Control Creation With Visual Basic 5.0

ActiveX Controls are compact, reusable software components that can be integrated into and reused in a large range of products that include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Office 97, the Visual C++® development system and the Visual FoxPro
database management system. More than 250,000 developers are currently building ActiveX Controls using the freely downloadable version of Visual Basic 5.0, Control Creation Edition.

Visual Basic 5.0 Delivers up to 2,000 Percent Performance Gains Over Visual Basic 4.0

Visual Basic 5.0 delivers unmatched performance gains over any rapid application development tool in its class. Microsoft has included several key features in version 5.0 that deliver performance gains of up to 2,000 percent over version 4.0, including native code compilation. Developers can compile applications and components into native code by making optimal use of Microsoft’s award-winning compiler technology. For compute-intensive operations, Visual Basic 5.0 is up to 20 times faster than Visual Basic 4.0. In addition, with the enhanced forms technology and ActiveX Controls, forms load up to 17 times faster – a critical requirement for GUI-intensive applications.

“With the native code compiler, the performance of applications created in Visual Basic 5.0 is unprecedented by any major RAD tool. It has enabled us to build large-scale applications in record time,”
said David W. Hanna, president and CEO of State of the Art, a commercial financial and accounting software vendor.
“Using Visual Basic 5.0 has given us a competitive advantage, allowing us to significantly reduce time-to-market.”

Enhanced Internet Functionality

Visual Basic 5.0, with Active Document technology, will enable developers to convert existing Visual Basic-based applications or create new applications that can be dynamically delivered over the Internet or intranet with a browser. A user can launch an application simply by entering a URL. This technology guarantees that users are running the most up-to-date version of their application. The developer need only install the application once on the server, thus reducing deployment and client-side maintenance costs.

Enhanced Features Promote Ease of Use and Productivity

A key design goal for Visual Basic 5.0 was to improve developer productivity and ease of use. Through a number of productivity enhancements, Visual Basic 5.0 maintains its lead as the most productive tool to create applications:

  • IntelliSense. Microsoft’s IntelliSense
    technology dramatically reduces programming time while reducing coding errors. These new features
    developers’ actions by providing them with a nonobtrusive, point-and-click list of values that can be logically typed at a particular point. Visual Basic 5.0 significantly reduces the need to memorize syntax, search for parameters or learn new object models.

  • Intelligent development environment. The redesigned development environment of Visual Basic 5.0 includes dozens of enhancements to the forms package, code editor, object browser and debugger. The development environment is shared across all editions of Visual Basic, including Visual Basic for Applications hosts such as Microsoft Office 97 and the more than 100 products that have licensed the Visual Basic for Applications technology.


Visual Basic 5.0 adds expanded extensibility through a fully exposed object model, giving programmers access to products from the world’s largest pool of third-party vendors. These vendors include the more than 600 companies producing more than 2,000 commercially available ActiveX Controls and add-ins.

Flagship Product of Visual Studio 97

Visual Basic 5.0 is Microsoft’s flagship product for its recently announced developer tools suite, the Visual Studio
97 development system. Visual Studio 97 is a comprehensive suite of Microsoft development tools for building client/server, multitier and Web-based solutions. Visual Studio 97 will include Visual Basic 5.0, Visual C++ 5.0, the Visual J++
development tool version 1.1, the Visual InterDev
Web application development system version 1.0 and Visual FoxPro 5.0. Microsoft will release both a Professional and Enterprise Edition of the suite, which is scheduled to be available March 19, at Microsoft Developer Days 97.

Availability and Additional Information

Microsoft Visual Basic version 5.0, Professional Edition is scheduled to be available in March 1997. Users who acquire Visual Basic 4.0, Professional Edition after Jan. 27, 1997, are eligible for a free upgrade to Visual Basic 5.0 (shipping and handling charges apply). For more information on the Visual Basic family of products, including Visual Basic 5.0, Professional Edition, third-party licensing for Visual Basic for Applications, and the Control Creation Edition, visit the Microsoft Web site at

Mastering Visual Basic 5.0 Development

For developers who need to learn Visual Basic 5.0 quickly, Microsoft also announces the eighth title in its award-winning Mastering series, Mastering Visual Basic 5.0 Development. This product contains more than 40 hours of interactive multimedia technical instruction designed to teach the experienced developer how to build custom client/server and Internet solutions using the new features of Visual Basic 5.0. With Mastering Visual Basic 5.0, developers can expect to learn and complete projects such as building multiuser database applications using the Microsoft Jet database engine, creating ActiveX code components, building ActiveX Controls and ActiveX Documents, and developing Internet-aware applications. For more information on the Mastering series titles, visit the Mastering Web site at /.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, Visual Basic , ActiveX , Visual C++ , Visual FoxPro , IntelliSense, Visual Studio , Visual J++ and Visual InterDev and are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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