Cool Visual Basic Project Ideas

Written by rick leander
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Back in the days of the Commodore 64 and Apple II, programming was fun. Basic only had a dozen or so commands and anyone over the age of 12 could write programs. Today, Basic has grown to include classes, events, frameworks and thousands of functions and commands. Even so, programming can still be fun. Here are some cool Basic project suggestions.

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Get Visual Basic Express

Microsoft's Visual Basic Express and Visual Web Developer Express languages can be downloaded free from the Microsoft Developer's Network (MSDN) website.

Build a Website

Microsoft's Visual Web Developer Express provides all the tools to build an interactive, data-driven website using Visual Basic. The package includes links to a variety of templates that make it easy to get started and the MVC Framework writes much of the code for you. Getting the site up on the web is easy and fairly inexpensive with a variety of low-cost hosting sites and built in publishing wizards. Hosting plans start at less than £6 per month with nominal set-up fees (as of early 2011).

Control Your Home

The X-10 is an industry standard for computer-controlled devices that sense motion, switch on appliances and control home devices. A fairly simple Basic program can turn on lights, adjust thermostats, water the lawn or do other amazing feats by sensing motion or monitoring the time of day. Creative programmers can even use Twitter or other Internet services to remotely control their homes while at the office or away on vacation.

Create a Video Game

A number of toolkits and frameworks are available to get started in game programming using Direct-X or SilverLight with Basic. Start by downloading one of the frameworks and a sample game, then modify it to add features. Over time, the basic concepts will sink in and new game ideas will emerge. For those who want to get into hardcore game development, all the tools can be downloaded from Microsoft's website to build X-Box games, but plan on switching from Basic to C#.

Build a Robot

Lego Mindstorm packages a set of motors, sensors, actuators and controller for the Lego building blocks. The kit comes with a PC-based drag-and-drop programming interface. However, for those who want more control and power, there are a number of programming toolkits available in a variety of languages including Visual Basic.

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