Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you an
Engineering professional?
Join Eng-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Eng-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

Getting Started

Getting Started

Getting Started

We are structural engineers and have spent years of writing spreadsheets to do many of our routine calculations.  We think we are interested in programming in Visual Basic, but don't know where to get started, if at all.
1.  What are some pros and cons for VB, especially for new users who have a (more than) full-time job at engineering?
2.  What are some resources if we do decide to get started (websites, books, etc.)?

Many thanks.

RE: Getting Started


We are mechanical engineers and have spreadsheets for routine calculations and we were interested in VB.

I was sent on a City & Guilds course in VB, one evening a week. This gave good background knowledge of VB. (I had already done BASIC programming at school, which helped).

This was a good start.

You've learnt something new

If you don't use it a lot you may start to forget the commands.

Hope this helps.

maybe only a drafter
but the best user at this company!

RE: Getting Started

I was in the same boat you are in. I'm a full time ME that needed to automate a lot of routines and I got into programming in VB6.

All in all I think VB is very easy to learn. I admittedly went thru quite a number of books to get all of the info I was looking for. Believe it or not, I found Microsoft's "Mastering Visual Basic-Fundamentals" and the follow up on developing two of the better books I came across. If you go VB I also would say to make absolutely sure you get MSDN for help. I use it constantly.

One thing I didn't get to look at was a new version of FORTRAN. I used FORTRAN '77 in college and thought it was very easy to program as well. I wouldn't count that out as well.

RE: Getting Started

Remember that when you code in VB whoever runs the program has no idea of the program logic.  They input the data in text boxes, or from pre-defined lists but have no idea what happens to it when they press the "GO" button!

With a spreadsheet they can trace what happens to the data and some people are happier that way.

RE: Getting Started

Sometimes it can be easier to use something like Mathcad.  It gives you a full document interface, and all the equations etc can be visible and live, which is much easier for checking, it understands units, so unit consistency can be ensured, and at the end of it you have document that looks like it came from a wordprocessor.  Users, auditors, the guy picking it up 6 months after you got run over by a bus, all have a chance of finding the errors quickly and easily.

VB, VBA, Excel etc all suffer from the shortcomings of having to do all the messy formatting yourself, and it is virtually impossible to be sure that the equation you put in is exactly what you intended.  In Mathcad WYSIWYG (to coin a phrase).  You end up with all kinds of maintenance headaches in the future.

Life is non-linear...

RE: Getting Started

One of the best ways to learn VBA is to use the macro recorder in Excel.  

Enable the Visual Basic toolbar.  Turn on the macro recorder and perform a series of operations that you might want to encapsulate.  Click the Stop recording button

The, click the Visual Basic Editor button.  Click on the Modules folder in the Project Explorer window on the left.  Then double-click Module1 and your recorded macro should appear in the edit window on the right.


Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Eng-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Eng-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Eng-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Eng-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login


Close Box

Join Eng-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical engineering professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Eng-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close