Let's Make Robots!

I'm starting visual basic, (Slight Update)


And the winner is... At least for now... Maybe... (I'm surprised)... is Processing. Huh? I played with VB, Perl and processing and I have to say first-off is they are all very similar and that's a good thing. That being said, Processing spoke to me the most. I think it felt a little more simple, user-friendly -maybe set-up for begginers more? --It felt more like Mac software and the others were more like PC software. I really like the ease of graphics and the inputs I.e. mouse etc. I have chosen as a "first big goal" to have walter send serial info from his wheel encoders to the computer and have the computer draw a map of the distance and direction traveled (wall-follow). I am re-working some sample code they have involving an arduino talking via serial to the computer. On that note, I am having some problems with that so keep your eyes out as I might be asking more questions in the near future.


I appreciate everyone's help on this one and if I didn't pick your suggestion, please don't be sore --I really did study all suggestions and this is simply where I landed.




Hey guys,

I have decided to start playing with this visual basic stuff. I clicked through some of the top results for it on google including some labled "tutorial". To be honest, I was less than impressed with any of the "help" I found. If anyone is familiar with VB and can point me in any direction you think I should go, please do.

Really, this is a very open-ended question  as I am just getting the tip of my toe wet on this one. Gimme anything you guys got on this one and assume I know nothing.

P.S. The First sorta direction I would like to go with this is some serial commands from computer to picaxe. --Oh, one more... Is there anywhere I can find a simple list of all the VB commands? I have not found one yet, or at least one that is not set-up where I can just "browse" it.

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There are a LOT of cheap used books on Amazon that are all fairly good. Its been a while since I've used VB, but you will find quickly that it can do a lot, but isn't awesome at anything. Are you wanting to get into making a GUI with buttons, and such or what is your main goal?


EDIT: If you want to start out cheap Excel has VB built in. 

With all this newbie talk around here I could see that RTFM a mile away!  :)

I got the user interface part, just not the G... To be honest, I dunno -I simply know there are things the computer can do that the picaxes can't and I thought I needed to start my educations a bit. I was turned on by maltik's big-base and his camera based tracking system as an example. Now, I am nowhere near something like that but I do need to get started.

In terms of excell, am I wrong in thinking I can get a "basic" (simple) version of VB for free or did I read that wrong somwhere?

Excel's macro language basicly IS visual basic. This would be my 0.1 experience. Period.
GUI = graphical user interface

Ive only used microsoft visual studio (around $80 for a student version or hundreds more if you aren't a student) and Excel. There may be a free compiler out there somewhere.

Here's my first tip: don't.

Seriously though: are you still in the phase of considering alternatives? Else I will bow out of this thread. Not really because I have zero point one experience in this language, but because I do not intend to start a Holy War in your thread.

I just gotta figure that basic is basic is basic, right? -or at least they will be similar, no? You know that your 1's and 0's scare me, right rik? That being said I have an open mind and you should butt in here if you have any advice at all.

Well, since you asked.

I never advised any newbie to pick up perl as their first "big boy" programming language. And I would probably get a lot of flack for it, IF I ever would. I am not even sure myself.

I am a perl hacker and I like it. But maybe that's only true because of my background. Let's see if I could sell this to a carpenter, if I needed to.

  • perl is supposed to be resembling natural English (oh boy)
  • it's open source and therefore free (as in speech)
  • it's open source and therefore free (as in beer)
  • the books by O'Reilly are great and pdf's of them probably available for free (as in stolen beer)
  • no seriously: you would love these books, both as a beginner and as a person with a sense of humour
  • TIMTOWTDI: There is more than one way to do it. Find a style that fits you. perl will support it
  • perl will run on any operating system, even on linux!
  • OO: Object Oriented programming: I am not sure about visual basic, but in perl you do not need to program using "objects" (many beginners object against OO programing) 
  • but you could if you wanted to play with the really big boys (count me out)
  • libraries up the wazoo
  • perl poetry is not a joke but often funny
  • did I mention the black rimmed support system?


Expanding on the libraries up the wazoo, it has support for serial com via bluetooth and serial com period...great for hooking up trancievers that might be hooked up to bots. Output data to one of the many freeware db's out there like Mysql. Also use gtk to create a nice frontend. There is quite a bit of code out there for perl as well....and yes....the books roxor.

You'd get some metal rimmed support as well. :D though not quite as good as the black rim.....thats some sort of voodoo art beyond me in them lens'.