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Variables

Variables

In programming a variable is simply a place to store data. A variable has a name and a data type. In Visual Basic .NET, a variable is declared using the Dim (short for Dimension) statement. Here is the syntax:

 Dim varName As varType

varName is the name of your variable.

varType is the data type of the variable. Types include string, integer, double, boolean, etc.

For example, to declare an integer named MyInt use:

 Dim MyInt As Integer


By default, the variables case doesn't allow to distinguish them, so myint will automatically be converted in MyInt by the IDE if it's declared like that.

On the other hand, to make a program ignore the case in the string values, Option Compare Text should be added.

Option Compare Text    ' By commenting this line the result becomes False
Module Module1
    Sub Main()
        Dim string1 As String = "a"
        Dim string2 As String = "A"
        MsgBox(string1 = string2)
    End Sub
End Module

Data Types

Data Types define the type of data that a variable can store. Some variables store numbers, others store names. The built-in VB.NET type aliases and their equivalent .NET Framework types follow:
Integers
VB Alias     .NET Type     Size     Range
SByte     System.SByte     8 bits (1 byte)     -128 to 127
Byte     System.Byte     8 bits (1 byte)     0 to 255
Short     System.Int16     16 bits (2 bytes)     -32,768 to 32,767
UShort     System.UInt16     16 bits (2 bytes)     0 to 65,535
Integer     System.Int32     32 bits (4 bytes)     -2,147,483,648 to 2,147,483,647
UInteger     System.UInt32     32 bits (4 bytes)     0 to 4,294,967,295
Long     System.Int64     64 bits (8 bytes)     -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807
ULong     System.UInt64     64 bits (8 bytes)     0 to 18,446,744,073,709,551,615
Floating-point
VB Alias     .NET Type     Size     Precision     Range
Single     System.Single     32 bits (4 bytes)     7 digits     1.5 x 10-45 to 3.4 x 1038
Double     System.Double     64 bits (8 bytes)     15-16 digits     5.0 x 10-324 to 1.7 x 10308
Decimal     System.Decimal     128 bits (16 bytes)     28-29 decimal places     1.0 x 10-28 to 7.9 x 1028
Other pre-defined types
VB Alias     .NET Type     Size (bits)     Range
Char     System.Char     16 bits (2 bytes)     One Unicode symbol in the range of 0 to 65,535.
Boolean     System.Boolean     32 bits (4 bytes)     True or False
Object     System.Object     32/64 bits (4/8 bytes)     Platform dependent (a reference to an object).
Date     System.DateTime     64 bits (8 bytes)     January 1, 0001 12:00:00 AM to December 31, 9999 11:59:59 PM
String     System.String     80 + [16 * Length] bits (10 + [2 * Length] bytes)     A Unicode string with a maximum length of 2,147,483,647 characters.
Using Variables
Assigning Values

A value is the data contained in a variable. To assign a value to a variable that is already declared, use an equal sign.
Suffix for Literals

Integral literals, such as 42 and 1000, are of type Integer by default. String and character literals, such as "Hello World" and "À", are of type String by default. To specify the type for a literal, suffixes are used. The suffixes are appended immediately after the literals, in the manner <literal><suffix>, without any whitespace between.
Examples

For string and char variables, use double quotes around value:

 strMyVariable = "The String"
 chrMyVariable = "À"

For date variables, use hashes/pounds around the value, in the format #<month>/<day>/<year> <hour>:<minute>:<second> <AM|PM>#:

 dtMyVariable = #7/4/1776 12:01:50 PM#

For all others, remove the quotes and hashes/pounds:

 bytMyVariable = 1
 sbytMyVariable = -2
 shrtMyVariable = 10S
 ushrtMyVariable = 10US
 intMyVariable = 100
 uintMyVariable = 100UI
 lngMyVariable = 1000L
 ulngMyVariable = 1000UL
 sngMyVariable = 1.234F
 dblMyVariable = 1.567R
 decMyVariable = 1234567.89D
 boolMyVariable = True
 objMyObject = New Object

Initial Value

To assign a variable the value of another variable, simply replace the value on the right side of the equal sign with the name of the variable that holds the desired data.

You can also assign a value to a variable in the declaration itself.

 Dim myVariable As String = "StringValue"

Important: Visual Basic always assigns the value of the right variable to the left variable. The variable on the left takes the value of the right variable. The variable on the right does not change.
Constants

Constants are like variables that don't change. They take the place of values that you would not like to type over and over. Constants are declared using the keyword "Const". Their values are defined in their declaration - they also use data types. Here is the syntax:

 Const cnstMyConstant As String = "The very long string"

Here is an example:

 Const cnstPi As Single = 3.14159265F

Constants are very useful when you need to type the same numbers/strings/etc many times. For example, to convert from radians to degrees you can type 180/Pi constant:

 Const cnstRadToDeg As Single = 57,29579143

And use it like this:

 Degrees = Radians / cnstRadToDeg

This constant is useful in functions like Sin, Cos, Tan, Arctan, etc.
 


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