Visual Studio is an application development kit which can be used to create software for Windows platforms. The version 6.0 includes 4 main programs: Visual Basic 6.0, Visual C++, Visual FoxPro, and Visual InterDev. It is different from the later versions in that it does not yet use ".Net Framework", a new API add-on for Windows.
Visual Basic is the easiest programming language, and is the best option to start learning Windows programming with. Editing is quite quick thanks to the auto complete option. For example, if you type "msg" and press Ctrl+J, a menu will pop up with all the keywords, constants, and variables, etc. that contain this set of characters. The program dynamically checks the code for errors and notifies you about them when you are typing. Visual Studio is actually the first program to have implemented these features.
Compared to Visual Basic, Visual C++ is an advanced-level programming language. You cannot just open the program and start learning. You must be very well acquainted with the C++ programming style and all the internal aspects of Windows API.
Visual InterDev is a general text editor and HTML editor. Its unique feature is "box select", quite handy in cases when you need to handle many Internet links. On the whole, the program does not have many features, but it is good for HTML editing especially when you are working with ActiveX components in HTML pages.
Visual FoxPro is a relatively old database programming tool. It can be used along with other programs like VB and VC++. Here, too, some time is needed to study the language style.
The enterprise edition includes some unique tools, namely Application Performance Explorer, Visual Modeler, Visual Studio Analyzer, among others.
The Application Performance Explorer is used for testing the applications created by Visual Basic 6.0. It can check the resource usage and predict performance on target systems. In fact, VB6.0 programs are somewhat old and only require testing for older systems; but the program can be helpful in performance analysis of distributed systems, database, Internet etc.
Visual Modeler can be used to design the models of the application you are developing. It is like the "Mind Manager" software where you can visualize the whole thing: what classes you will be using, what forms, etc. After designing, you can use it to automatically create the project including all the forms, classes, and modules. It is really good for big programs.
It is good to be acquainted with Java as well. Visual J++ came at the same time as VB6.0 and is included in many installations of Visual Studio 6.0. It implies using Java Swing and AWT classes in making Windows .exe applications. It was not a successful one, and it, it can be hard to find as it is not included in most packages of enterprise edition.
When installing VS under Vista or Windows 7, you will get a message on incompatibility. Just ignore it as it doesn’t cause much problems afterwards.