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Notice: This page contains information for the legacy Phidget21 Library. Phidget21 does not support VINT Phidgets, and will not support any new Phidgets. Phidget21 will be maintained until 2020. We recommend that new projects be developed against the Phidget22 Library.


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Language - Visual Basic .NET

From Phidgets Legacy Support
Revision as of 21:43, 16 April 2012 by Mphi (Talk | contribs) (Quick Downloads)

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Visual Basic .NET, developed by Microsoft is a modern object oriented programming language and the successor to Visual Basic 6.0.

Introduction

If this is your first time working with a Phidget, we suggest starting with the Getting Started page for your specific device. This can be found in the user guide for your device. That page will walk you through installing drivers and libraries for your operating system, and will then bring you back here to use Visual Basic .NET specifically.

Visual Basic .NET is capable of using the complete Phidget API, including events. We also provide example code in Visual Basic .NET for all Phidget devices.

Visual Basic .NET can be developed with the .NET or Mono framework. Both of the frameworks are supported on Windows. For Linux and OS X, only the Mono framework can be used. We provide instructions on how to set up your environment/compilers for Visual Studio 2005/2008/2010, Visual Studio 2003, MonoDevelop and the Mono command line compilers.

You can compare Visual Basic .NET with our other supported languages.

Quick Downloads

Just need the Visual Basic .NET documentation, drivers, libraries, and examples? Here they are:

Documentation

Example Code

Libraries and Drivers


Getting started with Visual Basic .NET

If you are new to writing code for Phidgets, we recommend starting by running, then modifying existing examples. This will allow you to:

  • Make sure your libraries are properly linked
  • Go from source code to a test application as quickly as possible
  • Ensure your Phidget is hooked up properly

Instructions are divided up by operating system. Choose:

Windows (2000/XP/Vista/7)

Description of Library Files

Visual Basic .NET programs on Windows depend on the following files, which the installers above put onto your system:

  • phidget21.dll contains the actual Phidget library, which is used at run-time. By default, it is placed in C:\Windows\System32.

You will also need one of the following two files, depending on the .NET framework version you are targeting:

  • Phidget21.NET.dll is the Phidget library for .NET framework 2.0 or higher. Your compiler has to know where this file is. By default, it is placed into C:\Program Files\Phidgets. You can either point your compiler to that location, or copy and link to it in a directory for your project workspace.
  • Phidget21.NET1.1.dll is the Phidget library for .NET framework 1.1. Your compiler has to know where this file is. By default, is is placed into C:\Program Files\Phidgets. You can either point your compiler to that location, or copy and link to it in a directory for your project workspace.

You can optionally install the following files:

  • Phidget21.NET.XML provides the IntelliSense in-line documentation for the .NET library in Visual Studio/MonoDevelop. This documentation is also visible in the Object Browser in Visual Studio. By default, it is placed into C:\Program Files\Phidgets.
  • Policy.2.1.Phidget21.NET.dll is the policy assembly for Phidget21.NET.dll. Our installer places this file in the Global Assembly Cache(GAC) directory. It directs any programs compiled against version 2.1.0 or higher of Phidget21.NET.dll to use the most recent installed version.

If you do not want to use our installer, you can download the five files.


Running the examples and writing your own code can be fairly environment-specific, so we include instructions for Visual Studio 2005/2008/2010, Visual Studio 2003, MonoDevelop and the Mono command line compiler.

Visual Studio 2005/2008/2010

Microsoft makes free versions of Visual Studio available known as Express Editions. The Express editions are suitable for most applications, but are limited in features for more complex applications. Please see Microsoft Visual Studio for more information.

Use Our Examples

Please start by downloading the examples and unpack them into a folder. While these examples were written in Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008, Visual Studio 2010 will easily open and upgrade them with the Visual Studio Conversion Wizard.

Conversion Wizard

To load all projects in Visual Studio, go to File → Open → Project, and open AllExamples/AllExamples.sln or AllExamples/AllExamples_vs2008.sln for Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, respectively.

This will load all of the examples available for Visual Basic .NET, and then you can set your main project to be the one that matches your device. If you aren't sure what the software example for your device is called, check the software object listed in the Getting Started guide for your device.

The only thing left to do is to run the examples! Click on Debug → Start Debugging. Please note that the projects, by default try to find the Phidget21.NET.dll in C:\Program Files\Phidgets. If you have it installed in another location, please change the path to the file's location accordingly. If you are receiving an error message regarding that the type Phidget is not defined, please re-add the reference to Phidget21.NET.dll. Please see the Write Your Own Code section for details.

Run

Once you have the Visual Basic .NET examples running, we have a teaching section below to help you follow them.

Write Your Own Code

When you are building a project from scratch, or adding Phidget function calls to an existing project, you'll need to configure your environment to properly link the Phidget .NET library. To begin:

1. Generate a new Visual Basic .NET Console Application project with a descriptive name such as PhidgetTest.

New Project

2. Add a reference to the Phidget .NET library.

Add Reference

3. Under the .NET tab, select Phidget21.NET.dll. If you used our installer, these files are installed in C:\Program Files\Phidgets, by default. If it does not appear in this list, then you can browse to the Phidget Framework installation directory and add the file.

Add Reference

The project now has access to the Phidget function calls and you are ready to begin coding.

The same teaching section which describes the examples also has further resources for programming your Phidget.

Visual Studio 2003

Use Our Examples

As the Visual Basic .NET examples were written in Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, Visual Studio 2003 is not able to open the examples. Furthermore, it will be difficult to import the examples into your Visual Studio 2003 project as you will need to recreate the GUI components. Fortunately, taking a look at the source code will give you valuable programming insight. We have a teaching section below to help you follow them.

Write Your Own Code

When you are building a project from scratch, or adding Phidget function calls to an existing project, you'll need to configure your development environment to properly link the Phidget .NET library.

1. Generate a new Visual Basic Console Application project with a descriptive name such as PhidgetTest.

New Project

2. Add a reference to the Phidget .NET library.

Add Reference

3. Under the .NET tab, select Phidget21.NET1.1.dll. If you used our installer, these files are installed in C:\Program Files\Phidgets, by default. If it does not appear in this list, then you can browse to the Phidget Framework installation directory and add the file.

Add Reference

The project now has access to the Phidget21 function calls and you are ready to begin coding.

The teaching section also has further resources for programming your Phidget.

Mono

This section will provide instructions on how to compile using the vbnc compiler.

Use Our Examples

We do not have Visual Basic .NET examples for the Mono framework. Fortunately, you can take a look at the source code for our Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 examples for valuable programming insight. We have a teaching section below to help you follow them.

Write Your Own Code

When you are building a project from scratch, or adding Phidget function calls to an existing project, you'll need to configure your compiler to properly link the Phidget .NET library.

Place the Phidget21.NET.dll in the same directory as your source code. To compile and build an executable, run:

vbnc /out:example.exe /r:Phidget21.NET.dll Example.vb

Afterwards, you will have an executable named example.exe that you can run. Type the following to run the program:

mono example.exe

The teaching section also has further resources for programming your Phidget.

MonoDevelop

Use Our Examples

Download the examples and unpack them into a folder. Here, you can find example programs for all the devices. These examples were written in Visual Studio 2005 and 2008, but are also compatible with MonoDevelop. Please note that the examples are only designed to be ran under the .NET framework. The examples are not compatible with the Mono framework. Despite this, if you are using the Mono framework, you can take a look at the source code for our Visual Studio examples for valuable programming insight. We have a teaching section below to help you follow them.

The rest of this section will explain the steps needed to run our examples under the .NET framework. To load all projects in MonoDevelop, go to File → Open, and open AllExamples/AllExamples.sln

This will load all of the examples available for Visual Basic .NET, and then you can set your main project to be the one that matches your device. If you aren't sure what the software example for your device is called, check the software object listed in the Getting Started guide for your device.

Start Up Project

The only thing left to do is to run the examples! Right click the project, and click on Run With and select the Microsoft .NET framework. Please note that the projects, by default try to find the Phidget21.NET.dll in the C\Program Files\Phidgets. If you have it installed in another location, please change the path to the file's location accordingly. If you are receiving an error message regarding that the Phidget is not defined, please re-add the reference to Phidget21.NET.dll. Please see the Write Your Own Code section for details.

Run

Once you have the Visual Basic .NET examples running, we have a teaching section below to help you follow them.

Write Your Own Code

When you are building a project from scratch, or adding Phidget function calls to an existing project, you'll need to configure your development environment to properly link the Phidget .NET library. To begin:

1. Create a new Visual Basic .NET console project with a descriptive name such as PhidgetTest.

New Project

2. Add a reference to the Phidget .NET library.

Add Reference

3. Select Phidget21.NET.dll. If you used our installer, by default, this file is placed in C:\Program Files\Phidgets. If it is in another location, please change the path to the file's location accordingly.

Add Reference

The project now has access to the Phidget function calls and you are ready to begin coding.

The same teaching section which describes the examples also has further resources for programming your Phidget.

OS X

Visual Basic .NET has excellent support on OS X through the Mono framework.

The first step in using Visual Basic .NET on Mac is to install the Phidget libraries. Compile and install them as explained on the getting started guide for your device. Then, the OS - OS X page also describes the different Phidget files, their installed locations, and their roles....

Linux

Visual Basic .NET has support on Linux through the Mono framework.

The first step in using Visual Basic .NET on Linux is to install the Phidget libraries. Compile and install them as explained on the main Linux page. That Linux page also describes the different Phidget files, their installed locations, and their roles.

Follow the Examples

By following the instructions for your operating system and compiler above, you probably now have a working example and want to understand it better so you can change it to do what you want. This teaching section has resources for you to learn from the examples and write your own.

Next, comes our API information. These resources outline the Phidget .NET functions:

  • .NET API (This is the complete set of functions you have available for all Phidgets)
  • Device Specific APIs - The one for your Phidget can be found in its user guide.

To learn the details behind opening, configuring, using, and closing your Phidget, try the General Phidget Programming page. That page also describes using the Phidget in an event-driven manner and in a traditional manner, both of which are available in .NET.

Example Flow

The Hello World example has this general structure so you can follow along. We also have an in-depth general introduction to writing Phidget code (like open, read data, etc), as well as the .NET API for specific syntax:

// ----- Event and Other Functions -----

Create any Language-Specific Functions (exception handling)

Create General Attach, Detach, and Error Handling Functions:

On attach: Print Hello Message
On detach: Print Goodbye Message

 

In Visual Basic .NET, you can name these event functions whatever you like. You will then pass them as function pointers to the Phidget library below in the Main Code section. This hooks them into the actual events when they occur.
In the example code, the event functions common to all Phidgets are called things like AttachHandler() and DetachHandler(), etc.

Some event functions will be specific to each device, like when a tag is read on an RFID board, or when a sensor value changes on an Interface Kit. Other functions are given in the examples to show you more detail on using your Phidget. For example, DeviceInitialize() will show what needs to be set up for your Phidget before using it.

// ----- Main Code -----

Create Manager Software Object
Hook Event Functions created above to Device
Open Device

Wait for 'Enter' key character input
Handle on-going attach and detach events
Print Hello and Goodbye messages
Exit upon input

Close Device

Delete Device

 

Creating a Phidget software object in Visual Basic .NET is specific to the Phidget. For a Phidget Spatial, for example, this would involve creating a Spatial object. The examples show how to do this and other API functions.

The object provides device specific methods and properties which are available from the API for your specific Phidget.

Code Snippets

Common Problems and Solutions/Workarounds

Here you can put various frequent problems and our recommended solutions.