The Inside Story of Visual Basic, the Programming Language That Made Windows Possible

Software designer Alan Cooper explains why they call him the ‘Father of Visual Basic’

Alan Cooper
OneZero
Published in
8 min readDec 3, 2019

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Photo: Richard Baker/Getty Images

SSince my interaction design firm, Cooper, has had new owners now for more than two years, it’s not surprising to find that some of my more personal Web postings have been quietly removed from Cooper dot com. One casualty was an essay I originally wrote and posted in 1995 that tells the origin story of Visual Basic. I am reposting it here with slight updates from the original piece I wrote 25 years ago.

Mitchell Waite called me the “father of Visual Basic” in the foreword to what I believe was the first book ever published for Visual Basic (VB), called Visual Basic How-To (now in multiple editions, published by The Waite Group Press). I thought the appellation was an appropriate one and frequently use the quoted phrase as my one-line biography.

The first VB book. Photo courtesy of the author.

During the 1980s, my business consisted of inventing software and then selling it to publishers. In 1986, I adopted Microsoft Windows as my platform of choice. Not only did it do all of the expected GUI…

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Alan Cooper
OneZero

Ancestry Thinker, Software Alchemist, Regenerative Rancher