Michael J. Halvorson
Author, Historian, Speaker, Programmer


Errata for Technical Books

As errata for my technical books becomes available, I will post it here along with a date. If you have errata that you would like me to address or post, please send it along!

Microsoft Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step
Issue: Windows Phone 8.0 and 8.1 Programming -- State Management Instructions
February 9, 2015

Chapter 21 provides step by step instructions for creating a Windows Phone 8.0 app capable of running in the Visual Studio Phone emulator or on a phone running Windows Phone 8.0.

During Fall 2014, some Windows Phone hardware manufacturers began shipping newer phones that are capable of running Windows Phone 8.1, a new OS update. Most Windows Phones on the market still only run Windows Phone 8.0, but Visual Studio 2013 Updates 3 and 4 now include the Windows Phone 8.1 templates if you want to use them, and have the proper hardware. This errata note indicates that the instructions in my book are for Windows Phone 8.0, so you will see a few differences if you use the book with the Windows Phone 8.1 templates.

A few differences that you see will include:

On p. 609, the default Windows Phone 8.1 template does not have the "My Application" title at the top of the page in the IDE.

On p. 620, I write that you will need to pay to unlock your Windows Phone for testing, but that is free now for Windows Phone 8.0 and 8.1.

On p. 621, you will see more Windows Phone emulator types to choose from if you debug your app using the Emulators.

On pp. 628-635, there is a section about programming lifecycle states (how your Phone app responds to deactivation and activation events). This section works as described for Windows Phone 8.0 apps, but no longer applies if you are building a Windows Phone 8.1 app. Microsoft changed this in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 to make state management in a phone app more like state management in a Windows Store app. To learn more about the newer method, see the useful article at


Microsoft Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step
Issue: Is there a problem with samples files downloaded from book's web site?
November 9, 2014

One reader has reported that the sample files downloaded from the MS Press web site (a free download for the book) do not load into Visual Studio 2013, but instead produce a "file load error". The reader was concerned that the files were old or corrupted.

This afternoon I downloaded a fresh copy of Visual Studio 2013 Express Update 3 (the current free version) from www.visualstudio.com and also the current contents of this book's sample files from the MS Press web site (http://aka.ms/VB2013_Sbs/files). The files install and run correctly; there are no problems with the sample files.

I feel the reader's pain, but there must be a reason that the sample files were not working other than corrupt files. Here is my guess at what is up. If you just install the sample files in their compressed (.zip) format, but don't extract the files as the directions suggest, the files will not load correctly in Visual Studio. Visual Studio can't load compressed files--you need to uncompress or "Extract All" to get them to work. I did test this scenario (failing to extract all) and it produces a result like the reader reported. For more information, review the instructions on the book's MS Press web site (above).

Changes in the Visual Studio 2013 User Interface or book instructions
October 23, 2014

Microsoft Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step teaches essential development techniques related to the Visual Basic programming language and key features in the Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 development system. Readers of this book (and all Visual Studio-related programming titles) should be aware that features change from time to time in the Visual Studio product as it evolves and is enhanced. Some of the product enhancements take place during periodic “updates” to the software. When this happens, it is possible that the instructions in your programming tutorials will not match exactly what you see on the screen in the Visual Studio IDE. This can sometimes be disconcerting, but the Microsoft Visual Studio group usually does an excellent job of describing these feature changes and enhancements in “readme” files and other document on the Web that accompanies the product updates.

Since the release of Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Basic 2013 in November, 2013, there have been three major updates to the Visual Studio software. These free downloads have offered feature enhancements and bug fixes that have produced a few important errata notices for Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step. If you find that something in your book does not exactly match the update Visual Studio software, new feature changes are likely the reason. Please know that in November, 2013, the contents of Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step *exactly* matched the final release software.

To learn more about Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, Update 3, and Update 4, click the following links to the Microsoft Visual Studio pages that describe the downloads. I think you will like what Microsoft has done with these, and in many ways these revisions provide useful access to important upgrades and bug fixes.

Update 2 (Spring 2014): http://www.visualstudio.com/news/2014-may-12-vs

Update 3 (Summer 2014): http://www.visualstudio.com/news/2014-aug-4-vs

Update 4 (Fall 2014): http://www.visualstudio.com/news/vs2013-update4-rc-vs

A few things have changed in the instructions for Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step

Update 2 offered a revised IDE for ASP.NET and Web programming, as well as some new features. These changes impact what you will see when you work through Chapter 19: Visual Studio Web Development and ASP.NET. However, although the New Web Site dialog box and default templates and have changed, the core features of ASP.NET are still the same. However, you will need to adapt the instructions in the chapter somewhat to the new design of the IDE and the default Web page templates. In general, you should also know that Web programming is changing faster than almost any other area of technology in Visual Studio programming, so prepare for additional enhancements and opportunities.

Update 2 also added a few new templates for Windows Phone 8.1 programming, which you can use to write programs for newer (larger format) Windows Phone models. These changes are useful, but do not change the core instructions in Chapters 20 and 21 of this book, which focus on Windows Phone programming opportunities and development walk-throughs.

Finally, Updates 2, 3, and 4 continue to modify in subtle ways the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) of Visual Studio—changes that are designed to make Visual Studio programming more natural and efficient. When you complete Chapter 3: Your First Windows Store Application, you will see a slightly different list of menu names in the IDE, and there will be subtle changes in the New Project dialog box—for example, Windows Store apps are now referred to as Store Apps. In the list of Store App templates, the Blank App (XAML) template is now referred to as Blank App (Windows). (For an example, see page 45 of this book.) These differences simply reflect how the product has changed through updates since the original debut of Visual Studio 2013 in November, 2013.

You should also note that the Visual Studio IDE is customizable based on how you use it, so your own programming practices will gradually change how the IDE looks on screen. What Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step shows is an “out of the box” setup for the initial Visual Studio 2013 RTM.

Microsoft Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step
Issue: File compatibility between versions of Visual Studio
February 15, 2014

A note about file compatibility and the project files in Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step. Some readers have asked about whether files can be loaded in older versions of Visual Studio, such as Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2010, and so on. If you see a project icon that has "VB 2012" in it, it means that you can load the file in either Visual Studio 2012 or 2013. Although I developed and tested the files under Visual Studio 2013, the files are also "backward compatible" to Visual Studio 2012 if you still have that software. However, some of the chapters in Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step require Windows 8.1 and Visual Studio 2013 to operate--this is because the programs use new features only available in the most recent software. So, if you see "VB 2013" in a project name, it means that you *must* have Visual Studio 2013 and Windows 8.1 to open and run that project. Chapter 9 contains a number of these projects.

Generally, the only project files in this book that are compatible with Visual Studio 2010 and earlier are the Windows Forms (Windows desktop) apps, which work well in earlier versions of the software--they are, after all, specifically compatible with that environment, Windows 7, and so on. For those projects, see chapters 4, 6, 17, and some of the projects in Part III.

Start Here! Learn Microsoft Visual Basic 2012 (Microsoft Press)

November 13, 2014

Issue: A few readers have asked which version of Visual Studio this book should be used with, now that both Visual Studio 2012 and Visual Studio 2013 are out. The answer is that you can use either version, but the Visual Studio 2012 version will most closely match the screen shots shown.

Errata: This book lists an older URL for the Visual Studio 2012 files. If you have trouble with the URL shown in the book for the Visual Studio 2012 Express software, use this newer URL, which is best after October, 2014:

Visual Basic 2012 Express for Windows 8:


You can also find the book's project files at: