Siemens NX resources
To access the official Siemens forums and other resources, you will need a Webkey. What's a Webkey? It is a code that proves you are a Siemens customer in good standing. You probably already have a webkey, check in the NX help menu (Help -> About NX -> System Information). If you do not have a webkey, you can set one up at the registration page. You will need:
- your server ID (also found in the NX help menu, or the NX system log, or your license file)
- a valid email account
- a username to identify you in the forums
Links to all of the Siemens resources listed here (and more) can be found on this page:
My personal favorites are:
- GTAC solution center GTAC technical representatives produce a lot of code samples (many in response to customer questions). Search on the generic phrase VB.net NXOpen sample to see hundreds of short code samples. Get more specific with your search terms to find just what you are looking for. This is often my first stop when starting a new project.
- NX Languages forum Have a question about programming NX? This is a great place to ask. It is not specific to journaling or VB.net, ask about any language you prefer (well, maybe not Knowledge Fusion - it has its own sub-forum).
- NX CAD forum This forum covers the usage of the CAD application. Ask a question or share your knowledge here.
Other NX resources
Siemens: UG/NX Forum at Eng-Tips. Eng-Tips has a very active NX forum. Its large user base with varied experience can answer most any question related to NX. Anyone can lurk in the forum, but a free registration allows you to post questions and answers along with keeping track of threads new to you and notifications of new posts in threads you want to follow.
PLM World keeps track of user conferences and presentations made at those conferences. You can download many of these presentations that cover issues such as using new features of NX, modeling best practices, translating and migrating data, and many more topics. Though not a focal point of the site, it also contains forums for general NX usage and programming - if you can find them (hint - it's the "our discussion forums" link in the "communities" menu, you're on your own from there).
Visual Basic .NET resources
Various resources regarding Visual Basic .NET.
Get a real IDE
Sure you can write your code in notepad or the integrated NX text editor or even upgrade to a text/code editor such as notepad++; but for maximum ease and productivity, you will want a dedicated Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The current top of the line editor is Microsoft's Visual Studio, there are versions with various features that run from expensive to very expensive. However, there are also 'express' versions that you can use for free. The express versions can be found here. I'm currently using the VB.net express 2010 version; there is a 2012 version available, but the naming conventions seemed to have changed. The VB.net 2010 version is still available for download and I've used it successfully with NX 7.5, 8, and 8.5. But if you want to try out the 2012 version, my best guess is that you will want the 'Express 2012 version for Windows Desktop'.
If you are looking for an IDE alternative to Microsoft, there is also a free one called SharpDevelop. I've not personally tried it, so I can't comment on how it stacks up to Microsoft's IDE, or how easy it is to setup to work with NX.
Microsoft VB.net documentation has some overviews, sample code, and links to other documentation.
Use the Visual Basic language reference to find specifics on .NET classes' properties, methods, events, and short examples of how to use them.
Dot Net Pearls is a good reference site that contains many short descriptions and examples. Very handy for the times you know what command you want to use, but can't quite remember the syntax.
Home and Learn contains more in-depth tutorials, it is a good place to start if you are trying something completely new to you. It will give you step by step instructions of 'what' to do along with some of the 'why' you need to do it.
Regular Expressions are a useful tool when processing text. This website isn't exclusive to VB.net, but is a good reference on the regular expression syntax. Regex Hero is an excellent tool to analyze a regular expression; it helps to trouble shoot and fine tune your regular expression.
Visual Basic Books
Books are a great resource when learning a programming language; they cover a wide range of topics at a deeper and more consistent level than websites. If you are new to programming, my first suggestion is to visit your local library; Visual Basic is so popular, that even small town libraries usually have at least one book on it - larger libraries may have several. I've thumbed through several VB books, most of the ones I have seen don't assume any previous programming experience and are very beginner friendly. The following are some of the books I can recommend.
- Learning Visual Basic.NET by Jesse Liberty. A good introduction to both Visual Basic and Object Oriented Programming (OOP)
- Visual Basic 2010 Programmer's Reference by Rod Stephens. This book covers a wider range of topics than most beginner books.
- Murach's Visual Basic 2010. More of a reference than an instructional book, but it covers a lot of topics and has lots of code samples.
- Object Oriented Programming with Visual Basic .net by J. P. Hamilton. Most general VB books have a chapter or two on Object Oriented Programming (OOP); this book assumes you have a decent grasp of basic programming concepts and VB syntax and takes a deep dive into OOP.
- Visual Basic .NET Text Manipulation Handbook: String Handling and Regular Expressions by Paul Wilton, Craig McQueen, and François Liger. I have found regular expressions to be a powerful, useful tool; this book is a good introduction to using them in VB.net.