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Where Do You Go After Visual Basic?

Cliff posted more than 13 years ago | from the finding-your-next-RAD dept.

Programming 363

Josh Berkus asks: "I am an expert Visual Basic programmer who is looking to adopt a different, cross-platform language with a Linux-compatible IDE. After some research, the main offerings are theKompany's BlackAdder, borland's Kylix, and ActiveState's Komodo. What are your opinions about the languages and IDEs offered in these products? Has anyone switched to one of these from VB, and what were your experiences?"

"BlackAdder supports a Python-Qt synthesis that is very attractive as both languages have Open Source verisons. Their IDE costs only $250, which is doubly attractive.

Kylix is apparently a full featured IDE based on Borland's many years of experience with Delphi. However, one has to buy both Kylix ($199) and Delphi 6 ($999) and the language is proprietary.

Komodo suffers from the lack of a widget/forms set (as far as I can tell). However, their IDE supports 3 languages right now and will support more in the future. The $295 per user price is also attractive, as is the large knowledge base of advice and code snippets."

Are there other decent RAD packages out there for Unix systems or is this pretty much the cream of the crop?

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Where to go after VB? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#162816)

Tooheys, Fosters, Swan, XXXX, Crownies... Sorry...

Re:Well, there's Java... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#162817)

or you can skip the high license fee and use what essentially amounts to forte with netbeans. Its open source and free and written in java. In short its brilliant. Find it at

Re:Kylix (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#162818)

Well, no, ActiveX components aren't used very often with Delphi/C++Builder. Deverlopers rather create native VCL controls - which should be pretty easy to port to CLX. Up to a certain degree, CLX and VCL are source code compatible.

Java cross-platform IDEs (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#162823)

You say you are looking for something cross platform. One obvious choice is Java. Many vendors have IDEs that will run under Linux. NetBeans [] is an open source project under the Sun Public License [] , which is the basis for Sun's Forte [] product (very much like how Mozilla is a basis for Netscape). Forte Community Edition is free to download and try out. [] Borland offers JBuilder [] , with a Foundation Edition available for download. [] I'm sure there are many others with run under Linux, but this will get you started.

where do i wanna go after looking at VB code? (1)

Wakko Warner (324) | more than 13 years ago | (#162831)

to church, to confess my sins...

Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

XEmacs (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 13 years ago | (#162832)

If you really want to study programming, you need to start with C, and use XEmacs as an environment -- does everything IDE is supposed to do but does not adds its quirks to the language when you need to concentrate on it. After C one can choose to study C++ or interpreters (perl/python/...), and after either one should be able to make his own decisions on everything further.

Gideon/KDevelop (4)

rafa (491) | more than 13 years ago | (#162833)

This [] post over at [] describes the progress that's been made on KDevelop's sucessor called Gideon.

It supports Java, Perl, Python, Php, c, and c++. Personally I think the python support looks especially interesting.


JBuilder (1)

cwinters (879) | more than 13 years ago | (#162837)

Like someone else mentioned, many frown on Java here , but Borland's JBuilder [] has a Foundation edition that's free (as in beer). You can bump up to the Professional edition for yourself for around $400 (competitive upgrade) or if you've got the $$ to spend the enterprise for $2000 per seat.

It runs quite well on both Linux and Windows, as long as you have some memory, and has many of the IDE goodies you're probably used to (auto-complete, code templating, symbol browsing, etc.). It's also got an API for extending it called OpenTools that lets you plug-in additional functionality -- many good-to-excellent free (as in beer and speech) tools are available.


Still thinking "corp centric". (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 13 years ago | (#162854)

While your at it you should consider kdevelop which I think is the best and most integrated of the Free IDEs.

Kylix is also excellent in it's own way and perhaps forms the best transition tool fr a Visual Basic developer. I.e. Burland has competed for years with Visual Basic on Windows so they know how to design IDEs.

What does your customer/employer want? (1)

tjansen (2845) | more than 13 years ago | (#162855)

I think it is at least important to know what your customer/(potential)employer wants. With Kylix/Delphi you probably have best chances to get a profitable job.

If you are self-employed and work for customers who dont care about the language and tools you use, check out the usability and look&feel of the applications you produce. This is, for example, the knock-out criteria for GUI Java development because the UI is soo ugly, especially with Swing. TK (AFAIK the most widely used cross-platform toolkit for Python) does not look very nice on Windows, too.

Re:Go Borland (1)

tjansen (2845) | more than 13 years ago | (#162856)

>>In fact, now that I think of it, if you really want to take the next step, grab a copy of CBuilder. You can make a gui program in about 5 seconds by dragging and dropping your components on the form, just like in VB, while learning c++ at the same time.

Be careful with that. C++ is quite dangerous. From my own experience, I would not recommend anyone to this. It is extremely easy to get yourself into trouble if you dont know the details of C++. If you want to learn C++, then read a few books and experiment in a clean (no foreign libraries, no code generators) environment where you have control.

Code generators just fool you into thinking that development is easy. But if you dont know very well what they are doing you are doomed later, when the software gets more complicated or you want to do things that the generators cannot do. Especially if they are used to hide a bad API like in VisualC++/MFC... (don't know Borland's)

Re:What does your customer/employer want? (1)

tjansen (2845) | more than 13 years ago | (#162857)

And GTK+ is coming to Windows, too. But the GTK ports I have seen so far paint the widgets themselves, so the app will not look like a Windows application. Unlike Java designers, GvR & Co did not make the mistake of binding the language to a single toolkit (or two). This is not true, Sun just distributes only AWT and Swing, but you can write Java bindings yourself, like the Java-Gnome project did.

VisualAge for Java (1)

Tal Cohen (4834) | more than 13 years ago | (#162863)

(Disclaimer: I used to be an IBM employee when I was an undergraduate student.)

IBM's VisualAge for Java [] is downright fantastic, once you get used to it.

It does take getting used to: for example, it does not use the regular file-based model for editing source code. And it is very heavyweight. Don't even consider using it with less than 256MB of RAM for any serious development.

It currently supports only JDK 1.2. Theoretically, you can just "drop in" any JDK version, but the built-in JDK is a version created by IBM, fully compatible with Sun's but more efficient and "intelligent" (since it is aware of certain aspects of the IDE, all without breaking any standard. JavaBeans, for example, have a built-in vendor-extension mechanism, and IBM uses it in full). Plus, the JVM used is also IBM's own, and (at least when comparing JDK 1.1.x and 1.2.x) it is significantly more stable and faster than Sun's JDKs (but that's before HotSpot. I don't have any updated comparison info).

The most basic version is available for free download, but it is rather limited. The high-end Enterprise version includes support for EJB, a Servlet development system (including a debugger), and more.

If you're coming from VB, VisualAge for Java will clearly not be as easy to learn as Delphi/Kylix. But I personally think it is worth the effort (even though I'm a great Delphi fan myself, for Win32-specific development. Didn't try Kylix yet).

Inside info: VisualAge for Java v4.0 should be available Real Soon Now (IBM Standard Time).

None of the Above (4)

hatless (8275) | more than 13 years ago | (#162871)

Python and Object Pascal are nice languages, and the former, like Perl, can come in very handy for the same sort of quick prototyping VB lets you do. If yu're learning Perl or Python, start with a plain text editor and the command line. They are first and foremost console-based scripting languages, and that's how you should orient yourself to them. Once you've got your bearings, then bring in the IDE.

But as others have said, if VB is all you know, C++ or Java are much more useful (read: employment-getting) languages to get down first, and they both give you syntax fundamentals that will seem very familiar if you proceed from, say, C++ to PHP or from Java to Smalltalk or Python. This is not to say Python isn't idely used, but rather that an organization will feel more comfortable bringing on a Java programmer and asking her to learn Python than the other way around.

What IDE you use is more a matter of personal preference. Unlike VB and Kylix/Delphi, the C-langauges and Java exist outside the context of a dominant IDE. A damn fine (and widely used) IDE you'll feel right at home with for C/C++ is KDevelop--with a form painter, event wizards, code completion, properties inspectors and all. It's also free, and better in many regards than some of the commercial IDEs out there in the Unix world. For Java, there are too many IDEs to mention, with the base editions either free or in that under-$300 price range you seem to be targeting.

Focus on languages and APIs, not tools. If you can write C++ in KDevelop, it'll take you a few hours to get up to full speed writing C++ with CodeWarrior, the Cygnus tools, Code Crusader or for that matter a plain text editor and command-line build tools (which is a very useful foundational skill, by the way, and one you should acquire if you're serious about moving to the Unix/Linux world).

As for APIs, picking up either GTK/GNOME or Qt/KDE for graphical applications is a decent idea if you're staying on the traditional desktop or client-server side of things. On the (web-)server side, having something lean like PHP or server-side Perl (not so much CGI as mod_perl and its cousins) in your arsenal is more or less comparable to knowing VBScript ASP. For heavier lifting, J2EE is the dominant way to go these days, and yes, there are free JSP/servlet engines and even complete J2EE application servers. Apart from a smattering of bundled SDKs and different tools, writing apps for the free JBoss is the same as writing apps for Weblogic, Websphere, iPlanet's appserver, Oracle's appserver, Sybase's, and so on. And J2EE code deployed on Linux doesn't change on Solaris, AIX or Windows 2000, or on an AS/400 or on a System/390.

How about wxPython/wxWindows.. (2)

benmhall (9092) | more than 13 years ago | (#162873)

Hey there.

From the website:

wxWindows gives you a single, easy-to-use API for writing GUI applications on multiple platforms. Link with the appropriate library for your platform (Windows/Unix/Mac) and compiler (almost any popular C++ compiler), and your application will adopt the look and feel appropriate to that platform. On top of great GUI functionality, wxWindows gives you: online help, network programming, streams, clipboard and drag and drop, multithreading, image loading and saving in a variety of popular formats, database support, HTML viewing and printing, and much much more.

wxPython is the same thing with Python bindings.

You're more than able to do all of this in your favorite text editor like Vim or Emacs, but since you're into fancy IDE's, they sell whDesigner

Here's the link: .

The pricing is quite reasonable:

Product Price
Student licence US$ 19
Single-user licence US$ 89
10-user licence US$ 299

Oh, and they're working on Perl bindings too:

Linux has "VB" (2)

jgarzik (11218) | more than 13 years ago | (#162878)

We have own our GUI BASIC: GNOME BASIC. []

Why not Java? (3)

Kamelion (12129) | more than 13 years ago | (#162881)

Is there a reason why you are not considering Java?

If you are looking for a cross platform language, why not go with one of the Java IDEs? Cross platform supposedly is the primary goal of Java. Although vi is my IDE, you might like something like JBuilder.

Re:IDLE is free (1)

redhog (15207) | more than 13 years ago | (#162887)

Perheaps you can combine that with Glade (and possibly gladelib), and some graphical CVS client, too, and you have a really nice GUI-developement-suit....

Maybe he's too concerned with the IDE? (2)

Wee (17189) | more than 13 years ago | (#162894)

I certainly don't mean to to denigrate Josh, but why does it seem like he's more concerned with what GUI he uses than what language he uses to get the job done? I would think a peson moving to Linux scripting/programming from Win32/VB would take a look at the landscape of languages and size them all up according to one's needs, desires, proclivities, availability, etc. Personally -- and this is just me -- I'd find out what language fits the task at hand and then go looking for an IDE.

Without knowing *anything* about what he intends to do with his new language choice, I humbly suggest that Josh take a look at perl and vi. Using perl will give him a taste of Unix scipting, and perl is very multipurpose (perl is arugably the VB of the Linux world). Perl has the added bonus of being easy to learn, so spinning up from VB won't be as hard as with Java or C (no flamewars intended). Learning and using vi will allow him to get to know an editor he can use at a command prompt, which practically is a required skill for a Unix user (after all, you may not always have X, so only getting to know a GUI does you a great disservice). I'd even recommend emacs, which has some great IDE development capabilities.

After he's got perl and vi under his belt, he can go take a look at an X-based GUI. But I still say that he should examine his programmatic requirements before his aesthetic requirements. Again, this is only a humble suggestion based solely on my experiences. YMMV, etc, etc.


Re:Borland JBuilder (1)

mab (17941) | more than 13 years ago | (#162896)

python runs on more and seems more consistant
wxpython and boa are pretty good

C and emacs, xterm, gcc (1)

pong (18266) | more than 13 years ago | (#162897)

I can't believe you ask the slashdot community. Most of the guys here think C is a great language for application development and they think emacs, gcc and possibly a few xterm's is what it takes to make them the most efficient developers. Fact of the matter is that many of them have never done any serious work in an IDE using a higher level language such as C++, Java or Python. Unfortunately that doesn't keep them from offering their opinions about emacs vs IDEs and C for developing applications quite loudly!

Re:C and emacs, xterm, gcc (1)

pong (18266) | more than 13 years ago | (#162898)

... and why you've omitted to mention any functional languages like the assorted lisps & schemes.

Because I have no real experience with these languages, but I can see why that is not an obvious answer to you - after all this is slashdot, the place where everybody feels they are experts, just because they know a few acronyms and can write "Hello World" (but not much else) in seven odd languages.

It also makes it blindingly obvious that you don't know your emacs modes from your elbow, too.

You are probably right, emacs is the kitchen sink tool, that does it all, better than more modern tools tailor made for their specific purpose. Yes - you definitely qualify as "one of those guys that give open source, linux etc a bad rep". I still use emacs for many things, because the editor in JBuilder isn't powerful enough, but that doesn't mean that the IDE doesn't provide a lot of great stuff that you don't get with emacs.

Re:Going from VB to a high level Language (1)

pong (18266) | more than 13 years ago | (#162899)

Actually C++ is a multi-paradigm language which includes OO features. I wouldn't recommend it, especially if your experience is with VB, because you are likely to benefit from working with a less powerful, more OO-centric language, so you are less likely to develop strange styles and bad habits. Then, when you have developed a sound OO understanding and coding practice, you can move on to C++.

Java - JBuilder, VisualAge, Forte (3)

pong (18266) | more than 13 years ago | (#162900)

Java is a great language, and there are several very good IDEs available for Linux. I have used JBuilder professionally for 8 months now - before that I used emacs exclussively, but I'm not going back now! JBuilder is top notch but lacks a great refactoring browser. I know you can buy a refactoring tool called jfactor that plugs into VisualAge, so if that's important to you, then maybe you should try that.

What I did: (5)

wirefarm (18470) | more than 13 years ago | (#162903)

I've been in a similar situation - I've done years of programming in VB and Access.
With the last 'upgrade' of Access, I found some of the methods that I'd come to rely on disabled by default. Not a huge deal, but a client's last minute change caused me to miss a deadline. ("Oh, we need it in Access 2K - not 97. " Should have been simple, but all of the DAO stuff I had written failed. The reason is still beyond me. )
I felt betrayed by MS - I'd gone and learned what they said to learn and then they changed the rules, so that they could push their latest and greatest version.
So I switched to Perl.
Not a big learning curve, if you knew what you were doing in VB. Interesting enough to get me excited about writing code again. (Yes, VB can be a lot like writing code...)
It took me a while to figure it out.
I took some working scripts and made them better.
But I missed clicking a button to see if it would 'compile'.
I missed the IDE I had in VB. typing 'object' + '.' brought up a list of the properties and methods for the object.
Yet still, I was productive; It was fun again.
Now I'm taking it as a challenge to write my perl using vi. Some of the fun comes from *not* using and IDE.
Instead of a help file, I have the O'Reilly CD bookshelf bookmarked on my HD. Instead of a 'run' button, I have 'perl -w'.
I started writing CGI scripts that used ODBC to talk to SQL Server. (ActiveState Perl on NT.)
At my company, I pushed the idea of intranetting what apps we could - It cut down on all of the support that we had to do installing VB apps on every desktop. (A surprising amount of work.)
I began to really see the the beauty of using open source tools.
I was able to keep my reference books more than a year or two. (My current favorite read is "Unix Power Tools" - my copy is from 1993 - Still lots of useful stuff in there.)
I saw the beauty of writing programs that didn't need users clicking buttons to run. (Try making your typical VB app run without a user sitting there poking the screen.)
My advice? Pick a language and get good at it. Pick something marketable, yet pick something open. Pick something you feel you can learn. Then toss yourself into it.
Get excited again.
Do really cool stuff.
Good luck and let us know how it goes!

Jim in Tokyo


Re:A more traditional answer... (1)

jamesk (18755) | more than 13 years ago | (#162904)

Sorry, but I'm forced to disagree with you.

After 10 years of programming with C++, working on projects big and small, my only gripe with the language is its complexity and the discipline required to truly master it. I started with 7 years of C before moving over to it and it still required tutalage and guidance to master it and without strict attention to OO concepts and details and a strong desire to learn "how to do it right" you consistently end up with piles of one-layer classes (translation: lots of classes which are actually just structs with getters and setters methods) and lots of procedural like flow wrapped in other classes. Its not that OO is particularily difficult, but the complexity of the language to achieve OO results tends to dissuade newbies from going to for it. Ever try explaining pointer to a novice, how about pointer vs references? The number of times I've seen object life-cycle (read memory leaks) handle incorrectly, even by experts (myself included) is daunting and learning how to use first collection classes for the first time can be overwelming, especially when confronted with obfuscated error messages.

Over the last few years, I along with many experienced cohorts have now come to shutter when confronted with new projects where management simply thinks a couple of weeks of guerrila programming classes will turn VB programmers into qualified C++ developers.

Its too easy to cheat with the language and revert back to "proceduralness" and the benefits of **REAL** OO are rarely apparent at first appearance. Couple that with management's usual push for "getting thing done a quickly as possible" and you more often then not end with quite a mess.

Java is much nicer to many reasons (including standardized GUI classes, memory management, etc) and requires less initial effort.

Delphi also quite nice but its the deadliest two edge sword I have ever seen. Too much of the language is tied to its development environment. Most coders simply utilized the "Automagical" code generation facilities and never really understand what goes on underneath and hence never really learn what OO is and what can be done with its concepts when software is crafted thoughtfully or correctly.

Just my $0.02

A more traditional answer... (2)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 13 years ago | (#162907)

If you are doing this (in part) to develop your skill set, you might think about going with C++, any given IDE (using gcc, which is a good C++ compiler, and Qt as a portable windowing library. Despite the fact that it is linked in many people's minds as a "KDE" thing, in reality, it was designed from the beginning as a cross platform windowing library, and functions very nicely in Windows, X, MacOS, OSX and on embedded platforms.

It is *very* object oriented (which not all C++ toolkits are), and well documented with several nice high level tools (Qt Designer, etc). You *will* have to find an IDE for project management, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong, and somebody knows better!).

Quite frankly, if you only really know VB, C++ will introduce you to a good spot smack dab in the middle of the "C family" of languages: C, C++, Java, Perl, PHP, and many many more.


Re:Don't use an IDE (2)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#162908)

I have yet to find another 'editor' that does what Emacs will do.... have you really used the IDE type features of emacs before?

Language or IDE? (3)

mindstrm (20013) | more than 13 years ago | (#162910)

You should not be limiting yourself on learning a language based on the IDE available. Learn C. Use an IDE if you wish.

Re:um. (1)

WiPEOUT (20036) | more than 13 years ago | (#162911)

No, but professional adults who make pedal-powered cars outperform amateurs in Porsche 911s may well do.


Re:um. (1)

WiPEOUT (20036) | more than 13 years ago | (#162912)

Expert programmers use whatever is best for the job. If that is VB, then that's what's used.

Do you want a language, or an IDE? (5)

DenialS (21305) | more than 13 years ago | (#162914)

While you said you want to explore a different, cross-platform language, the examples you listed were all integrated development environments IDE, not languages. Indeed, ActiveState's Komodo IDE can actually be used to develop in many different languages [] :

Komodo recognizes multiple languages including JavaScript^(TM), HTML, Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, XML, and XSLT
Conspicuously missing from that list is the language once championed as the cross-platform solution: Java [] . And let's not forget about the cross-platform capabilities of ANSI C or C++, if you stick to cross-platform libraries (e.g. no Microsoft Foundation Classes!)

But, perhaps the real question is, what do you plan to do with this cross-platform language? Apart from being able to run on more than one platform, do you need:

  • speed
  • easy GUI development
  • standardized database access
  • standalone executables, interpreted scripts, browser-as-client, or server-side development
And exactly which platforms do you need to run this on? Just Windows and Linux? PalmOS and WinCE? Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, Plan 9, and Amiga?

On the IDE side, what features are you looking for:

  • syntax highlighting
  • syntax completion
  • auto-formatting
  • debugging
  • integrated help and reference info
  • drag'n'drop GUI development
  • code repository/version control
  • IDE itself running on different platforms
  • free (beer or philosophically) or proprietary
If all you need is syntax highlighting and auto-formatting, then VIm [] could suit you just fine, with some custom scripting for goodies like debugging and version control. But you might want more than that.

As with many problems in life, you need to refine your question before you're going to be able to come up with the right answer. Putting together a good set of requirements really helps when you're trying to solve a problem. And it helps other people provide intelligent commentary.

Don't use an IDE (5)

Phill Hugo (22705) | more than 13 years ago | (#162916)

Build you own IDE from seperate bits that fit how you work.

I use Glade (libglade is great!), Emacs and a few other things to make my development environment. Sure, you can argue that Emacs is an IDE to some degree but you can easily use any other editor in its place. This way I don't have all my application skills stuck in one place that later means I have to ask such a question.

Try lots of things and peice together what you like to suit your preferences. From there you can refine your environment until you've got something you know so well you're able to improve it beyond its limitations.

Otherwise you just get stuck with what another bunch of folk *think* is good for you.

Forte For Java / Netbeans (1)

Smoking (24594) | more than 13 years ago | (#162921)

Take a look at Forte For Java [] or Netbeans [] .
Netbeans is the basis for Forte, so it's basically the same. Both are really good Java IDE with Form design support (including GridBagLayout, the most advanced Java GUI concept).
They support a big bunch of functionalities: JSP, CVS, automatic doc generation, and many more.
If you're used to VB, Java is really easy to grok, many of the concepts are similar and the documentation is really good.
Hope it helps....

Borland JBuilder (1)

chris.bitmead (24598) | more than 13 years ago | (#162922)

Java is a pretty good cross platform environment.

Re:C and emacs, xterm, gcc (1)

PigleT (28894) | more than 13 years ago | (#162924)

"Fact of the matter is that many of them have never done any serious work in an IDE using a higher level language such as C++, Java or Python."

Of course, that depends on whether you think these languages are any higher-level than C, and why you've omitted to mention any functional languages like the assorted lisps & schemes.

It also makes it blindingly obvious that you don't know your emacs modes from your elbow, too.
.|` Clouds cross the black moonlight,

fpgui (2)

Krilomir (29904) | more than 13 years ago | (#162926)

In addition to Lazarus, there is fpgui [] . It should be independent of GUI APIs as well ... dunno if it's good though. Looks nice, lookin at the the little information the site has and the screenshots.

Yes, let's all have a good laugh (2)

Catullus (30857) | more than 13 years ago | (#162928)

Don't be so bloody elitist. Just because someone uses VB does not automatically mean they are a moron. Personally, I think it's one of the worst languages known to man, but I am willing to accept that it meets others' needs... and besides, the original poster might be an expert in working round all the bugs MS included. And he's moving to a different language now anyway!

Also, the phrases "an expert programmer who uses Visual Basic" and "an expert Visual Basic programmer" mean very different things.


After Visual Basic... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 13 years ago | (#162947) generally goes to Hell, just like every other heathen and sinner. That is how it is written in the Big Book of Holy Computing, Book 1, Chapter 3, Verse 4.


Re:After Visual Basic... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 13 years ago | (#162948)

For crying out loud, that was humorous. People, learn to laugh at yourself. I mean, most of you already can, to some extent. That's why UF is so popular.


Re:A more traditional answer... (2)

p3d0 (42270) | more than 13 years ago | (#162950)

I don't think C++ is the first C-like language someone ought to try. I wouldn't call it the "middle" of the C family; it's really at one extreme of power and complexity.

I'd say Java is in the middle. It's more powerful than C but simpler than C++, and it's more dynamic than C or C++ but less so than Perl or PHP.

Re:"Cross platform" just because it's cool? (2)

THEbwana (42694) | more than 13 years ago | (#162953)

Maybe he wants to broaden his skills.
Knowing only one language ( with quite limited usage many would say ) is like being a construction worker who only knows how to use one particular type of hammer. Sure you can use that hammer to fasten a screw to a wall, however it is usually more efficient to use a screwdriver. A developer who only knows one platform and one tool can not - in my opinion - call him or herself a developer without lying through his/her teeth.

Re:C# on Linux will be Best for You (1)

psykocrime (61037) | more than 13 years ago | (#162969)

Win2k is plenty stable - if not more than Linux. FUD point + 1 for you

Yeah, right. FUD point +2 for you!

Re:Kylix (2)

stevey (64018) | more than 13 years ago | (#162973)

With the CLX, working between Linux and Windows should only mean a recompile, although you'll have scatterred {$IFDEF [WIN32|LINUX]}'s throughout the code

I wonder if that really is going to be the case..

I've never used Borlands stuff, but I have toyed with VB a few times - and most of the people I know who use it are basically using it as a container for ActiveX controls, and the like.

A large amount of Borland/Vb code is making use of ActiveX controls, and COM - which isn't going to be available for Linux .. surely that means that a lot of existing code isn't going to be easily portable to Linux?


Re:Do you want a language, or an IDE? (1)

warpSpeed (67927) | more than 13 years ago | (#162979)

Conspicuously missing from that list is the language once championed as the cross-platform solution: Java.

I would imagine that ActiveState is trying to stay in MSs' good graces. And MS has a really big hard-on for Sun. Active State does not wish to get in the way of the cross hairs.

Good post too, I agree with just about everything in it.


Wrong price for BlackAdder (2)

stubbyg (74241) | more than 13 years ago | (#162982)

It is only $79.99 and is reduced to $49.99 during the beta. The new beta coming out shortly will also include support for Ruby.

Re:Don't use an IDE (2)

JordanH (75307) | more than 13 years ago | (#162983)

I second this. Even if you do decide to use one of those IDEs you've mentioned, you'll also want to become proficient in Linux toolsets if you're serious about development in Linux.

Why? Because you'll need to perform setup and configuration that can only really be done effectively from something like Emacs and the shell.

If you were developing to target the Windows platform, I wouldn't recommend that you use Cygwin as your primary toolset, similarly, I wouldn't recommend toolsets that are designed with Windows developers in mind as your primary toolset in Linux.

Go ahead and use the IDE for what it's designed for, screen layout and class browsing and such, but don't come whining to us if there's some hot new tools that come out for Linux later that don't integrate well with your chosen IDE.

Re:Well, there's Java... (1)

Kidbro (80868) | more than 13 years ago | (#162985)

Being a Java programmer I must say that I agree to this post 100%. Sure, this is a religious topic, but Java IS about as cross platform as it gets, you have quite a bunch of choices for development environments on at least both Linux and Windows (only two platforms I've really coded on).
Forte is free for non commersial use, and rather good.


Re:Visual Basic "Developer"? (4)

Kidbro (80868) | more than 13 years ago | (#162986)

I have yet to see a java, C, c++, etc project that delivered in time, on budget, and was very useful.

And... your average VB projects meet these criteria?

The fact that projects aren't delivered on time or on budget has to do with bad project management and poor time guesstimating and not the language you've been coding in. However, coding in a decent language helps you adjust for changed projects plans, modify your code for later releases (you know, there are projects out there that goes beyong the first .0 release).
Not trying to justify the post you were replying to really, I too consider it a rather pathetic attempt to look cool. However, you generalize a bit too much for my taste...


Re:Kylix (2)

cmeans (81143) | more than 13 years ago | (#162989)

Actually, the vast majority of Delphi components are written in native Delphi.

There will probably need to be some modification of the code to move them to Delphi 6/Kylix, but on the whole it's supposed to be an easy transition.

---- Sigs are bad for your health ----

Slashdot grows up !! ?? (1)

Master_Ruthless (89957) | more than 13 years ago | (#162998)

Doing a quick glanceover (at threshold 1) I only see one "Ha ha VB is stupid Micro$oft is gay" message! I remember a time when the slightest (Non negative) mention of MS products of any kind would get you flamed from pillar to post here. Is the user demographic of Slashdot shifting away from the anti-MS zealots? Or are people softening on vb? (Which seems to be improving as a language, version 7.0 makes major improvements from what I heard)

Re:C and emacs, xterm, gcc (2)

blakestah (91866) | more than 13 years ago | (#162999)

Well, if you use ctags, emacs/jed, gcc, gdb, and a few xterms, I wonder what additional functionality you want in an IDE.

The reality is that UNIX philosophy leads to small tools that do their jobs well. Hence, emacs, gdb, gcc, a few xterms... (actually, use vi or jed instead of emacs for the UNIX philosophy of small tools).

This philosophy is useless under a Windows environment in which the standard shell is functionally broken by UNIX standards (no pipes, for example). Why would you need instant access to header files when you are using ctags ?

So you might start by asking how you can maintain your Windows programming mentality under linux, or you might more intelligently ask what approach large projects take under linux. As a hint, GNOME and the kernel are mostly programmed with a few consoles, emacs/vi/jed, and SOMETIMES gdb and ctags. KDE has its own C++ builder, but I don't know how many people use it.

The underlying tools take a completely different approach, which makes completely different programming approaches effective.

How about wxPython ? (1)

matek (101962) | more than 13 years ago | (#163001)

Which is quite nice and platform-independent, find it at : [] ( it's based on the good olde wxWindows project [] )..


matek (101962) | more than 13 years ago | (#163002)

;) []

Kylix (5)

S5o (102998) | more than 13 years ago | (#163003)

I'd definately go with Kylix. Delphi 6 is shipping this week on the Windows side (Actually, I believe it was June 8th.)

The combination of both these tools are unstoppable. The CLX is a new version of the VCL, which is basically an abstraction over Qt or the standard Windows GUI calls, and is almost as easy as Visual Basic's drag and drop controls.

I got on this path a few years back moving from Visual C++ to Borland C++ Builder. The VCL leaves MFC in the dust. Later on, I moved to Delphi, and it was a very comfortable environment to work in: You never feel like you're working /against/ the compiler. I started with the assumption that I'd be "cramped" by Delphi's Object Pascal's roots, but it turns out, Borland has done some great work in the syntax, now it's basically just a slightly more verbose C++ Builder, with a few nice things you'd miss while working in another language.

With the CLX, working between Linux and Windows should only mean a recompile, although you'll have scatterred {$IFDEF [WIN32|LINUX]}'s throughout the code.

The only thing that might make you think twice is the price. Even the standard edition of Delphi and Kylix arent really what you'd call cheap.

Well, there's always FreePascal, which is great if you don't mind devoting the majority of your time handling windowing messages, etc.

Re:IDLE is free (5)

MrBlack (104657) | more than 13 years ago | (#163006)

Python and IDLE is quite good but when a VB programmer says IDE they often also mean "form designer" and a lot of other things to boot, which IDLE doesn't have. (Full Discloseure: I have programmed much VB). I'd still reccomend IDLE (or Pythonwin which gets a lot of it's code from IDLE I think and runs nicely on Windows) becuase form designers can just get in the way of you really learning your way around. Java and forte are another obvious pair (as many others have pointed out).

I think it's telling that this poster (as a VB programmer) considers the IDE and language together. It's hard to shake this mindset when you're used to proprietary languages like VB and Delphi where there is only one IDE. I'd pick the language I wanted to learn first, and then pick an IDE that suited me. High powered IDEs like VB (and I DO consider VB's IDE a fairly good one - not perfect but good) are usually good for being productive when you know a language, but can hinder your learning of a new language. Syntax hilighting, auto-complete and an object browser are probably the only features I need for a "language learner" IDE.

Re:What does your customer/employer want? (1)

bockman (104837) | more than 13 years ago | (#163007)

TK (AFAIK the most widely used cross-platform toolkit for Python) does not look very nice on Windows, too.

But you can write portalble GUI with Python also using QT or wxWindows bindings.And GTK+ is coming to Windows, too.

Unlike Java designers, GvR & Co did not make the mistake of binding the language to a single toolkit (or two).

Switch to Java (1)

spullara (119312) | more than 13 years ago | (#163015)

Works great on Unix and will still run on your Windows platform. Use a free IDE like Forte for Java, Community Edition.

Free pascal Delphi clone (5)

ssimpson (133662) | more than 13 years ago | (#163021)

Rather than using Kylix / Delphi, consider the Free Pascal [] based Lazarus [] project.

Currently Linux appears to be the main development platform, but the front page mentions WIN32 builds.

Re:Consider Smalltalk (1)

tony clifton (134762) | more than 13 years ago | (#163022)

Don't forget Squeak [] which is open-source Smalltalk. A steeper learning curve than VAST or VW, but in a lot of ways much more interesting.

Going away from Visual Basic (5)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 13 years ago | (#163024)

Well first of all you have to get yourself a black chicken. This is essencial so bare with me.

Next you get yourself a dry toad leg ...

... plus a picture of Bill Gates.

Next you go out to the countryside in a full moon, friday night and find yourself an apple tree.

Now you open a little whole in the ground, under the tree and place the picture of Bill Gates in there.

Next you beat the chicken to death using the dry toad leg (in know it's difficult, but this is the only way)

Sprinkle the picture with the blood of the dead chicken and recite 666 times (i know it's a lot, but it's the number of The Beast) - "Until the ocean turns to dust of VB i will be free"

You can now safelly turn to other programming languages

Re:Not necessarily (1)

r1ch (166865) | more than 13 years ago | (#163045)

Actually, I'd say that you're the one that doesn't know what you're talking about - "Require Variable Declaration" does exactly what it says on the tin - you have to declare variables, but if you don't initialize them VB will do it for you. You're right about variants though...

Re:VBasic rant - mod down plz (2)

GodSpiral (167039) | more than 13 years ago | (#163046)

No your not missing anything. Its a long lasting tradition to snobishly look down on anything that has to do with BASIC as a language. Many of the people commenting have no programming experience of any kind, and are just repeating snobbish expressions they heard 5 years ago.

The fact that its MS only, that it can be tricky to compile 5 year old code, and so closed source 3rd party components are worth avoiding, and that its incredibly annoying to deploy are all extremely good reasons not to use VB.

However, much better programming tools would exist if more people realized that VB is in some ways the best language tool in existence. It has the best debugger, IDE has excellent code navigation, and the language is among the most readable, and correctly determines that ; and == or := should be optional.

IDLE is free (4)

GodSpiral (167039) | more than 13 years ago | (#163047)

IDLE (a python GUI IDE) has all the essentials for an IDE. Comes with source. Windows version is very nice.

Came with mandrake 7.2 linux distro, but did not install correctly, which I assume to be my fault.

Re:Linux has "VB" (2)

danheskett (178529) | more than 13 years ago | (#163054)

Looks really mature, i liked the phrase "embryonic" and "0.0.19". I am sure the switch will be very _smooth_ (~snickers~).

Re:VBasic rant - mod down plz (1)

perlyking (198166) | more than 13 years ago | (#163061)

As someone who regularly codes in VB (and perl) I can say yes VB is not even in the same league as perl, IDE or not. My misfortune is I still use VB for GUI applications and pull my hair out because it doesnt offer the power i'm used to in perl.

Anyway what i'm here for is to say: It doesnt mattter a lot what language you program in, what matters is being able to creatively solve problems , how do I solve this - how do I make this run faster, easier to use. Spending hundreds of pounds on VB (or not spending hundreds of pounds on perl) will not give you a magical ability to solve things you can't otherwise. The skill that as a programmer you will take from language to language is the way you can think through a problem to achieve what you want. This is the reason that elitist views about programming languages are flawed.


Re:Where do you go after Visual Basic? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 13 years ago | (#163062)

This is a great slashdot poll idea.

After Visual Basic Programming?

- purgatory
- Deprogramming
- VBA( Visual Basic Anonymous)
- Crack cocaine?
- kindergarten
- Cowboy oneal's toolshed


Re:What does your customer/employer want? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 13 years ago | (#163063)

With Kylix/Delphi you probably have best chances to get a profitable job.

How many Kylix jobs are out there on the market?


This is, for example, the knock-out criteria for GUI Java development because the UI is soo ugly, especially with Swing

Pick your career path because of how the gui looks. Brilliant.

Avoid Kylix like the plague. Your skills are worthless because 1.) no jobs available for it. 2.) Your boss may get nervous if you switch all your apps to kylix due to support. If you program in groups wiht other people this will also be a problem because only you can read it? If you leave, your boss is screwed with code no one can read.

I know we all hate office politics and prefer something technical instead but that is not an option. Think long term. Learn something because a langauge is right for a specific task and it can really help you with your career. If you pick java you will gain experience and can find another job.

With kylix, an HR person or phb interviewing you will say "Kylix! What the hell is that?".

THen your screwed.

What bs! (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 13 years ago | (#163064)

You know all these college professors have some freshmen students learn gwbasic for a semester to learn some basic programming, and the students think thats all basic can really do. That is total bs! Its only true that Microsoft crippled basic in the early pc world. Basic before then had its own libraries, structures like stacks, binary tree's, and even assembler code. Thats right you can program assembler in basic, as long as you had a good compilier and not hte shitty Microsoft one for the early pc's. My father use to be a program mannager and he hired some programmers to develop a program in basic which ran on an embedded device which scanned inventory items. Alot of the code in there was written in assembler. I believe bad compiliers, and a few colege students who only used basic for introduction to programming who thought thats all basic could do, is why basic has gotten a bad rap. Also I can write com objects, ado, and even MTS objects and create enterprise apps really quickly with vb. I even created a database app in less then 2 hours. Lets see you do this in c++? Sure its proprietary, but its made specifically for windows development. I admit alot of vb programmers may not be good in writing in assenbly but the point is helping your employer make money by inreasing efficieny and retrivieing information for all its employee's. That is the name of the game. Its not to hack but solve bussiness problems. Microsoft talored a langauge specifically for that task and should be commended. Linux is still trying to catch up wiht its own versions of basic. Bill just say the problem and built a solution which is bussiness oriented and not technical oriented. Oh and I can still write stacks, binary tree's and other structures in Vb like I can in c== or any other langauge. You can still apply good software engineering principles to VB.

Look at job demand (3)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 13 years ago | (#163067)

Go to and search through the classified sections with keywords "Java", "c++", "Visual Basic", "Perl", and "Python". Then count the amount of jobs available. Pick the one with the most jobs available. Remember, that software packages can be very expensive and you should purchase them as an investment that can pay off in your career. Also you may want to learn a new programming langauge for fun and thats cool but try to look at the big picture.

Where I am in New York City, the number 1 langauge here is Java. This really supprised me. So, in my case when I am done learning python and Visual Basic, I will specialize in java. I will probably get a job as soon as possible with the best pay by chossing java over the other options. It doesnt matter how good the ide is as long as it basically works and you can learn the language. If you purchase RedHat 7.1 workstation or professional server, it will come with borland JBUilder and Fotre for java.

They are only light ide's of the professional and enterprise editions of course but you can just manually type in all the code rather then have a push button do it for you. You will learn alot more the old fashoined way. Also if the 2 ide's are annoying, you can always learn Emacs or VI. The java sdk's are the full thing and are free so its not crippled unlike Microsoft products which try to force you into buying the enterprise editions. I switched to linux just because I was pissed at Microsoft crippling Visual C on purpose.

Their are no jobs available for kylix so avoid it like the plague.

I would also recommend that you check out what technologies the programming jobs use with a particular langauge. For example if most of the Java jobs (just an example) require SQL and are run in servlets, then learn SQL and specialize in writing servlets. If you going for a c++ job and you see alot of dcom/com or corbra skills required, learn them as well because just knowing c++ won't get you anywhere. Basically pick a language, and pick your speciality with what you do in that langauge. I am only an amuture programmer from a support backgorund so I might have the best idea's here. I just look at things logically.

Re:um. (1)

Ando[evilmedic] (199537) | more than 13 years ago | (#163068)

Why don't you just stop being so smug, and offer a helpful suggestion.

- Ando
You are the weakest link, goodbye.

Good question bubba (1)

jfonseca (203760) | more than 13 years ago | (#163072)

slashdot has done it again, another stupid question.

1 - if you've been programming VB and never realised you were doing microsoft stuff(exclusively) then kill yourself. shoot your weener.
2 - otoh if you've decided msft is not good enough, then learn C and you'll be ready to program for any platform out there
3 - uh, what the dig VB...well just shoot yourself anyway
4 - GOTO 1

Kylix vs. Komodo (1)

InsaneCreator (209742) | more than 13 years ago | (#163076)

As far as I know, Kylix is the best choice for you. If you want all of the simplicity of VB. It has a nice form desinger which makes it very easy to create a quality GUI, code completion/hints... It really is a lot like VB IDE. You also get the source to all of the libraries/components (at least they said so). Soon, there should be a free version of Kylix available so you can try it out and use it for non-commercial programs.

I have downloaded a free version of Komodo, but it still seems to be very buggy. It supports code completion for 3 languages and sintax coloring for a few more of them. But on win32 it was a pain to find, download and install correct versions of all language interpreters it needs to function correctly.

If I were you, I would go with Kylix.

I recommend Kylix (5)

Tim12s (209786) | more than 13 years ago | (#163077)

Going from one commercial environment to another, I recommend Borland Kylix / Delphi.

4 points:
1) Are the development tools good?
2) Are they recognised by future employers?
3) What are the other benifits to the tool?
4) Advice


1) As a Visual Basic programmer, you've most likely been developing applications. You have no interest in the workings of the machine and want the RAD tool to hide that from you. RAD tools such as VB and Delphi are good for quickly developing applications. They must be easy to use. Kylix is easy to use.

2) Companies look towards the leaders in development technology for tools. It is common for "management" to only recognise brand names. Known vs Unknown. I, again, recommend Borland Kylix as Borland has a well established brand name. Future employees will recognise you're skills associated with products from that company.

3) Borland supports many different platforms. Windows, Linux, MacOSX, Solaris are just a few of the notable environments they support. Kylix is not necessarily available on all of them, however: Borland's tools are designed to be as similar as possible. Moving between C++ Builder and Delphi is easy. The environment in JBuilder is predictable, on all platforms. I'd imagine it would be relatively easy to port their current products to different platforms. I would also imagine that their next step would be to move Kylix to MacOSX. So, By taking up Kylix, you get an exposure to the development environments which Borland uses. In addition, if/when borland ports Kylix to MacOSX, you'll easily be able to leverage your current skills in the MacOSX arena.

4) In the short-term, for your career, look to the current development tools which will suit you best. To master applications development in linux, you'll need to have a look at all the environments once you have a better understanding of Linux. Only then will you be able to choose the environment which suits you best.

Re:Gideon/KDevelop (3)

update() (217397) | more than 13 years ago | (#163081)

Gideon (with that name, everyone's going to think it's a GNOME app, for better or worse) is far from usable.

The current KDevelop, or the 1.4 branch from CVS, is definitely worth a look. It's free, is pretty full-featured, integrates well with the excellent Qt Designer and is quite competitive with the commercial offerings. (Although I haven't seen Kylix.)

Also Qt is cross-platform (although the Windows version isn't under a free license) and it's superbly documented and supported, unlike most of the other Linux favorites.

Unsettling MOTD at my ISP.

Going from VB to a high level Language (1)

zachjb (221132) | more than 13 years ago | (#163083)

I used to program in Visual Basic, but then quickly was frustrated with the functionality of the language itself.

If I was going to switch to another language, I would have to say "Switch to C++!" because it is object oriented, great portability, and very fun to use.

Also, C++ is supported greatly on Linux/Windows/BSD/MacOS!

NO! I will not fix your damn computer!

Not necessarily (2)

unformed (225214) | more than 13 years ago | (#163084)

It tries error-checking and fixing on its own. No more warnings when you fail to initialize a variable... VB does it for you!

By default, yes, but you turn on "Require Variable Declaration" or set Option Explicit in Declarations and you will be forced to declare and initialize your own variables. It's actually bad programming practice to let VB declare your own variable, because then they're declared as variants, and are slower and take up more room than native types.

Sounds like someone doesn't know what he's talking about...

Re:um. (2)

James Foster (226728) | more than 13 years ago | (#163086)

I've been using C/C++ for the past few years (self-taught) and now I've started VB in school.
It pales in comparison.
The syntax for a start is simply horrible. It doesn't use any curly brackets to indicate where loops or 'if' statements start and end. Instead it uses "then" and "endif". Tedious to type and also horrible to read.
It tries error-checking and fixing on its own. No more warnings when you fail to initialize a variable... VB does it for you! All variables default to 0. If that's not encouraging bad programming practices, I don't know what is!
VB is pretty much "Programming for dummies". Unfortunately its pretty popular amongst many companies.

De-programming Required. (2)

James Foster (226728) | more than 13 years ago | (#163087)

After Visual Basic you should generally attempt to forget as much as you can.
Forget the bad programming practices, forget the awful syntax, and the image that you're an expert programmer because you're real good at Visual Basic.
Pick up a cross-platform language. Something that can be applied in both Microsoft's OS's AND Linux and hopefully other OS's too. Languages that come immediately to mind would be C/C++ and Java.

Java with Borland JBuilder 4 (1)

AlwaysTimeForCoffee (230416) | more than 13 years ago | (#163089)

As a cross platform developer, my choice is Java. Java has excellent widgets, it's a nice structured language and can be used for making stand alone applications, applets for browsers, server side programs, etc, etc. Last but not least: java has excellent support for communication with all kind of database managers like Oracle, SQL Server and MySQL. I use Borland JBuilder 4 for Linux instead of Forte. Forte is Ok, but for me JBuilder is a bit better. This is my personal opinion.

I think you go... (1)

(H)elix1 (231155) | more than 13 years ago | (#163091)

to one of the nine layers of hell. I'd look up which one, but I can't find my MSDN DVD anywhere....

Java and Forte 2 (1)

GeneOff (238946) | more than 13 years ago | (#163096)

As a development manager, I've had the joy of porting VB developers to Java, primarily because we wanted to standardize on a cross platform language and they wanted to learn a more modern O-O system.

They are usually a bit spoiled by the ease of GUI development and writing to an event model. A good Java IDE will help with that. A year ago, we used Visual J++ which let us interoperate with our COM objects. I basically told them, "Look, its the same code as you have been writing, just add a semicolon at the end of each line." Which was true for COM calls anyway. The other syntax differences were sugar-coating and we had a number of reference cards. This gets them started.

Recently, we've moved over to a combo WinNT and Linux development platform. To keep everything consistant, we chose Forte 2 which is Open Source. I think it is an excellent IDE with most of the features you need. Check it out at Sun's Forte for Java [] site.

Consider Smalltalk (2)

reinz (240892) | more than 13 years ago | (#163099)

There are a couple of cross-platform Smalltalk versions available.
Smalltalk is very RAD; it's a pure object oriented language + IDE which does away with those quaint source files. In general the GUI code is not transportable across vendors. Domain code is allmost cross-platform, often porting between vendors is trivial.

Some cross platform Smalltalk versions are Visual Age Smalltalk [] by IBM (needs to rebuild the app for each platform, uses native widgets) and VisualWorks [] by Cincom (binary portable, uses emulated widgets).
Both have a code revision system, IBM has ENVY as an option, VisualWorks comes with STORE.

More Smalltalk info at WhySmalltalk []

Re:um. (1)

Haglund (243690) | more than 13 years ago | (#163103)

Yes, if you're an expert on VB it does.

Re:um. (1)

Haglund (243690) | more than 13 years ago | (#163104)

Read again what I am saying - if you're an expert on VB, well, then you are. What's so strange about that? If he says he's a VB expert, then he doesn't say he's a programmer that knows all languages, right?

Re:VBasic rant - mod down plz (1)

Haglund (243690) | more than 13 years ago | (#163105)

It is impossible to be an expert at VB exactly... how? You can be an expert at C++, Java, Access... right? Or am I missing out on something here, cause english is not my first language. I am actually wondering if I am misunderstanding something.

Re:um. (1)

aoeuid (250239) | more than 13 years ago | (#163110)

What exactly do you consider a "hack" language?

Well, there's Java... (5)

baptiste (256004) | more than 13 years ago | (#163115)

Though many frown on it - if Java will fit your needs, Sun has an excellent IDE called Forte - very powerful program and they have a free version available. See

wxPython and Boa is what you want (1)

fxj (267709) | more than 13 years ago | (#163117)

try the Boa-Constructor this one really rules ! python is the best language for RAD anyway and together with the wxWindows toolkit it is perfect.

Delphi is dead don't waste your time. (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 13 years ago | (#163118)

Sad fact is is that there isn't an environment like you describe. The closest thing is probably Java, but one has to wonder about its longetivity as well. Hate to say it, because their should be an alternative, but you should probably start learning C++.

Re:On Forte for Java. (2)

micje (302653) | more than 13 years ago | (#163122)

I would say that JBuilder is definitely a serious competitor to Forte. They have a free edition which is not too bad, and they also have a professional and enterprise edition which have lots of useful features. JBuilder was voted best IDE on the JavaOne conference last week. You need at leas 256MB though...

There's also NetBeans, which is based on Forte (or the other way around), and which is open source.

By the way, if you're a VB developer, why not move to .NET? Then you can easily switch between different languages like VB, C# and Eiffel# (and there are more languages coming up).

Many, many choices... (1)

shic (309152) | more than 13 years ago | (#163128)

This is quite a strange question, in so far as I'd argue that it misses the point, but maybe it just sounds strange from my perspective. Any "expert programmer" should be quite able to make the conceptual leap to adopt whatever programming language is most appropriate for the task at hand, and the wider the experience of the programmer, the more effective (s)he becomes at solving new problems.

That said, as a matter of professional interest, C/C++ is a serious option as far as computationally demanding applications are concerned (e.g. server side work, systems programming, medium scale embedded systems etc.) - This is likely to be particularly valuable as it is within this paradigm that a vast quantity of existing software has been written, but IMHO anyone deciding to use C/C++ to write GUIs these days require their head examining. As mentioned in previous posts, Java is a serious player in the marketplace, and I was very impressed with Jbuilder 4.0 [] , the least comprehensive version of which is freely available. C# has also been mentioned, and while I feel this development is not without merit, I am concerned that its proprietary status may draw programmers into the same "dead ends" as VB. Python, to me, falls into the same basket as TCL/TK did several years ago - a scripting language which is not directly comparable with the other suggestions here.

If this post is asking about "cool" languages to try out, you could go much further astray than to consider ML, [] (an established and capable functional language) or maybe Smalltalk [] There are a whole host of alternatives out there, and it's silly to pick your language before you pick your problem.

Well... (2)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 13 years ago | (#163135)

He could look at GnuVB
It's not ready for prime time yet, unfortantely.

You might get a chuckle or two here, BTW.

Personally, I think that moving from VB to Delphi or Java shouldn't be too hard for an experiance programmer.


Two witches watch two watches.

Re:Well... (2)

Ayende Rahien (309542) | more than 13 years ago | (#163136)

Forgot to post as HTML.

Here the the GnuVB site:

Here is the chuckle inducing site:


Two witches watch two watches.

Re:um. (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 13 years ago | (#163141)

Wrong, an expert programmer is one who uses a variety of tools to efficiently complete a required job. No matter how much you despise VB you must admit that sometimes it is the best tool for the job.

Where do you go after Visual Basic? (5)

blang (450736) | more than 13 years ago | (#163157)

  • Purgatory?
  • Deprogramming?
  • VBA (Visual Basic Anonymous)?
  • Crack cocaine?
  • Kindergarten?

Re:Free pascal Delphi clone (2)

Slashdot Editors (454325) | more than 13 years ago | (#163158)

Rather than using Kylix / Delphi, consider the Free Pascal based Lazarus project. And, Lazarus and Free Pascal are open source (they use a slightly modified GPL) so they include full source code! Plus, Free Pascal actually has Delphi and Borland/Turbo Pascal compatibility, so if you are already familiar with the standard libraries and "dialectal" quirks of those compailers, you're all set! Even better, Free Pascal comes with a reasonably complete port of GTK+!! I've been a fan of Free Pascal for years, from back when it was called FPK Pascal... :)

On Forte for Java. (3)

IncarnationTwo (457191) | more than 13 years ago | (#163162)

Cons and pros, Of course most of these are generally on RAD tools, but these are what I have Learned by experience. (on the newest release by the forte page.)

Pro Forte:
1. Forte is pretty fast way of developing java applications that run on alla java enabled platforms. It can do all the java Swing and AWT functionalities and you can add new Beans to it if you reimplement Swing classes.
2. On basis of 1. Forte is exellent tool for creating installation tools, as they do not need too complicated java, and run on java VM. (sybase installers are coded on java2).
So this is where I see a chance to plot a linux world domination: If not so power user would have these easy and working installation/deinstallation wizards that would be similar to the other OS's ones, it could make the system more applicable... And admins of some software, like DBA:s etc. could teach them selves only one installation procedure for all platforms.
3. It is free for non commercial use. (Learning Java!)

Con Forte:
1. Forte is not too stable. In win2k (for my work) platform it crashes especially on debug mode.
2. As a java program it eats (if you let it) humongous amounts of memory in win2k (ok not as much as but 196megs is barely enough). There is nothing wrong with this if you use it at work and your employer pays the memory.
3. As so many other RAD tools, its settings are pure blather to a newbie. An after one year of using different versions of it I still do not know if there is a way to make generated code editable in editor and not in popup box 4. It does much of the Java classpath and package stuff automaticly, and therefore developer's often get stuck with them on the deployement phase. (as you no not have to set any of the classpath thins as they are as Forte overrides enviroment variables).

So I'd say its exelent RAD for Java for there is no real competition, to my knnowledge at least.

Go with Python (2)

Anomolous Cow Herd (457746) | more than 13 years ago | (#163163)

You should consider using the Python [] programming language, as it should be a pretty easy step from VB, and makes much more sense than Perl does. It should be pretty easy to make the OOP change, too, since the VB and Python OOP models are pretty similar.

Personally, I wouldn't recommend going with a closed source IDE or language, as you really won't get a language that is as fast or secure or constantly changing like an Open Source language is. On the plus side, however, Python comes with a rather nice IDE.

Linux languages similar to Visual Basic (1)

Omnivorous Cowbird (457986) | more than 13 years ago | (#163164)

GNU Basic [] ( for the goat wary)
Gnome Basic [] ( for the goat wary)
KBasic [] ( for the goat wary)

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