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Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the feet-first dept.

169

Graeme Williams writes "The tag line for Visual Basic Jumpstart is, 'Make Your Move Now from VB 6 to VB 2005', but the book also includes introductory and summary material rather than staying focused on VB 6 users. The book has a few good examples and some useful information about Visual Basic 2005, but the information, including links to the Internet, doesn't seem complete or up-to-date. This book isn't the help you need." Read the rest of Graeme's review.

My current (small) applications are in Access and Visual Basic for Applications rather than VB 6, but with that caveat I'm part of the audience for this book, since I'm actively considering moving them to Visual Basic 2005. I want to like this book more than I do. Part of my confusion is that all of the chapters are useful, but I don't think they're useful to the same people.

I have no idea who the audience is for Chapter 2, "Programming with Visual Basic". Some of the information is useful and relevant, with specifics on differences between VB6 and VB2005, but some of it just seems plain silly: "Just as in VB 6, in VB 2005, you make decisions using the If-Then-Else construct". The wording is sometimes odd, too. The fact that parentheses in function calls are now mandatory in VB 2005 is explained backwards: "VB 6 Tip: In VB 6, you can call the PrintMessage subroutine without using parentheses to enclose the parameter list." The chapter could have been collapsed into a very clear and not very large table giving the differences between VB 6 and VB 2005.

In VB 2005, Microsoft has introduced a new bag of functions under the My. namespace. It's not a very big bag – it feels like the product manager wrote down the first four or five functions he thought of. For example, My.Computer.Network contains just five elements: IsAvailable, DownloadFile, UploadFile, Ping, and the NetworkAvailabilityChanged event. Jumpstart describes it as " ... one of the most useful and unique additions to VB 2005 ... The aim of the My namespace is to provide direct access to commonly used libraries in the .NET framework that were previously difficult to access." I'm sorry, that just sounds too much like a press release.

If you're really interested in the status of a network interface, for example, you need to look in the 30+ classes in the System.Net.NetworkInformation namespace. But this is not included in the list of "some other useful namespaces in the .NET framework" (p61). Also, Example 4-3 (p117) uses the System.Net.HttpWebRequest and System.Net.HttpWebResponse classes to download an image, not any of the classes mentioned in Chapter 3.

On the face of it, Chapter 3, "Putting Object-Oriented Programming to Work", provides a very clear and thorough introduction to the object-oriented programming constructs in VB 2005. Unfortunately, it's not complete. Microsoft has a summary of "Object-Oriented Programming for Visual Basic 6.0 Users" which points out that the Binary Compatibility option from VB6 is no longer supported in VB 2005, but this is not mentioned in Jumpstart.

If you're moving from VB6 to VB2005, you're also moving to NET 2.0, but the book has only the most cursory introduction to NET 2.0. Part of the problem is that the book needs to be either more or less reliant on online information. If it was less reliant on online information, it would be more useful as a stand-alone resource. If it was more thoroughly linked to the estimable resources at Microsoft.com, it would be more complete and up-to-date.

Jumpstart mentions two MSDN Help Topics: "Programming Element Support Changes Summary" and "Help for Visual Basic 6.0 Users". The former is very useful, perhaps more useful than found in this book, although it's organized in MSDN's one fact per page style. The latter can only be found via Google, since it is now part of MSDN2, the "new MSDN" for Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005. MSDN2 is not mentioned in the book, nor is VBRun, the Visual Basic 6.0 Resource Center, which has a boatload of information on moving to VB 2005.

The database application in Chapter 4, "Developing a Windows Application" is useful and clearly presented. It's a nice example of the new SplitContainer control. But it's no better than examples in other introductions to Visual Basic, and it's a little hard to see how it's suited to the stated purpose of this book – of introducing developers with an existing Visual Basic 6 code base to Visual Basic 2005.

The term "jumpstart" cuts both ways. The goal of the book is to give VB6 programmers a rapid introduction to Visual Basic 2005. But the book itself was published rapidly – before Visual Basic 2005 was released – and some of that speed shows. On page 126, Jumpstart instructs you how to configure Windows XP to run IIS, but on page 139 points out that this isn't possible in XP Home.

Chapter 5, "Building Web Applications", explains that Visual Studio includes its own web server, so you don't need to run IIS, but the fact that Visual Basic 2005 Express doesn't include this feature is mentioned only in the preface (page xi). To provide IIS, you need either Windows XP Professional, or Visual Studio Standard or above, or Visual Web Developer 2005 Express. Wouldn't it make sense to explain the various combinations of operating systems and Visual Studio editions in one place, at the beginning of the chapter where they're relevant?

I'm not an ASP programmer, but I feel as though the 35 pages devoted to ASP probably aren't enough to give the topic a decent introduction, which perhaps deserves a separate book. For example, authentication is covered in just three short paragraphs. The 35 pages could have been devoted to something more central to the topic, such as more details on .NET 2.0. Obviously, there are other books on .NET 2.0, but while you can use Visual Basic 2005 without ASP, you can't use it without .NET 2.0.

If we take the book's tagline seriously, Chapter 6, "Moving from VB 6 to to VB 2005", should be the core of book, but it seems like more of an afterthought. Much of the content is from Artinsoft. Rather than reading about about it third-hand in this book, or second-hand on MSDN, I recommend you go to the the Artinsoft web site, where they have plenty of information for download.

It's hard to put a numerical rating on a book like this, which doesn't seem focused or particularly thorough, but still contains a lot of useful information. The book could have been better if it had been linked more systematically to Microsoft's online resources. It might have seemed better if the audience had been clearer. A rating of 5 ("Neither terrible nor terribly good") seems about right. By all means buy the book if you think it will be worth the money to have the information and examples in book form. Just don't expect too much."


You can purchase Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page

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169 comments

VB? (0, Flamebait)

guyfromindia (812078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859611)

You jump "startled" me :)

Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (3, Insightful)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859635)

VB.Net is syntactically a lot different from classic VB. If you're going to make the switch, you might as well learn C#. Then you will also be familiar with C/C++ style coding.

Ditch the Dim!

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (2, Funny)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859668)

Public Main (e EventArgs) {
Stupid Microsoft = new stupid();
Stupid.GoBankruptIn = 100;
Stupid.Start();
}
Public On_Bankrupt (e EventArgs) {
Linux Ubuntu = new Linux();
Linux.DominatePlanet();
}
//The domination of Linux written in C#

Debugged version (0)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859706)

Public Main (e EventArgs) {
Stupid Microsoft = new stupid();
Microsoft.GoBankruptIn = 100;
Microsoft.Start();
}
Public On_Bankrupt (e EventArgs) {
Linux Ubuntu = new Linux();
Ubutnu.DominatePlanet();
}

There, now maybe Linux can dominate the world.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859707)

Stupid Microsoft = new stupid(); Stupid.GoBankruptIn = 100; Stupid.Start();

Shouldn't that be:

Stupid Microsoft = new stupid();
Microsoft.GoBankruptIn = 100;
Microsoft.Start();

Also:

Linux Ubuntu = new Linux();
Ubuntu.DominatePlanet();

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859717)

Yeah, I messed up, my /coding skills are sucking recently.

Your sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859939)

Put in a space before the / in your sig, otherwise rm won't work.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

MioTheGreat (926975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860782)

That isn't C#. That isn't C# at all... It's like a horrible mix of VB, C#, and who knows what. //Now this.... public static void main() { stupid microsoft = new stupid(); microsoft.Bankrupt = new EventHandler(on_Bankrupt); microsoft.GoBankruptIn = 100; microsoft.Start(); Application.Run(); } public void on_Bankrupt(object sender, EventArgs e) { linux Ubutunu = new linux(); linux.DominatePlanet(); (sender as stupid).Dispose(); } There we go.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859677)

I agree. I just started in C# because a colleague had a large base of code we needed in the language already. It is actually quite a nice language. The most painful part was installing Windows for the first time in years.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859839)

mono

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860019)

mono is a joke
I spit on mono.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

Helios1182 (629010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860040)

I'm looking into it. It is a rather small project, possibly with huge ramifications if it works, so a simple solution is best. And I got XP SP2 & Visual Studio 2005 for free with the right academic license .

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859842)

I disagree. With VB.Net, there's _zero_ reason to switch to C# - since thanks to the CLR the languages are just as powerful; with VB having a slightly more agile syntax. For the grandparent's opinion about becoming familiar with C/C++ -- learn C or C++ to augment your VB.

Personally, I think C# and Java (which I've invested almost a decade learning/using) are pretty much never the best solution anymore. Anything I can do in Java I can do better with a mix of Python (or Ruby) and C. Java (and C#) are mediocre compromises of languages that aren't as well suited for high-level programming as Python; not as good at OO as Ruby/Lisp; and not as good for low-level tasks as C. IMHO the only reason they're used is when a middle-manager wants to force a single-language-for-everything because Sun or Microsoft took him to lunch.

Use the right tool for the job.

In the windows world, I'd recommend VB + C++.
In the *nix world, I'd recommend Python + C.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859921)

I disagree. Either vb.net or c# are virtually the same thing. If you've learned one you can pick up the other in a few days pretty easily. Remember the vb.net to c#.net conversion software works pretty well. If a computer can convert it that easily then it's also pretty easy for a person to learn the other.

The main reasons to learn C# over vb.net is that the samples available are usually written in C#, and the jobs available usually have a snobby attitude that C# developers are somehow superior because it says C* in the name of the language, so it must be WAY betterer right?!? Therefore, C# jobs pay more and seem to be more abundant. Even though its the exact same stuff with the names changed to protect the innocent.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859947)

Damn, I hit reply on the wrong thread.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

GoatMonkey2112 (875417) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860763)

Now that's funny. My comment actually applies to this thread too.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (2, Funny)

RandoX (828285) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859950)

If a computer can convert it that easily then it's also pretty easy for a person to learn the other.

The computer converts source code to binary pretty easily, too.

mod parent UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859935)

i'd do it but here i am without mod points

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860017)

How the heck is it agile? Wordy syntax makes it agile? Having to call a function to cast objects makes it agile? No ternery operator? Errors constantly missed by the compiler?
Please enlighten me!

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860618)

While c# and vb.net compile to the same language CLR, and they both have access to the same framework, VB.NET is considered more RAD (rapid application development) because certain functions can be written with less code then c#, the downside is that you get less control of your objects,variables, whatever. In c# you get more control but will have to write more code. IMHO.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859869)

I second that!
And I even third that (if that makes sense) ;D !

But I wonder: is there a /. reader who admits he is coding in VisualBasic, and for whom it makes sense to read such a book review?

angel'o'sphere

(P.S. I regullary don't admit I program in C# .... and the actual project is my first and hopefully my last C# project, never saw so much stupidity on one place concentrated)

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860284)

..what kind of stupidity? Blanket statements like that don't help anyone.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (2, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859898)

I disagree. VB.Net is symanticly very similar to VB6. Almost identical. Vb.Net is Object Oriented, and it's design considerations are vastly different from VB6. The problem most VB6 developers run into is that they know the syntax and they expect it to work a specific way. What I tell most people who talk about learning VB.Net is to take a Java or C# class, becuase they are both OO languages that will remove the expectations you have from knowing the syntax. Once you can wrap your head around OO design, jump back to VB.Net and things will make much more sence.

-Rick

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859963)

My main problem is that the vb.net is compiled into c# and then into runtime. Even with the most stringent compiling I find many programming mistakes are not picked up by the compiler. It makes problem solving a real chore, not to mention vb syntax is hideous.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860244)

VB.Net is not compiled to C#. VB.Net (and C#) are both compiled to CLR, then compiled to Native at the first run on the actual machine.

The only problems I have found with programming mistakes not being picked up by the compiler are late binding issues where elements are access by string/integer identifiers and the debugger picks those up as expected. I mean, the compiler doesn't know that my database has a table with a column names "Value1" at compile time, so If I fat finger "Valeu1" into an identifier, the Compiler has no way of validating that. I'm sorry you feel the VB syntax is so bad, but it is the most popular syntax in the world (or at least was, it has been a few years since I say the world wide estimates)

-Rick

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860344)

At least when I was using it a few years ago when I would write a function the compiler wouldn't pick up if I forgot to return a value. It is a common mistake for me and very frustrating when a function returns null and it 'should' be impossible. Yes, the syntax is very popular in a Britney Spears kind of way.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860396)

By default (only God and Bill Gates know why) option explicit and strict are turned off. With them off you can get away with sloppy things like not returning values. With them turned on the compiler will spit out an error.

-Rick

I LOVE it !!! (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860631)

That's the perfect way to put it. . . "VB syntax is very popular in a Britney Spears kind of way."

Brilliant! It appeals to a self-taught programmer's basic instincts to feel comfortable with an English-like language. But like everything in life, it comes with trade-offs.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (2, Interesting)

Unnngh! (731758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860456)

I think the main reason that vb.net is so popular is due to the hordes of vb6 programmers who are moving to .NET. There is a technet article (can't find the url now) about how MS documentation is moving more towards vb.net-only code examples. The company found that a) there are way more vb.net programmers than c# programmers and b) c# programmers are more likely to be willing to look at and understand vb.net code than the other way around.

I cannot see that vb syntax, for someone coming in with no prior experience, would be better than c# syntax. VB.NET has more than twice the number of reserved words than C#, with no added functionality that I have been able to tell. The "Basic" in Visual Basic has long since been obliterated.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (2, Insightful)

moe.ron (953702) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860844)

The company found that a) there are way more vb.net programmers than c# programmers ...bell curve with C# > VB, there, I said it and b) c# programmers are more likely to be willing to look at and understand vb.net code than the other way around. ...more likely to understand the basic core programming concepts in most languages? Or less dependant on Microsoft's lame and over-simplified code examples to learn how to use their API's? Ok, I am biased towards C#, so what?

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859992)

Here is a nickel kid, buy yourself a dictionary. [m-w.com]

symanticly => semantically
it's => its
becuase => because
sence => sense

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860673)

What use is a dictionary if you cannot spell? How the hell as you supposed to find anything in a dictionary if you don't know how to spell it?

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860871)

as => are

Good point. I'd just give up if I were you.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

EraserMouseMan (847479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860236)

Wow so, attend a real OO class to learn a real OO language (C# or Java). Then go back to the old VB syntax just so you're back in your comfort zone? It's much better to go totally OO. Not OO-ified VB. It's just weird man, just weird.

I used to do significant projects in classic VB. Now I use C# and cringe anytime I see people doing VB.Net. It's just so unnatural. It's like restoring a classic car's engine without restoring the body. It's never going to win anything at a classic car show. People will look at it and say, "What's up with that ugly old car?" Yea but it's got a new engine!! It still looks like the same old rusted out car though.

If you're going to go OO, pick the appropriate langage too. I know a company doing RPG.Net. How absurd is that?!?!?!?!?

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860363)

"Wow so, attend a real OO class to learn a real OO language (C# or Java). Then go back to the old VB syntax just so you're back in your comfort zone?"

Uhh, Vb.Net IS real OO. VB6 is not. And why should you make developers learn an entirely new syntax when they are already proficient in one? Especially in a system like .Net where compiling different syntaxes is trivial. VB, Java, C#, PHP, you can do it all in .Net! The whole point was that you could use what ever language syntax you are familiar with and use the framework to its fullest.

As for C# dominating the mainstream over VB.Net? Do some google searches: "VB.Net Samples" results in 5.96m results, "C# Samples" results in 4.75m. VB.Net and C# both max Monster.com's job search out at 1000 results. So whether you like it or not, it is hardly a second class language.

-Rick

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860704)

"Vb.Net IS real OO. VB6 is not."

That's odd, I thought there was some restriction on extending base objects because they are basically wrappers around Windows API.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (2, Informative)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861080)

Nope, VB.Net is just a syntax option for coding in CLR. Just like C#, J# and PHP.Net

-Rick

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861363)

Exactly, which is why I wonder why go to VB.Net at all. If you're making the switch to .net you might as well go to c#. All the things that made the VB 6 quick and easy are gone or have been migrated to c# in addtion to VB.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860756)

Is that real search results or just something you pulled off the top of your head, because as of today the stats for the UK are:
vb.net : 139 [monster.co.uk]
C# 449 [monster.co.uk]
Java 770 [monster.co.uk]

Sorry, I'm American (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861168)

I searched Monster.Com for all jobs, I didn't limited to geographic scope because there are hot spots for both languages. My home town for example, the UW Madison CS degree focuses heavily on Java, so we have an absurdly large number of skilled Java developers in the area, which in turn leads to a lot of Java based work. But the head hunters I've been talking to recently say that the Java market is much tighter in Chicago while .Net is on fire.

-Rick

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

helix400 (558178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860258)

VB.Net is syntactically a lot different from classic VB. If you're going to make the switch, you might as well learn C#. Then you will also be familiar with C/C++ style coding.

I disagree. If you have a VB 6 project with hundreds of thousands of lines of code, and the code is clean enough, then you can use a code converter utility to move almost all of your code to VB.NET. In most business environments, it is much better to be quickly up and running on VB.NET, than it is to rewrite hundreds of thousands of lines in C#.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

I_Want_This_ID (678839) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861225)

It's also those same environments that don't give a damn about getting it right as long as they can get it fast. I shouldn't complain, a significant portion of my livlihood comes from quickly made excel/access/VB solutions the business created

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860397)

Uh, no. VB and VB.NET have similar syntax. They are different only because of the .NET framework. If you learn c# you will NOT know c/c++ they are NOT similar. Java and c# have similar syntax. If you are trying to get a com object to work, you have to put a wrapper on it. .NET compiles com+, which VB6,VFP cant interop with, so you have to add a com wrapper, which is simply clicking a checkbox. Now, trying to put a com object into a .NET app is not so fun, but if you know the language, you can build your own com+ objects that will work with legacy VB apps. There are a ton of articles on this subject, look up com+ of .NET remoting, good stuff if you're interested in N-Tier solutions.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860569)

If your going to suggest learning C# then you may as well suggest switching to Java because .
1: It makes Javascript easier.
2: It makes c# easier
3: It makes C/C++ style coding easier.
4: You are no longer locked into a single vendor on a single platform.

Oh and it's free or you can pay for JRockit, and the IDE (Eclipse) is free, or you can use JBuilder foundation or pay for a better version of JBuilder or even maybe a Microsoft product etc....

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860919)

1) How?

2) ok, i went from java to c#, so yes learning or knowing java will make c# easier, at least the syntax but you still have to learn the framework.

3) How?

4) You're not with c# either, mono, borland, if you're real good any text editor.

But in terms of saving money going from VB6 to vb.net is your best bet. IMHO.

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (1)

oliverthered (187439) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861344)

1) The syntax is similar (point of the original post)
3) See #1
4) Mono doesn't support everything that .net does, J2EE (everything Java does) is supported on may platforms and JBOSS and Tomcat support EJB and JSP as do many other proprietary vendors.

Java has a hell of a lot less (if any) lockin.

Also, does MONO support recient version of .net?

Re:Don't switch to VB.Net - Switch to C# (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14861015)

That's just not true. It's one of those urban myths that gets built up and up.

There are minor syntactic differences, certainly nothing on the same scale as switching to C#

Sounds like R. Shamms Mortier's MO for authoring. (2, Interesting)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859639)

Pick a subject you learned yourself hastily, then find a publisher known for editors unfamiliar enough with your subject to accept it as gospel because the manuscript is long and *looks* intelligent.

Look up Amazon reviews of Mortier's books on 3D design applications and you'll see almost the same reviews as above.

How about "why"? (3, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859646)

I think that the book should start off by trying to explain to me WHY I should move from VB6 to VB2005. From everything I've read, there's little reason to make the jump. I've got probably a dozen, working, mission-critical VB6 apps right now, and I just don't see the point.

Re:How about "why"? (2, Funny)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859714)

There's your problem. "Mission Critical" and "VB" in the same sentence.

Alarms sound, red lights flash.

Re:How about "why"? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859731)

Don't mess with 'em, DogDude! It's just too dangerous!

My dog's wiping his ass on my carpet!

I must help you, but my MISSION CRITICAL cash register JUST BLUE SCREENED! Oh no! Why did we upgrade? How will we now make this sale of MISSION CRITICAL deworming medicine?!


Best stick with what works. You're just too damned important to risk upgrading your little VB scripts.

Re:How about "why"? (2, Informative)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859768)

I considered making the jump. I jumped back.

Basically the .net libs are not nearly as nice as I had expected them to be. Many are surprisingly simplistic. The whole forms/dataset system really feels like a lashup to me. These will improve, I'm sure, but the paucity of 3rd party solutions and the general whimpyness as-supplied made my trivially simple project a lot of work.

But to add to the frustration, I use an external COM plugin for data gathering. Trying to get this working with .net was nightmareish. The documentation from MS is simply way too vague, and doesn't offer even remotely enough examples. I had to hunt all over and talk to people on the 'net to try to get it working, and when it didn't you get a completely generic result.

But the worst problem is that .net is still very much a bolt-on to Windoes. When you load the system, .net does not load. In fact, many of the machines in the office didn't even have it installed. What this means is that when you start your (my) 32k compiled app, it takes about 15-20 seconds for the libs to load up. That doesn't work well for my application, which runs for less than 5 seconds and then exits.

I'll be sticking with VB6. I see no compelling reason to change.

Re:How about "why"? (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859930)

Thanks for the good info. That's some of the first real feedback I've gotten about it. I definitely use all kinds of 3rd party COM objects, and if they're not going to plug in seamlessly, then I'm already losing time/money. And if .NET objects are *easier*, then there's really no need. I've never really run into any problems with the plain ol' vanilla OLE DB stuff except for vendor-supplied drivers (I found one from Oracle where they switched the order of parameters in some important functions that contradicted the documentation). Thanks for the info. It sounds like there's no real reason to make the jump.

Re:How about "why"? (1)

Val314 (219766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860049)

>I'll be sticking with VB6. I see no compelling reason to change.

this may not matter to you, but VB6 isnt supported by MS anymore. (or will be soon?)

i'm doing my work now with C# (2005 Edition) and most likely will never go back to VB5/6

Re:How about "why"? (2, Informative)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860628)

And for a long List [google.com] of reasons for and against switching, Here, HAND. Enjoy the reading.

what a bunch of FUD (0, Flamebait)

dnaumov (453672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860422)

"But the worst problem is that .net is still very much a bolt-on to Windoes. When you load the system, .net does not load. In fact, many of the machines in the office didn't even have it installed. What this means is that when you start your (my) 32k compiled app, it takes about 15-20 seconds for the libs to load up."

What a ridiculous bunch of FUD. What machines are you using, Pentium 166 ? My machine is rather dated by today's standards, a 1 Ghz Athlon with 512mb or ram and all the .NET apps I have run so far start up in 1-4 seconds.

OMG what are you doing? 20 seconds?!!! (1)

Tominva1045 (587712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860764)

(my) 32k compiled app, it takes about 15-20 seconds for the libs to load up.


We've written two VB.Net applications- one about 15,000 lines and another abour 35,000 lines and the larger one even allocates a 3,000,000 long integer hash table.

On the 1GB Ram/2.7Ghz machine neither takes more than 4 seconds to come up.

On a 256MB Ram/800Mhz laptop the larger one takes 20 seconds.

Is it the machine or is it the code?

Re:OMG what are you doing? 20 seconds?!!! (1)

Tlosk (761023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861145)

"Is it the machine or is it the code?"

As a software developer I just love telling my customers to buy a new computer so they can run the new version of my software that does the same thing as the old version. They never fail to applaud my programming and business acumen.

I develop in both, but when there's no compelling reason to use NET I continue to use VB6, there's a wider installed base of the runtimes and better resource use/performance.

Re:How about "why"? (2, Interesting)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861009)

What this means is that when you start your (my) 32k compiled app, it takes about 15-20 seconds for the libs to load up.

Which is the main complaint about Java. That it takes too long for the JVM to start up.

And from a post below:

all the .NET apps I have run so far start up in 1-4 seconds.

Which is my experience with Java.

Re:How about "why"? - Product Support (1)

yhamade (301078) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859933)

While this may not be a general concern for some developers, Microsoft has moved Visual Basic 6 out of "Mainstream Support" (as of 3/31/2005) and into "Extended Support". Extended support is set to end 3/31/2008. How does that affect you? If your application is working now, what's going to cause it to break? Well, it may not, but some companies (or individuals) have policies put in place as a CYA that you may not be able to develop using tools that are no longer supported by the vendor. It gives them someone to hold liable (read "blame") if something breaks.

Then again... you are using Visual Basic on a Windows platform...

(Queue the music as we wait for people to bash MS, VB, or Windows...)

Visual Basic Product Lifecycle: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/?sor t=PN&alpha=Visual+Basic [microsoft.com]

Re:How about "why"? (1)

moofmonkey (741160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860151)

Because you're still hopelessly tied in to a steaming pile of hack-prone, virus-ridden shit called Windows. Now if you move to a .NET VB platform, the nice people at the Mono project have provided you with a solution which allows you to run on a decent operating system, providing your VB code doesn't reference a laundry-list of broken, insecure COM objects (in which case you should rewrite your code on a platform used by Real Men, like J2EE etc.)

At least with mono, you are able to regain some of your manliness by running your VB.NET code on an operating system in which you can't get Administrator privilege and run random code simply by looking at the wrong kind of image metafile.

Unless cleaning up after broken software and virus infestations is how you earn your $$$.

Re:How about "why"? (2, Interesting)

RobinH (124750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860728)

We use VB6 for some specialized tasks... basically a nice colorful user interface where we need the use of a PC to store some data. The actual mission critical stuff is usually performed by some underlying real time control system. In that respect, what vb6 gives us is a rapid GUI development that can do all the things that LabView and Citect can do but has a lot more user support on the internet, and can integrate better with everything else. It's a good fit.

Then we tried moving to VB .NET. I didn't have much problem with it since I have a hardware/software background, but most of the engineers around here are more focused on hardware and even though they "get" object oriented programming, see no need for it when all they want is a few pretty buttons on a screen for the user to start and stop some process.

The nice thing about VB6 was anything I wrote could be debugged by someone with a basic level of programming knowledge. The stuff we wrote in VB .NET was more cryptic, and took longer to write. Even the concept of references confuses some people. We've had a very hard time switching over.

Now if we only wrote desktop applications or shrinkwrapped software, I never would have suggested using VB6 in the first place, but for what we do, VB6 is a perfect fit, and VB .NET completely fails to fill that niche that we've been using it for (rapid GUI development). We've gone back to VB6 now, and we're keeping our eyes open for alternatives. ...and honestly, if we had to go to .NET, I'd rather switch to C#. I see no reason to have both VB .NET and C# .NET as separate languages - they're almost identical!

Re:How about "why"? (1)

emeshuris (938705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861336)

Hi, Wow. Let me know where I am wrong: 1. You and yours migrated from pascal or foxpro to vb6. 2. You never acquired formal education regarding a well designed application. Let me know how many lines of code it would take for you to create an xml file from a sql query which contains a few tables with relationships. You are exactly why MS and the developers that use their software are the brunt of most conversations here. Thanks!

This should be a subscription, not a book... (2, Funny)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859692)

...because at the rate Microsoft keeps coming up with new and incompatible versions of VB, it seems a foregone conclusion that by the time you absorb the book and have Made Your Move Now from VB 6 to VB 2005, it will be time to buy VB Jumpstart 2006: Make Your Move Now from VB 2005 to 2006, and then VB Jumpstart 2007, VB Jumpstart 2008, etc.

For the lucky author, it gives a new meaning to the phrase .NET profit.

Re:This should be a subscription, not a book... (1)

AlvySinger (900304) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859868)

What versions are these? What incompatibilities? VB6 to VB.Net, yes. But what else? If you mean 16-32 bit in VB4 that was a while ago. I'd call FUD but I might have missed something.

Re:This should be a subscription, not a book... (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860164)

VB5 was an incomplete implementation of 6... Things were broken from 4, DIFFERENTLY than they would be broken from 4 to 6. Further, things that worked in 5 did not work the same way in 6. With the jump from 6 to .NET, there was a post on google groups/deja about the vast list of things where the entire logical context changed. So YEAH, Every version change since 4.

Visual Fred (4, Insightful)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859715)

No such thing as a migration from VB6 to .NET. VB.NET is simply .NET with a VB-like syntax. Anything at all larger than a few lines is best rewritten from the beginning.

IMO, it's pointless to try to convert a VB6 program to .NET, it'll end up being a lot more effort than just writing it from scratch.

This is the risk you take when coding using closed tools. There's no more support for VB6, and no real migration path.

Re:Visual Fred (2, Insightful)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859969)

his is the risk you take when coding using closed tools. There's no more support for VB6, and no real migration path.

So, what's the problem, *exactly*? I hear OSS zealots saying this all of the time, but all of my VB6 apps still work just fine...

Re:Visual Fred (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860214)

all of my VB6 apps still work just fine...

A specific example for you.

MS stopped supporting MS Proxy server, but that was no problem, we just kept using it because it worked. Then last year shortly after I was hired, it just stopped working.

I tried to reinstall it, only to find it was installed under windowsNT4, and then the server was upgraded to windows2000. MS Proxy cannot be installed under windows2000, you would need the windows2000 version that never existed.

We have a linux based proxy server now.

Re:Visual Fred (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860670)

So why didn't you replicate the install chain?? For debugging purposes only of course.

Re:Visual Fred (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14861613)

Maybe you could have looked further than your nose is long, and seen that the upgrade is called ISA Server ?

Re:Visual Fred (1)

vadim_t (324782) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861099)

They work now. Nothing guarantees they'll continue working in Windows 2007 or whatever. MS can easily break say, something in ADO, and all the programs using it will be screwed.

Another pretty major thing is that there's no upgrade path. VB3 code worked with VB4, and so on until VB6. But not anymore. This is a deadend. Compare with C, invented in 1970 and compilers are still being developed. It works, so people happily continue using it.

This also means all 3rd party providers are switching to the new infrastructure, and since VB programming largely consists of stringing together 3rd party components, it means it's quite likely the programmer will run into a wall sooner or later.

Re:Visual Fred (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861598)

So, what's the problem, *exactly*? I hear OSS zealots saying this all of the time, but all of my VB6 apps still work just fine... Because they will slowly die, bit by bit. You may find weird errors using Vista or the next radically different OS pumped out by Microsoft. You many notice oddities under a 64 bit OS. There are lots of horrible possibilities. Also if your customers know your applications are in VB6, they may start to worry too.

VB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14859754)

"The venerial disease of languages."

VB book titles. (3, Funny)

funkmeister (783995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859967)

I love all the titles the VB authors use for their "insights" into this decrepit language. Like "VB Unleashed!" as if VB is some rabid animal, or "Hidden VB secrets" just dug up from King Tuts tomb.

I see a nice spot on my bookshelf for this book, beside my kids "Jumpstart Toddlers" CD's.

Re:VB book titles. (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860152)

Those titles you just mentioned are from book series that cover tons of different topics.

Unleashed is one of Sams' major series. 48 books total [samspublishing.com]

Re:VB book titles. (0, Troll)

caffeineHacker (689198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860242)

Thank you...I looked at the article just to see how long it would be till someone said that VB is for retards(And rightly so). Sadly, most of the top posts of people using VB for projects and dealing with incompatibilities. Really sad...

VB is a language for morons who can't be bothered to learn to code properly...period. No debate, no saving grace. VB is only in use in a professional environment today so management can hire the lowest rung of the IT totem pole in order to save money.

Mod me a troll if you want, but no-one on a Linux centered tech forum should care much about migrating from VB.

Re:VB book titles. (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861560)

I have about 2 feet worth of now obsolete VB5 and VB6 books. The best was definately "Hardcore Visual Basic" by Bruce McKinney!

VB to Python (4, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859979)

VB is the whipping boy of Microsoft. Every iteration changes the language in some crazy way. I started pre-VB, but for the VB line, I started at VB1.0. I've watched it "grow" (I perfer mutate) over the years. I now still do about 90% VB. But I have tired of the language changing every few years. I've fallen in love with Python. It is cross-platform and easier. The only thing needed is a good GUI. I prefer Qt, (which is GPL or commercial). The effort of supporting more than windows in one platform is trivial with python, which opens up the MacOSX market (and linux too.)

Even if you don't need crossplatform, Python has all that COM support and is highly integrated into the Windows OS. To me, it is worth my time to learn python because the languages changes very little. It also is 'cleaner'.

Ruby fans don't flame me. I know the two are close, but I can only recommend what I have used extensively.

VB anything stings my eyes (-1, Flamebait)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14859981)

Why do people use VB anything for anything? There are better IDEs for both Windoze and .NET made by M$ (C++,C#) and Borland (Delphi,C++,C#?). BASIC is a crappy language in the first place.

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (2, Insightful)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860007)

There are no crappy languages, but there are a lot of crappy programmers.

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860525)

Crappy programmers make crappy languages and thus we have VB.

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (1)

tehshen (794722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860835)

There are no crappy languages, but there are a lot of crappy programmers.

Sorry, what? There are too crappy languages. As an extreme example, let's see you code a web application in Brainfuck. It's hard to read, takes ages to write, and is a pain to set up. But it can't be the fault of the language, because there are no crappy languages, of course.

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (5, Insightful)

helix_r (134185) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860068)

Why do people use it?

Because it works. It is simple. It gets the job done fast.

It works most effectively for smallish one-off projects and, I admit, there are better tools to use for anything that requires a software engineering effort, but VB fills a lot of needs.

The "sister" language, VBA, is ideal for vendors who want to provide rich, user-accessible scripting interface to their hardware or software products.

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (2, Insightful)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860163)

Because vbscript works with excel, word, access - learning vb gets you to work with almost every microsoft product from asp server scripting to making vb6 windows applications to client side vbscript coding to office to scripting for other apps.

It gets the job done a lot of times coz you have 1 week to process this data or 1 week to make a quick system for the local auction.

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861070)

The problem comes when the intrepid young VB developer, flush with his previous VB success, hooks his Honda Civic up to the 18 wheel trailer and wonders why the clutch just blew out when his Honda encountered a "load". The main problem with VB is that it frequently does not scale up when the need arrisses and managers have a difficult time understanding why something that has worked fine for years begins having problems when the number of simultaneous users begins to move into the double digits. Try explaining to that same manager why that wonderful little VB application that was so fast and cheap to build suddenly needs to be scrapped because it cannot scale up. The non-technical person will have a very difficult time wrapping their brains around that problem, they usually assume that they can just "troubleshoot" and get the whole thing working for how ever many users and whatever new features they want to throw at it. When you see his eyes glaze over and he starts nodding his head and saying yeah, uh-huh, sure, and right then you know that you have reached this point.

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (1)

sl0cb (934707) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860305)

/NOD

Re:VB anything stings my eyes (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861417)

VB6 was great for data entry apps that backed up to mssql or access. It was easy to write, debug, and get working in general. The whole pick the tool to solve the problem type of thing...

Don't waste your time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14860020)

VB.NET and C# are basically equals in the .NET world and both are RAD, etc. You can develop just as quickly in C# as VB.NET. However VB.NET has no benefits outside of .NET whereas C# does. If you learn C# you can switch to C or C++ or Java easily (much easier than a VB programmer switching to one of those languages). VB is just MS whereas C# has a syntax used by many other languages. Do yourself a favour and ditch VB now and learn C#.

Learn VB is like learning a language that only one village uses when they also speak another language which almost the whole world speaks.

Well, that's off my Amazon Wishlist, but... (1)

shumacher (199043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860034)

I write in VB.NET 2005. I feel like it's all stagnant. The welcome page in the application hasn't updated since November, most code examples are referring to VB6, what little I can find on VB.NET 2005 is about the public beta, and recent posts to boards regarding the language reveals that many think the software is still in beta even though it was released about five months ago.

Clickonce deployment is one of the most exciting things I've seen in ages, but aside from a couple little exercises I wrote, I've only seen one application deploy with it. I love the idea of deploying trusted Windows apps in much the way Java is used today. Clickonce apps run in a sandbox. The Clickonce security handler needs help - if you run a program that tries to use permissions it hasn't asked declared needing, instead of prompting the user to approve the higher trust level (the behavior shown in the documentation) the Clickonce handler crashes!

Frankly, I'm tired of trying to find decent documentation. I have yet to get COM code that works - the samples on the site are pockmarked with errors. It seems like I'm almost working in a vacuum. I need a book that doesn't suck.

VB2005 - Top Language (1)

Toreo asesino (951231) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860428)

You know the 'beep' command works just as faithfully as it did, way back in the glory days of BASIC?

Yes, but better (or worse depending on how you look at it).....

"on error resume next" is still alive and kicking! w00t!

VB "Users" (1)

Tsugumi (553059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860458)

It's a trite comment, and it's the reviewers words, but it kinda sums it up:

the book also includes introductory and summary material rather than staying focused on VB 6 users

Users, not developers?

Sounds like a reasonable compendium (1)

jerryodom (904532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14860570)

One of those books you purchase just because you may stumble upon an explanation to a problem you're not finding in your more robust guides.

Save $5.23! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14861019)

Save yourself $5.23 by buying the book here: Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%!

Tried it (1)

vmcto (833771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861101)

Loved it, then hated it...

I did a large application long ago starting with VB 2.0 thru VB 6. That was an "interesting" progression with each version. As some have pointed out MS threw in some crazy changes along the way, but for the most part each version built on the previous version. The notable exception being the data libraries... DAO, RDO, ADO, etc... Each time re-inventing the wheel, but by version 6 with ADO it seemed like MS had hit upon a good compromise of power and accessibility.

Than came .Net... It wasn't that I was not receptive to all the really cool new OO and "advanced" capabilities (threading being a big one) it was the total lack of any "nod" toward the previous VB developers.

I remember being on the phone with a buddy from MS, after trying the .Net version of VB, telling him how I was never going to switch and the bagillion other VB programmers probably wouldn't either. He basically said that MS knew they had threw the VB coder base under the bus but didn't care much either way.

So I stayed away. I don't write a lot of code anymore and in the intervening period I've used a smidge of C, a bit of python (which I like a lot), a little Perl, and a decent amount of PHP.

Then came Visual Studio 2005 in the MSDN pack... I figured, what the heck. I had a little app that I had an itch to write and surmised that a clean start would be a good thing.

I loved it! The IDE is beautiful, it really is very nice to use. The controls provide a huge selection, the syntax is familiar enough to be comforting, and it just seemed to work. I was pleasantly suprised.

I then I tried to access some data. Not your run of the mill CRUD but some slightly advanced scenarios. I tried to fight my way through the new "datasource" wizard thingy and all the funky objects it creates.

I couldn't do it. It reminded me of Access in the ways that it makes incredibly simple things seem incredibly difficult. So I fought it for a few days trying to understand a sane approach to accessing data that would provide the sugary goodness of data bound controls with the clean simplicity of controlling the behind-the-scenes data access plumbing with code.

I failed miserably. On about the 4th day, I did something evil that Visual Studio didn't like. All of the sudden, my controls were gone from my main form. They had just disappeared. I still don't understand exactly what I did, but something made the IDE yak... No error messages, no warnings, just gone. I immediately deleted all my project files, including the svn archived versions that I could have went back to.

VB 6 gives me everything I need to build my little app, which is what I use VB for now anyway. For anything consequential we will continue to use LAMP, Java, or C++.

In the long run MS did me a favor by bitch slapping me away from their development tools and hence windows systems in general. I wonder how much that has to do with the fact that we run 80% linux boxes...

Hopefully a lot! :-)

Help you need (1)

Lucas.Langa (922843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861216)

If you use Visual Basic, this book is definitely not the help you need.

Don't Flush Your Investment Down the Loo Again! (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861239)

I work for a company whose main product is a VB6 app that has had hundreds of thousands of pounds invested in it over many years. When .Net came out we quickly realised there was no way to simply convert the code to VB.NET. The upgrade wizard is a joke. The only way to move to .NET is to do a rewrite, but we don't have the time or money to do that. I suspect many companies are in this position, but they don't want to make to much of a fuss as they do not want their customers to know about the problem. Even if we had £400,000 to invest in a rewrite, would it make sense to do in in C# or VB.NET? After all, what is to stop Microsoft from screwing us again? I find myself wishing we had written it in Java from the beginning. It would have been cross-platform and would not now require a re-write. Has anyone else out their been screwed in this way too? P.S. You can forget Mono, that will never be able to keep up with Microsoft's gargantuan changes, so that's not really a migration option if Microsoft decides to ever dump .NET.

MS abandoned VB6 coders since .NET (1)

Renne (323522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861271)

The product I'm working on for my job is a rather complex, real-time, client-server application written in VB for the most part. It has evolved for about 12 years and includes today about 3 million lines of code. Works great. Performance is unbelievable (positively) for a VB6 app.

While the transitions from VB4 to VB5 and later to VB6 had been relatively easy (upgrade GUI controls, recompile), migrating to VB.NET quickly proved to involve a great risk for an incredibly high cost. The migration wizard provided by MS was something to laugh - or cry - at, for example failing to upgrade most controls & components to their .NET successor and falling back to COM interop as soon as possible.

We have abandoned the migration option in favor of a progressive rewrite (in C#). There is no other viable option, from an economic point of view: our customers don't care at all about the technology on which the system is based, but they do care about new useful features being added to the system at regular (reasonably short) intervals.

Not so long ago, VB had replaced Cobol as the world's most used programming language (with C, C++ or Java far behind - this had been covered on /.). Given this, and no matter how superior the .NET platform was, I still find it really incredible that MS did not provide any decent solution for migrating the huge VB6 code base to the new technology.

Did I mention that VB6 became obsolete as soon as .NET appeared? No corrective or security updates any more. No such thing as a phasing out period.

Nowadays many people would say that it's the price of using a proprietary development environment (compiler) compared to an open source one. However probably no one would have dared sustain such an opinion when the development of our product started 12 years ago...

Some time ago I read someone's proposing an open-source VB6 compiler as an interesting project: has anybody heard something about that?

Re:MS abandoned VB6 coders since .NET (1)

MrSteveSD (801820) | more than 8 years ago | (#14861450)

I knew we weren't the only company in the same boat. I also find it unbelievable that they dumped VB6. Are we expected to spend £400,000 doing a rewrite that adds nothing, while our competitors with their java product continue to make improvements?

The tragedy is that the management is going with .NET for future work despite the fact we have been royally screwed by Microsoft. It's almost beyond belief. It's like finishing your Autobiography after 6 years only to be told that English is being discontinued in favour of Esperanto, and you'll have to start all over again.

What languages are the safest (in terms of longevity) and most practical to use for business development?

Java is still a bit proprietary, but seems a lot safer than any of Microsoft's languages.

Delphi is proprietary, but is still around after all these years, whereas VB has been killed off. Borland seems like a better choice if you are going to be locked into a proprietary language.

C++ is non-proprietary, but I don't want to be chasing memory leaks around forever.

As for all the scripting languages, Ruby, Python etc etc, I'm not sure they are a good idea for a big business development.

Any other options you would suggest?

As for open-source VB6, I doubt it. Microsoft would not allow it.
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