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Tip of the Day
Language: Visual Basic
Expertise: Beginner
Oct 1, 1996

Getting Started

Question:
We have a big complete hospital system written in Clipper We had looked at VO, but that does not seem to be the way to go We will now concentrate on moving it to VB. A lot of work, but in effect we will have a fresh start. We have little skills in Windows programming so this will be new to us. What tools do you recommend that we purchase. To speed up our work. Also, what server should we use. In effect, what steps should we take to get started and orgainized.

Answer:
As you have probably seen, VB is 1) easy to learn, and 2) well supported by Microsoft and the Internet community. I'd first get VB 4.0 Enterprise, since it includes the SourceSafe tool. That helps teams manage work and not step on each others' toes. As far as custom controls, I wouldn't buy any until you figure out what all you want to do. You might want to take a look at a copy of VBAssist 4.0b from Sheridan. It has a lot of convenient tools you can use, but it takes a ton of memory now. It was better under VB 3.0, but I'm hooked on it for a lot of the features it has. That depends on how much data access you're going to do, as well as the machine/equipment you have. NT is a good choice (and about the only choice) for Intel-chip servers, and it is well integrated with SQL Server and many other databases. I'd avoid Oracle... they're a nightmare to deal with.

  1. Get the system design as finalized as you can before you start, obviously. It's mighty tough to hit a moving target, as I'm sure you know.
  2. Consider designing the system from an object-oriented point of view. It makes things easier to deal with. For instance, you think of a patient as an object and not a record in a table. There are several books on doing OO programming with VB. It's not "pure" OO, but it certainly helps you work with the business objects you have.
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