VB Paradigm Shift

ver the last few months, the blogosphere has been waging a battle for continued development and support for VB6. This battle reached its crescendo a few weeks before Microsoft’s schedule to end mainstream VB6 support, currently March 31, 2005.

Microsoft re-affirmed that mainstream support would conclude in March, but because the VB run time ships with XP (and Longhorn) it would be supported on the platforms of the near and probably distant future.

So where does this leave the VB6 developer? It leaves them in the un-enviable position of rewriting their code. There is no clear migration path for moving VB6 code to VB.NET. Microsoft supplied some conversion tools, but in my experience these tools generally cause more problems than they solve. With large scale VB6 applications it is more efficient to rewrite the applications in whole.

So is the VB6 developer without a paddle? No. VB6 developers have a number of ways to preserve their code. The primary mechanism VB6 developers will use is COM/Interop, which gives VB6 and other developers the ability to re-use their investment in COM. Most COM objects play nicely in the .NET space using COM/Interop.

Another item VB6 developers will appreciate is the number of VB6 language features that have been preserved in VB.NET (with even more features that VB6 developers loved due when Visual Basic 2005 ships). This may sound trivial, but other .NET languages are generally not as “rich” as the VB.NET language.

Is the shift to VB.NET without pain? No. All endeavors worth undertaking have some kind of pain involved. In the software business it’s called the learning curve. This is the cost of doing business in our industry.

CoDe Turns 5
Now, on a lighter note … I remember the first time I saw a copy of CoDe Magazine (at a conference in Frankfurt Germany). Actually, what I saw was a magazine that would eventually become CoDe Magazine. The funny thing is that the only thing I could understand in the magazine was the code. You see, CoDe Magazine was originally called “Software Developer Magazine” and was published in German.

In 2000, the magazine had a name change and became Component Developer Magazine (we just call it CoDe for short). It has been a very eventful and challenging five years. Initially, CoDe Magazine focused on providing content for the Visual FoxPro developer. This tradition continued with our VFP 9 CoDe Focus edition published in 2004. Eventually we changed our focus to upcoming (now mainstream) technologies such as C#, VB.NET, and the .NET Framework.

There have been some hits and misses in CoDe Magazine. In general our focus on .NET technologies was right on, but we haven’t been without our real “bleeding edge” technologies. Can you say .NET My Services (Hailstorm) (CoDe Magazine, May/June2002) or Microsoft Passport? It was kinda funny when our headline article on .NET MyServices coincided with the cancellation of .NET My Services. Sometimes being on the bleeding edge can be hazardous.

So here’s some CoDe Magazine trivia for you.

  • First PAID subscriber: Rod Paddock (2001)
  • # of languages CoDe has been published in: 2
  • Continents where CoDe is created: 2, North America and Europe
  • Continents where our authors live: 5
  • Continents where our magazine is read: 7 (They have Internet access in Antarctica don’t they? )
  • First CoDe issue on newsstand: Mar/Apr 2002
  • www.code-magazine.com unique page views a month: 125,000
  • www.code-magazine.com unique visitors a month: 50,000
  • www.code-magazine.com dynamic hits a month: 1,000,000 (est)
  • Total articles printed: 327

CoDe Conference Season
The conference season is upon us and CoDeMagazine will be there to visit with readers and authors alike. Look for CoDe at the following conferences:

  • Tech-Ed, Orlando, FL June 5-10, 2005
  • Dev Teach, Montreal, QB Canada June 18-22, 2005
  • PDC, Los Angeles, CA Sept. 13-16, 2005

As always, we look forward to seeing you.

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