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Why Your Silverlight and VB6 Applications Are Ticking Time Bombs : Page 2

Your new Silverlight applications are as liable to "blow up" as your old legacy VB6 applications, argues this founder of a .NET tools company.


The Impending VB6 Bombshell

VB6, together with the users of its applications, looks to be the first major Win8 casualty looming, as it's almost certain that VB6 won't be supported beyond Windows 7. It has been extended repeatedly since 2005 and if it couldn't be embraced by .NET with an automatic migration tool, there doesn't seem much chance of a place for it in the HTML5/JavaScript/64-bit Win8 ecosystem.

Companies relying on VB6-based information systems -- by some estimations, around 15 billion lines of VB6 code are running in enterprises -- are those most in need of modernization to rich Internet applications. A number of hacks and workarounds will no doubt keep the VB6 runtime working under Win8 even without Microsoft's support, but the inability to further develop the VB6-based systems on the new operating system --at least not using current technologies or tools to support new or even some core Win8 capabilities -- makes this approach futile for line of business (LOB) applications.

Choosing a New Lease on Life Over Retirement

Given that Microsoft's declared Web client strategy is HTML5/JS and not a proprietary format, we can presume their future Web solution will be without WPF or Silverlight. Ideally this would be:

  • A server-centric architecture based on .NET
  • An HTML5/JS/Ajax framework as the presentation layer
  • Form-like development in Visual Studio
  • Very high virtualization of presentation layer and data binding
  • Available now on 32/64-bit Windows
  • 100% supported in Win8
  • Supplied with a powerful migration capability of current (legacy) systems to Web-based systems

Owners and developers of both client/server and Web-based LOB systems should be looking for ways to modernize their applications to a robust server-based Web architecture with an HTML5/JavaScript client. This way, they will ensure their systems are not running in an environment that might go up in smoke when the clock stops ticking.

Navot Peled is co-founder and president of Gizmox , makers of Visual WebGui, which provides a migration solution from legacy client/server applications to HTML5 Web, cloud and mobile deployments.
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