So Long VB6, and Thanks for all the Fish

7. April 2008 07:41 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

I may be a little late to the obituary, but VB6 support is finally, officially, irrefutably gone. The IDE, as stated in Microsoft's Product Life-Cycle guidelines, "... will no longer be supported starting March 2008". Even though VB6 (or Basic for that matter) didn't enjoy the best reputation as a programming language (best illustrated by the famous Edsger W. Dijkstra quote), you can't deny the huge influence it's had over the past 15 years. The easy-to-use paradigm followed by VB IDEs lent itself to be used by both amateur programmers, that caused many headaches during the years, and professional developers that were really able to harness the power and ease of use to create impressively robust solutions that are still running to this day.

So if you are thinking of moving away form VB6, obviously I'm going to steer you in the direction of the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion.  There is, however, another reason for this as well... pretty soon we are going to release a completely updated version 2.0 of the tool, which has some very interesting new features and does an incredible job of converting your VB6 code into the .NET language. Watch this space, as I will be writing about this new version soon!!

Upcoming VB Webcasts

5. March 2008 04:42 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

A quick post to let you all know that Beth Massi, Program Manager on the Visual Studio Community Team, will be doing a series of webcasts on Visual Basic 9. They will be mostly about the new features of VB9, including one about LINQ in VB that I am particularly interested in. Another one of them deals specifically with Visual Basic 6.0 to .NET migrations, called Live From Redmond: Migrating Your Visual Basic 6 Investments to .NET. If you haven't yet considered moving your VB6 application to the .NET Framework, this may be a good place to start. Remember that the end is near....

For more information on the webcasts, check out this post over at Beth's Blog.

Upgrade a VB6 Application Incrementally: The Interop Forms Toolkit

3. March 2008 00:19 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments (0)

In some migration projects you have to take an incremental approach. You just can't disappear with an application for a few months, and then come back with the application in the target language. Because of this, when we do migration projects, we try to divide the project in smaller milestones, so that developers can continue working on a certain module of the application, while another group migrates a different module.

It turns out that is you are migrating from Visual Basic 6.0 to the .NET Framework (using either Visual Basic.NET or C#), you can do even smaller steps. Microsoft offers the Microsoft Interop Forms Toolkit, a set of tools that you can use to run .NET forms and controls in VB6 applications. This Toolkit allows you to create an even less disruptive migration strategy, by creating an incremental upgrade process in which you can start out by moving some controls first, then some forms, and, before you know it, you'll have your applications running completely in .NET.

I realize this has been out for a while, but it is still worth mentioning, since there's tons of people out there that haven't moved from VB6 yet. This may give all of you some incentive to at least get started with the first incremental steps. :)

Opening Projects Migrated with the VB Upgrade Companion on Visual Studio 2008

30. January 2008 14:29 by Jaguilar in General  //  Tags: , , ,   //   Comments (0)

Now that Visual Studio 2008 is available, you might wonder what will happen with the Visual Studio 2005 projects generated with the current version of the VB Upgrade Companion (VBUC). For starters, it is worth mentioning that Visual Studio 2008 fully supports projects created in the .NET Framework 2.0, like the ones generated with the VBUC. The newer version of the .NET Framework (3.0, shipped with Vista, and 3.5, shipped with VS2008) keep the same core version of the CLR (2.0) as before, with very few minor changes. There are no compatibility or breaking changes like when upgrading from versions 1.1 to 2.0 of the .NET Framework.

When you open a VS2005 project in VS2008, you are greeted with the new Visual Studio Conversion Wizard:


Once you click Next, you can select whether to create a backup of the project or not. I chose to NOT create a backup, since this is a copy of the project, since I will be comparing both .csproj files later on. Press Next.


The next step tells you what will happen during the conversion:


Press Finish, and after a little while, the process will be complete:


You can check out the Conversion Report afterwards. For most projects, however, the reports should be in blank:


So there you have it. After converting this test VS2005 Windows Form application, I was able to continue working on it without any issues. It is true that the code generated by the VBUC will not take advantage of all the neat features of the .NET Framework 3.5, such as WPF, but you should be able to continue working with the migrated code after moving to Visual Studio 2008 without any problems.