Visual Basic Upgrade Companion 3.0 Release Candidate available

A couple of days ago we made available the final release candidate for version 3.0 of both the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion Enterprise Edition and Developer Edition. You can now directly download a trial of the VBUC Developer Edition on the trial download page, or request a trial of the Enterprise Edition on this page.

I need to mention an obligatory disclaimer saying this is the final Release Candidate, so, unless we find something at the last minute, it should be the same version officially released within a week or so. We need your help to verify we won’t find anything by downloading it and trying it out. :)

I already covered some of the features of this version on a previous post. There was significant improvements in several areas from version 2.2, which should help you achieve even greater productivity on your migration projects.

Upcoming features in the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion version 3.0

We are currently wrapping up all development effort to focus on the final testing and stabilization of the next version of the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion, both Enterprise and Developer Editions, version 3.0. For this version we focused more on architecture improvements, preparing the code base for more significant upgrades in the future. We still we managed to add some great features such as:

  • Enhanced resolution of default properties: By both improving the typing engine of the VBUC and generating additional code for runtime resolution of default properties, we were able to reduce the total amount of EWIs present in the code by 30%!
  • Improved support for API Calls: Most API calls should now work correctly. There are still a couple of issues, but they should be sorted out by the final release
  • IsMissing migration: We now correctly support the migration of the IsMissing statement.
  • Enhanced support for the migration of common controls, such as Imagelist, Listview, Statusbar, Toolbar and Treeview, to native .NET components. We now correctly convert most functionality of these controls to .NET
  • A greatly enhanced Assessment Mode to better estimate the effort required to perform a migration project
  • Significant performance improvements and memory footprint
  • Over 150 code generation improvements based on feedback from projects we’ve done, our clients and partners

We are currently conducting a limited Beta program for the VBUC Developer Edition v3.0. If you are interested in participating, drop me a line and I’ll get back to you with further instructions.

Edit: The upcoming version of the VBUC will be version 3.0 - this release represents a leap in the level of automation and additional features we managed to squeeze in, and thus deserved a new major version number. I will post additional details on the different features as the final release date approaches.

Visual Basic Upgrade Companion DE Trial Download Now Available

A quick post to let you all know that we now have a trial available for download of the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion Developer Edition. To obtain the trial you need to fill in your information here, and we will email you the download link and the necessary licensing information to activate the trial.

The trial will allow you to migrate up to 2,000 lines of code simultaneously, and has a limit of 10,000 lines of code total – which means that every time you migrate some code, the amount of lines you migrated are discounted from the 10,000 total.

So don’t wait and download the VBUC DE trial now!

Remember that you can also request a trial for the Enterprise Edition of the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion at this page. You will need to run the Assessment Tool first, and based on the results we will send you a custom trial for a portion of your application.

VBUC vs. the Upgrade Wizard: A Short Recap on the Advantages of Using the Upgrade Companion

Because of some queries we’ve had in the past few days, I think it is time to revisit the differences between the Upgrade Wizard that ships with Visual Studio .NET (2003,2005 & 2008) and the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion (VBUC). The VBUC is a different product, with very different capabilities than the Upgrade Wizard. We have a detailed comparison over at the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion vs. Upgrade Wizard page, but here is a brief overview of the main differences:

  • C# Generation: The Visual Basic Upgrade Companion  is able  to generate C# directly  from  the Visual Basic 6.0 source code, as an alternative to Visual Basic .NET.
  • Structured Error Handling: The Visual Basic Upgrade Companion includes features to remove unstructured “spaghetti” code and replace it with structured flow control statements in .NET. All unused labels are removed from the  resulting code. Plus  the most commonly used  “On Error  ” patterns are currently  recognized and replaced by the tool. This is important for C# migrations, as it ONLY supports structured error handling.
  • .NET Native Libraries: Instead of upgrading VB6  code using  the Visual Basic Compatibility  Libraries  like  the Upgrade Wizard  does,  the  Visual Basic Upgrade Companion  promotes  the  use  of  .NET  native  libraries whenever possible.
  • Type Inference: The VBUC contains a typing system that accurately assigns correct .NET data types to existing VB6 variables, functions, fields, parameters, etc
  • Stub generation: To ease the compilation process, the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion generates an empty declaration (stub) in a stub-dedicated source code file and into the converted project for each library element which occurs in the original application and does not have an equivalent in .NET. All the references to these not-converted elements are translated into references to their corresponding stub declarations.  This strategy does not fully resolve the lack of .NET equivalent elements, since the stubs will require manual implementation, but, it saves an important amount of time during the manual changes stage.
  • Code quality enhancements: The VBUC generates higher quality code with more mature and exact transformations. These transformations include data  type enhancements and grammar pattern transformations and detailed code improvements. A detailed explanation of these transformations can be found on the VBUC vs. UW page.
  • Multi-Project Conversion: The Upgrade Wizard is able to convert one single VB6 project file (*.vbp) at a time. Hence, if the user wants to upgrade a complex VB6 application with this tool, several considerations must be taken in order to accomplish full functional equivalence. The Visual Basic Upgrade Companion allows the conversion of multiple Visual Basic 6.0 projects. It performs a separation between the pre-processing and migration stages in order to fix problems like the use of by-ref parameters, interfaces, renaming and typing among the different projects. The pre-processor environment solves the references among projects and simplifies the overall migration process.
  • .NET Enumerations: Another  important Visual Basic Upgrade Companion  feature, absent  in  the Upgrade Wizard,  is the replacement of numeric literals assigned to several control properties with .NET enumeration equivalents when  possible,  so  that  the  generated  Visual  Basic  .NET  code  is more  legible  and maintainable.
  • 3rd Party Library Extensibility*: The VBUC  can be customized to convert any third party library to its native .NET equivalent. It ships with support for several libraries out of the box, which are detailed in the VBUC vs. VBUW document.
  • Legacy Data Access to NET*: The  VBUC  upgrades  the  legacy  data  access  models  (ADO,  RDO,  DAO,  ADOR)  to  .NET equivalents,  employing  special  transformation  rules  and  helper  classes  (for  some  specific source/target combinations). On  the other hand,  the UW generates a  target application  that still uses  those  legacy  data  access  models  to  communicate  with  the  database  via  COM  Interop wrapper calls. 
  • Custom Maps*: The Visual Basic Upgrade Companion Custom Maps extensibility, allows the user to upgrade their non-supported libraries and controls using a simple set of user-defined transformations. 
  • User declarations advanced refactoring*: The Visual Basic Upgrade Companion manages all the user declarations to perform tasks such
    as using standard Naming Conventions for the .NET languages and recognizing conflictive user-declaration names to assign new denominations (including all of its references).These tasks improve the resulting source code readability and hasten the manual change stage.
  • COM class exposure*: When this optional feature is enabled, the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion will generate attributes for the COM-exposed classes and their members, in order to keep the resulting assemblies exposed through a COM interface. This enables the resulting components to be called from other non-managed components via COM.

Make sure you download the PDF on the  Visual Basic Upgrade Companion vs. Upgrade Wizard page for additional details. Items marked with * are ONLY available in the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion (VBUC), and are not available in the VBUC Developer Edition.

Calling all UK Developers: Take Advantage of this Joint Initiative to Move from VB6

Earlier this week we launched an joint initiative with Microsoft and Avanade in the UK for helping Visual Basic 6.0 developers move their applications to .NET. The initiative consists of several parts:

The initiative is UK-only at the time, but if you want to take advantage of these time-limited deals feel free to contact us. The press release for the campaign can be found here and at our website. Eric Nelson from Microsoft has been heavily involved - you can read his blog post on the initiative here.

The campaign has been well received so far. In the two days since launch, we already have several leads interested in both offerings!!

Get your Migration Fix for £199 While Supplies Last - Introducing the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion Developer Edition

Jointly with the Visual Basic 6.0 migration campaign we are launching in the UK, today we released the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion Developer Edition. This is a scaled down version of the Visual Basic Upgrade Companion, targeted at individual developers that want to migrate their Visual Basic 6.0 applications as fast and painlessly as possible. It has a license that is valid for three months and allows you to migrate an application of up to 50,000 lines of code.

The VBUC Developer Edition does have some fewer features than the fully-fledged Visual Basic Upgrade Companion. All the features that we decided to include in the Developer Edition, however, are targeted towards automating as much of the migration process as possible. So, we left out features that have been introduced by the request of our enterprise customers over the 7+ years the tool has been on the market (yep, we were already doing VB6 migrations before the official release of .NET - and it wasn't all fun with the Betas). We made it so that getting an application up and running in C# or VB.NET is as simple as possible.

Here you can see the VBUC Developer Edition in action (video recorded by yours truly :) ):

And, as an introductory offer, The VBUC Developer Edition will only cost £199 for a limited time. So why wait?