Friday, March 11, 2005

Thoughts on VB6, VB.NET and Developer Spite

A co-worker sent me a link to this article in eWeek. The article, entitled “Microsoft MVPs Say They Want Old VB Back,” discusses a petition that several MVPs have signed requesting Microsoft to reinstate support for Visual Basic 6.0.

When reading through the article, I thought it was interesting that many people seem to think that the migration from VB6 to VB.NET would be a smooth one. This is, of course folly and Microsoft is at fault. Microsoft built a Migration Wizard into Visual Studio .Net that sucks VB6 code in, fixes some syntax, and calls it VB.NET.

VB.NET and VB6 are completely different languages and a migration should never even be considered. Back when I was teaching Microsoft Official Curriculum classes on VB.NET, I always threw out the migration content and told students to not bother. If you have existing VB6 applications running and without problems, keep them. Build new applications on .NET, but leave those existing apps alone. When the time comes to replace the existing apps, then rebuild them in .NET.

I agree that Microsoft needs to some level of support for VB6, since there is so much code running on that platform. The article discusses a suggestion to create a VB.COM language that can be worked with in the Visual Studio.NET IDE. I like that idea. Much like C++, manage and unmanaged and both can be worked with in Visual Studio.

One other comment I’d like to make… Also in the email that my co-worker sent was a comment made by a well-known Fox Pro developer and author. I’ll paraphrase:

“.NET was created to make mediocre development teams more "productive". Good Fox Pro developers can and will continue to run rings around .NET developers in general.”

I don’t understand why developers feel so much spite for folks who develop in different languages. I work with several Fox Pro developers, and I have a great deal of respect for them and their work. I also respect those who write C++ code, Java code, and my fellow .NET developers. I don’t see the point in saying that just because a developer writes code in a particular language that they are any less productive than other developers. The quote above sounds like this person thinks all .NET developers are mediocre developers who are using the tool as a crutch.

The fact that the tool helps the developer so much is a good thing, in my opinion. When I was working on an InfoPath project last fall, I needed a Windows Service created that would automatically export data from SQL Server and create InfoPath forms from it. Is it bad that .NET gave me the tools to create this process in just a couple of hours? If I had spent a week building it in Fox Pro, would that have made me a better developer? I think my client, who was paying by the hour, was very happy with the way it turned out.

Some might think .NET was built for mediocre developers. I disagree. The beauty of .NET is that all the hard work has already been done and included in the Framework. That means I don’t have to do it, I can reuse it. That’s what we’re all after, right? Reuse, reuse, reuse.

1 comment:

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