Home > Computers and Internet > Getting Over VB6: Microsoft Right to Insist on Moving Forward

Getting Over VB6: Microsoft Right to Insist on Moving Forward

30-Mar-05 02:57 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Okay, I’m a .NET enthusiast – that much I’ll admit readily.  And I understand why those with large code and financial investment in VB6 might not want to burden themselves with potentially expensive changes in an existing technical infrastructure and retraining costs.  But there are savings with .NET and my gut is telling me there’s a lot more to be gained (both in money and time) through the code reuse and other major advantages added by .NET.  So why does a recent article by CNet’s News.com highlight complaints about Microsoft sticking to its guns on ending support for "Classic VB"?

As usual, CNet’s editorial line on Microsoft-anything is typically critical in tone, but they float the idea that since VB.NET is a completely differnet language, dumping VB6 is leaving those with existing investments in VB out in the cold.  It might feel that way, but change is present in technology – regardless of vendor.  It happens on the Java platform, it happens with database technologies all the time.  (And with a lot less complaint or tech media coverage.)  Just look at how much Java has changed in the last several years.  VB6 was launched in 1998 and it’s been there with full support for nearly 8 years.  Surely, it’s at the end ofa normal platform’s life cycle.  And there’s a huge amount of existing third-party support for the language if any IT manager wants to stick with it come hell or high water.

Besides, Microsoft has already bent over backwards to fight the stigma of not standing behind its products and force-march customers into upgrading.  It’s extended the deadline for mainstream (paid) support, and will allow incident credits on existing support contracts for an additional 2 years – all past thie original contractual commitments.  How much further do people expect from the company?  So once again, there doesn’t seem to be a coherent argument for Microsoft being uncommitted to supporting its products.

There is an argument for suggesting Microsoft should be making more incremental updates to development architectures.  The transition to .NET probably could have been a lot easier had a gradual migration taken place instead of an all-or-nothing approach and customer bleed away from MS offerings because of a "big upgrade" would likely be much less.  Addmitedly, that would have been difficult to do with .NET, but it might have been possible to introduce elements of .NET into the VB runtime earlier.  Frankly, I’d like to see something more along those lines – Java does it by updating and deprecating its class libraries over time and perhaps that means less bleed for them.  Certainly at any one point in time.

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Terry Glavin

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