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Developers still miss VB6

A couple of years ago I wrote a piece on why Visual Basic 6 was frozen.

The topic is still of interest, and some reason reddit.com picked this link up recently, so the article has thousands of new readers.

If nothing else, it proves that developers still miss the old Visual Basic. Perhaps not so surprising; as I pointed out, it once had a reasonable claim to be the most popular programming language. That would not be true now; C# seems to be more popular than VB.NET, certainly among professionals, and I suspect Java is the number one overall (though these things are hard to measure intelligently).

Would I write the same article today? More or less, though the arrival of Vista and Office 2007 would make me state more forcibly that neither COM nor the Win32 API is dead. I still think that maintaining old-style VB would not have been feasible for Microsoft, except like FoxPro as a legacy thing and sadly now a dead end.

It’s also worth noting that VBA lives on, even though Microsoft is focusing on VSTO in its place. Except on the Mac, which is another story.

PS: I’ve fixed the comment feature on the article, so you can now have your say.

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11 thoughts on “Developers still miss VB6”

  1. I wonder how many still use the old Visual C++ 6.0? Many of the customers I work for still use it today and have not found any reason to upgrade to .NET. And 6.0 was released in 1998!

    Are there any reasons to upgrade?

  2. I wonder how many still use the old Visual C++ 6.0?

    Actually I still use it for some things, because it is the easiest to deploy.

    Sure there are reasons to upgrade, the question is do they they outweigh the reasons not to upgrade ๐Ÿ™‚

    Tim

  3. If nothing else, it proves that developers still miss the old Visual Basic.

    I don’t know if reddit participation means developers “miss” VB6. I definitely would not read it this way.

    Given the kind of crowd that hangs out (or at least actively posts) it’s a bit like looking at train wreck. And a train that everyone is glad has wrecked anyway. I read the article myself despite being perfectly happy to avoid VB for the rest of my days.

    I just like reading VB articles on occasion that expose how insane the whole thing was in fairly mundane situations.

    Anyway, it’s just intuition and one anecdotal case: I read your article despite never having touched nor never wanting to touch VB.

  4. We still use VB6 where I work. We have a considerable amount of legacy apps that still need supporting and for which the pain of migration to .NET would be too much.

    I like VB6 because most off-the-shelf components are guaranteed to work with it. I like .NET because it’s flexible, pawerful and does certain things better, such as Internet communication and XML handling.

  5. I donโ€™t know if reddit participation means developers โ€œmissโ€ VB6. I definitely would not read it this way.

    Yes, I take the point. So I should say that developers are still interested in VB6 … whether or not they miss it.

    Tim

  6. It is the second time that MS does this. I am old enoght to know it. Basic Compiler (in fact all DOS) jumped into VB (Windows) where many of the programmer control over the computer was “filtered” via todays API. I still miss some of the BC resources. I have being a proffesional BASIC programmer since 1982, and I still do all my programming in VB6. I have intended to move to .net, RealBasic and all the dialects finding that VB6 is still the best, millions of pieces of source code make it invaluable. My question is… Is there a users right any were to create a GNU of “discarted” product used by houndreds of thousand programmers over the world? Can we, in any way take control over future versions, some how like LINUX? Perhaps developing a LINUX really compatible version.

    Santiago

  7. Can we, in any way take control over future versions, some how like LINUX? Perhaps developing a LINUX really compatible version.

    Nice idea, but Linux seems destined to remain product for running servers and really hasn’t achieved penetration into the desktop market, whereas VB was and seemingly always will be a client-targeted platform. The desktop adoption of Linux would drive the development of such a tool, not the other way around.

  8. VB architecture was really a shame. It was easy. Period. Its unexpected success among low-level developers hindered MS to kill it long before – eventually they were forced because that architecture could not survive another iteration. Those missing VB are those developers who were unable to switch to better languages and architectures.

  9. You should all check out Delphi 2007 native win32 support with the ease of VB 6. It really is as easy or easier to use than VB 6 and it has a Delphi .net version that you can use to easily target .net if you want.

  10. Snorkel: nothing is “easy as VB6”. VB6 developers don’t want a full featured OOP language, or they would have already switched to it – be it Delphi, Java, VB.Net or C#. They want to stick with their comfortable spaghetti code generator and OCX-only controls. They don’t want to mess with inheritance, and other “complex” stuff ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. all that “complex” stuff could have made your development process soooooo much easier. Trust me, it did for me. But I guess if you were writing strictly desktop apps, it might not have really mattered. You could have coded in spaghetti and OCX if you wanted… until you found out that… hey there is a better way!

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