UK MSDN Flash went out with a great little article by my colleague Tim Sneath – copied here for convenience.
I would definitely recommend MSDN Flash to folks – sign up at http://www.microsoft.com/uk/msdn/subscriptions/register.asp
P.S. Doesn’t Tim look happy for a chap with a new babe and sleepless nights 🙂
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a favourite shirt in my wardrobe that I still wear from time to time. It fits really well, it’s really comfortable and I’ve had it for such a long time that it almost feels like it’s part of my identity! But I know deep down that it’s actually worn out: the collar is a little ragged from repeated washing, it’s lost some of the original colour through fading, and my wife chastises me when I put it on! Perhaps sometimes our software tools can get a bit like my old shirt: we know them really well through a long time of faithful service and they still perform the original function, but it’s now time to move on and take account of the trends of the past few years.
One of the most venerable developer tools still in common usage is of course Visual Basic 6, which is now five years (and six service packs) old. Since then, however, we’ve released two new versions of Visual Basic with a third just around the corner, so it’s perhaps now time to think about taking old applications and skills and refreshing them to support today’s technology. This is increasingly important given that mainstream support for Visual Basic 6 ends in March 2005. You can run VB6 and later versions side-by-side on the same machine, so you can make the transition gradually.
The reward for making the transition is of course that there are many new features and services in newer versions of Visual Basic: an entirely new graphics environment that gives you full access to the GDI+ libraries; docking and anchoring support (no more Form_Resize code!); native support for XML and web services; integrated web and mobile application development capabilities; server tools to ease the creation of performance counters, event log entries and message queues; the ability to create Windows services and console applications, and far more!
So what are the best ways to update your skills and applications?
. Run the VB6 Code Advisor: this is an add-in that can be used to review your code against a series of coding standards and recommend changes to ease migration;
. Check out the walkthroughs, online seminars and white papers on the VB6 Migration Site;
. Attend an course on VB6 migration, such as those being run by F1 Computing Systems in the next month;
. Take a look at the VB.NET Power Pack: a free collection of custom controls that provide smart new user interface elements for your application;
. Go to VB at the Movies and watch one of 101 short films demonstrating how to perform common tasks using the latest Visual Basic versions.
Once you’ve moved on, you’ll never look back – here’s a comment from one customer who made the switch last year: “It was a natural progression from VB 6.the tools are more readily available. We don’t have to build as much. More built-in tools, they are more integrated into the operating system.” Perhaps it is time after all for me to take that old shirt down to the textiles bank.
Good luck with your own migration!