Thursday, March 17, 2005

 

More from SDEXPO2005

Yesterday there were a couple of interesting sessions with renowned commentator Dan Applesauce. There was a whole thing on what are the advantages/disadvantages of C# vs VB.NET

I was surprised to hear the topic of the presentation, as I always thought that as the two are based on exactly the same common runtime, and use the same .NET Framework, that there is really no technical advantage to choosing one over the other. Turns out, I was right!

The only reason to use C# is if you have a bunch of C++ programmers who would resign rather than use a case-insensitive language.

It turns out there actually are one or two minor things you can do in C# but not in VB.NET, but they are so obscure, they are hardly worth mentioning.

Dan also talked about the large VB6 code base out there. His take on migration (as in, do we migrate our suite of VB6 applications to VB.NET): don't bother. Instead move to VB.NET gradually.

One concern is that Microsoft VB6 mainstream support ends on March 31 (two weeks away!). That may bother corporate types, but I'm surprised programmers are overly concerned. In 14 years of VB programming, I have never had occasion to call Microsoft. More especially now, with the vast amount of knowledge and help available on USENET and various web sites, why would anybody need help on VB6 from Microsoft?

I also doubt Microsoft will ever change the operating system to prevent VB6 apps running (although they will of course start to look very dated with the new vector graphic GUI in Longhorn). Microsoft have always been very good on backward compatibility. I have got DOS utilities I collected in my first job, executables dated June 1986, which still run, and which I still use. For instance a DOS version of the VI editor.

The only threat is that VB6 apps will be unable to access some new feature of the operating system. I'm sure, however, if that happens, some enterprising types will come up with 'bridge' technology to fill the gap.
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