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ended mainstream support (i.e., free technical support) for Visual Basic 6.0 on
March 31, 2005
. This move indicates that there will be no more bug fixes,
service packs, new versions, or, most importantly, enhancements to the
programming language. This is worrisome to the classic VB development community
because VB6 remains the preferred approach for many kinds of applications; in
particular, mainstream business applications with a database component.

Microsoft is taking steps to make the migration to Visual
Basic .NET easier. It has created a Visual
Basic Developer Center
on its MSDN site, and it plans to introduce
enhancements that recall VB6 in upcoming versions of Visual Basic 2005. Yet,
despite the company’s efforts, this DevX
article explains why migrating from VB6 to VB.NET isn’t that easy
—even with
the help of Microsoft wizards.

I don’t have any plans to migrate from VB6 to VB.NET any
time soon. Don’t get me wrong—I think that Visual Basic 2005 and, in fact, the
entire .NET development framework are great steps forward with the support for
true object-oriented programming, managed code, and Web services. However, many
applications simply do not require or benefit from .NET’s
managed code and other enhancements. VB6, with its COM-based API and
compilation to native code, remains the tool of choice for many development projects
and I believe will remain so for the foreseeable future. When you consider
these factors, along with the fact that 44 percent of U.S. developers are still
using VB6 or older (according to a 2004 survey from Evans Data), I think it’s a
compelling case for Microsoft to continue support of VB6.

With this goal in mind, a group of Visual Basic programmers
has created a petition as an effort to convince Microsoft to reverse its
decision and continue supporting our favorite development tool. To date, more
than 5,800 developers have signed the petition, with 244 of the signatures
coming from Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) developers. Find out
more at Classic VB and, if you would
like to encourage Microsoft to continue supporting VB6, sign the online petition. I’d
love to hear where other developers stand on this “movement,” so
please voice your opinion in the article discussion.