Visual Basic 6

Another example of people getting stuffed by proprietary lockin: Visual Basic 6 developers are petitioning Microsoft not to end support.

I can’t imagine, though, why anyone would choose to program in VB if they’d had experience of any other programming language. The last three days I’ve been programming in VB 6, and it has caused me more stress recently than I’ve had in months. One particularly irritating thing is that it’s impossible to get good online VB 6 documentation any more, because Microsoft has replaced it all with VB.NET docs, and forgotten the very existence of VB 6. Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.

15 thoughts on “Visual Basic 6

  1. They would program in VB because…

    1. It’s the fastest and easiest way to do up simple GUI applications in Windows bar NOTHING. This comes from someone who has used VB6 a considerable amount, who also thinks BASIC is a PITA, and loves Python dearly. It’s also the only natively compiled language I know of that allows you to do a GUI “Hello, World!” in exactly 0 lines of code.

    2. The learning curve is incredibly shallow. You can start knocking together applications quite quickly. As for the lack of official docs, I’ve always relied on the expansive VB6 community. Microsoft’s never had particularily good documentation on VB.

    3. Unlike things such as Python or .NET, it needs 3 DLLs in the same directory. You don’t even need to have an installer if you don’t want to.

    Yes, BASIC is an evil, badly designed and anachronistic language, but it’s fast (to write in) and simple. It has it’s place, and Microsoft simply hasn’t realized that VB.NET doesn’t replace VB6, for the reasons I listed above. VB.NET is just syntactic sugar for C#.

  2. Clearly Daniel has never used Delphi! I’m not a Delphi user myself, but I see that Borland has managed to find a way to transision it’s win32 users to .NET without rewriting the language along the way.

  3. VB6 is one of those things that’s right in the eyes of companies, but not necesarily right in the eyes of geeks.

    With VB6 a company can train someone in a week to knock together a database app or report-generator very quickly and save a lot of money on employing a proper programmer and taking months over something a VB6 programmer could kludge together in a day.

    One thing one of the Firefox hackers noticed about VC++6 was it’s IDE was still superior to anything today even though VS6 is 8 years old! I use VB very heavily (but do program very neat and tidy code) and VB6’s interface is first class despite its age. Could you imagine being as productive using any other app of similar age? Windows95 + Netscape4.7?

    VB6 is the Commodore64 of software, it’s very very old and long been suppased, but there’s nothing it can’t achieve one way or the other. :P

  4. @daniel

    To create really simple GUI applications in windows try hypertext applications (.hta). I created a GUI driven Popwerpoint2PNG exporter in 100 lines of HTML, CSS and VBScript – without compiling anything and the look and feel of a win32 app.

  5. @ mikx

    HTA is at heart a good idea, but due to the delightful combination of IE + VBScript, HTAs are dangerously insecure and anybody with AV software like Norton / McAfee will not be able to run such applications.

  6. @kroc

    McAfee Virus Scan Enterprise is running on my machine and i have no problems running hypertext applications. For sure you could configure it in a way to block it, but that is true for every other file type.

    HTA isn’t more secure or insecure than any other programm with full privileges (.exe, .bat, etc) that is running in your local machine zone.

  7. VB for Unix and Windows ? I think that Gambas is the closest as we can get at this moment (although it does not yet compile with Cygwin under Windows)

    I think that the reason why people are using Visual Basic (myself included) is mainly about the IDE. I know that there are more decent languages, but mostly these lacked nice IDE’s to work with.

    “Real programmers” don’t need all those nice GUI-tools (I have seen Don Box write .Net-webservices with Emacs when he was already employed by Microsoft), but there are lots of programmers that just need to have their software working in no time. They like to focus on the problems that they need to solve instead of having to deal with why something does not work like they thought it would work.

    If Mozilla could provide
    a) a robust and stable platform to build upon (not breaking apps with a new release)
    b) have an IDE that lets the developer focus on creating the solution
    then I guess it could attract lots of people to the Mozilla-platform.

    BTW, I also think that the autocompletion of the code (IntelliSense) makes it pretty easy for novices to learn to program with Visual Basic. They will not learn how to be a good programmer in that way, but then at least it feels like a friendly environment to create software in and does not turn users away.

    Mozilla already attracted much users from IE to the more open en secure Firefox-browser. Now is the time to also attract developers to a more open platform for building their applications upon.

  8. @Gerv

    If you’re really looking for VB6 docs – try to find and old (pre .NET hype) MSDN Lib 3-CD set, of the kind that came with VC6/VS6. IIRC it was bloated by a fair share of VB6 related stuff. It’s not exactly “online”, but let’s not get too picky… :)

    As a side note, how are you doing health-wise?


    > It’s also the only natively compiled language
    > I know of that allows you to do a GUI “Hello,
    > World!” in exactly 0 lines of code.
    LOL… Considering that VB was originally – and for a VERY long time – interpreted (IIRC, M$ added the option to create true native binaries only in Pro/Enterprise – though _not_ vanilla – editions of VB6), and considering for how long Delphi/C++Builder were around (not to mention some of the obscure alternatives)… Well, I’m afraid you don’t know that many “languages” (“natively compiled” or otherwise) after all… :)

  9. i would like to get some tutorial on hacking with VB6 or programming if there is no hacking so please can someone help find a online tutorial i really need it thanks very much….

  10. I want to know about hacking either in VB6 or in any language please send me the material related to hacking and the basic things required to do be a good hacker. I want to be a good hacker and want to help the Govt. to fight against Crakers.
    I request you to please send me matters related to hacking.