dot net or not dot net


I'm just about to start a development of a large application.

I've been programming VB3..6 for the past 7 years, so I've got a good understanding of that.

The question is... do I start developing this new application in VB.Net ???

What advantages does it have over VB6 ??

Is it backwards compatible, i.e. can applications developed on VB.Net run on a windows 95/98 machine ??

Is it faster ??

Are installations easier ??

Any advice will be much appreciated..


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I've been programming VB from it's introduction on. So a long time (some 15+ years)

I'm looking into .NET too. Been to some Developer Days and bought a couple of books from wellknown (VB/Windows) authors.

My experience and opinion till now :

The transition from VB6 to VB.NET will be greater than the one from DOS to Windows (and I am quoting Daniel Appleman)
It is a very steep learning curve.

You can almost forget everything you have learned about VB. .NET will be completely different. If you have experience programming windows apps with C (that is the way I started programming windows) you have an advantage.

Installing .NET applications will be easier than it has been. It is just a matter of copying files (no more registration in the registry). BUT this is only true if you are using pure .NET technology. As soon as you wind up using e.g. ADO or other COM components, you are in DLL hell again.

Applications developed with VB.NET need the NET Framework (about 22 mB) and no more VB runtime files. So any OS that has the NET Framework installed will run VB.NET apps.

Be Aware that ADO.NET too is COMPLETELY different from the ADO as you know it.

I do not know if it is faster (not experimented enough with it yet)

It will take a long, long learning time to get to know .NET the way you now know VB

My opinion (and I think I am almost alone with this one):
If you are not programming for the Internet and there is time pressure on your project, do not use .NET. Stay with VB6, also because you say it is a big project.

A very good book is : Moving to VB.NET from Daniell Appleman (

Good luck
smeggheadAuthor Commented:
Do you know if the .net framework can be installed on win95/98 ??
Anthony PerkinsCommented:
Here are some articles that may help:
Migrate to .NET
.NET promises to significantly change the way you do your job—for the better.
.NET: Where It Is, Where It's Going
It's not a matter of whether you'll switch to .NET, it's a matter of knowing when to switch to .NET.

I too remember the transition from BASIC to VB1 a 11 years ago this coming June and there are strong similarities.  Initially, you had many naysayers ("DOS programs run faster than Windows", "Nobody is using Windows", etc.), but eventually most of them joined the mad rush to Windows in the early 90's.  No doubt, history will repeat itself.

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I haven't started programming .net, but have read up on it.

My opinion is this:

If you expect the project to be around more than 2 years, you might as well use .net since otherwise it will have to be migrated, which will definitely be a bigger task than starting with that tool.

As a big project, I would suggest telling the requestor that the new technology will delay the project slightly, but that it will not have to be converted/upgraded in a few years and will therefore be cheaper.

Also, the benefit of .net (in concept) is that you can have different components built by different developers using different tools and not have to worry about the intercommunication of the pieces when they're assembled.  This is yet to be seen, but sounds pretty nice.
Éric MoreauSenior .Net ConsultantCommented:
>>Do you know if the .net framework can be installed on win95/98 ??

not on win95.
smeggheadAuthor Commented:
We've ordered some copies.

So, time will tell... I'll post back my findings here.

I'll get on to Community Support to split the points for this question between corvanderlinden,
acperkins and rspahitz...

41 points each ???

Also thanks emoreau..

Thanks smg.  41 each sounds right.
Ok, here is the way I read your intent.  The points have been reduced to 0 and you would like to keep the question open for discussion.  Now you can make questions for each expert for 41 points apiece in this topic area to award them but keep the question open.  Hope i got it right.  When you are done, award an expert the 0 point question here.
E-E Moderator
smeggheadAuthor Commented:
I think that's what I was thinking... :-)

I will award the points straight away... this is the only question I want to leave open for a bit longer.

Richie_SimonettiIT OperationsCommented:
To me, .net sucks!
I "prefer" to learn c# (if i want new . net funcionality)
Vb is no longer the same. Forget about you have been learning.
Why to change a language and call it with same name?
What is the idea behind not be able to use only one property instead of Let/Get always, in example?
Another one, while...wend is not well look to microsoft and always discourage programers to use it, so, why change it to:
while... End While?
Richie, you're experiencing language growth.  The reason for the issues you point out are summarized in one word: consistency.

Sometimes, language growth is bothersome.

When I switched from QuickBasic to VB, I transported various apps and found that all of my music modules were broken.  I found it very annoying and really never wanted to leave QB.  Of course, once VB began acquiring those same things, it became much more fun to develop again.

Let/Get?  I don't know why it's required, but is it causing you problems?

Wend -> End While?  I always wondered why this did not follow the format of everything else:  End Function, End If, End Property, End Select, End Sub, End Type, End With

"End" has always implied the end of a block except for a while block.

As for C#, that seems to be very Java-like from what I hear.  Since I'm familiar with Java, I wonder how easily I'll transition to C# and VB.NET.  I'll probably give it a go in the summer.
Anthony PerkinsCommented:

>> Vb is no longer the same. ...<<
As rspahitz points out we have seen all of this before.  It is funny now to look back and recall what an out cry the lack of Field, MK?, and a whole host of other functions that disappeared between QuickBasic/Microsoft Basic/PDS and Visual Basic.

There were many than, that swore they would never leave their old DOS apps (I know for one that Ethan Winer is still selling the old Crescent DOS BASIC tools).  And I am sure that some did not, but eventually the vast majority moved on.

Yes, the learning curve is steep (as it was than) and yes you now have a choice of languages to choose from.  But trust me, 3 years from now you will not find a new job with Visual Basic as we know it.  It has been 10 years (going on for 11) and it has been a good (and at least in my case a profitable) time, but it is now time to move on.

Use your best judgment and make a decision.


My opinion :

It is clear we have to move to .NET if we want to stay on the microsoft side. Microsoft dictates what we programmers have to do. If we do not like it we should turn away from windows and concentrate on some other OS.

The question is when do we start using VB.NET in production applications. This is not an easy question and much depends on management decisions.

We have to be sure our customers are willing to install the NET Framework.

Ritchie : Dan Appleman wrote a good article about VB.NET vs C# (
Richie_SimonettiIT OperationsCommented:
I am not a C# fan. Just mentioned to say that if i will learn a new language, i prefer learn C# (even C++, better yet Java) instead of
I did read articles for and against (one of them from a person who i respect, Bruce McKinney)
Ok, I understand, but Bruce hate's VB already for a long time, doesn't he (didn't he turn away from VB when VB5 was announced)?

Richie_SimonettiIT OperationsCommented:
I quit from VB where vb4 comes up (what a ...!)
and did return to it in VB5 (i loved it).
I don't want to do it but i think i will move to Java instead.
smeggheadAuthor Commented:
I've added questions for the three main helpers... all at 50 points (as EE no longer accepts less than 50 point questions) :-)
smeggheadAuthor Commented:
OK, I've been on VB/C++.Net now for 1 week... and a few observations..


Excellent text editor and configurable hot keys etc.. the collapsable function option is brilliant.

I like the 'Build error tasks', this shows all errors during a build (compilation) rather than just beeping and highlighting the next error it finds.

The whole IDE is nice, The overlapping docking windows are good.


I'm running on a P3.450 With 256meg memory, and I find text editing very slow, if I make a change to a line, it can take a few seconds to give control back to the cursor. This makes it very difficult making lots of quick changes are you are forever waiting for the screen to catch up.

Once the project has been built, I close VS, and run the executable... it's very sluggish on startup, I've not got as far as determining speed defficiencies once it's up and running yet.

And the worst one so far... (taken from the help files)

Visual Studio .NET does not support Edit and Continue for Visual Basic or C# code. If you try to edit code and continue debugging in Visual Basic or C#, one of four things will happen, depending on the settings selected in the Edit and Continue page of the Options dialog box:

When you try editing, the title bar flashes and displays the text, "Currently cannot modify this text in the editor. It is read only."
The editor allows you to make changes, and the debugger continues execution of the old code (without the changes).
The editor allows you to make changes, and the debugger stops execution of your program, builds a fresh copy of the program with the changes, and restarts execution.
The editor allows you to make changes, but when you try to continue or step the Unable to Apply Code Changes dialog box appears. This dialog box gives you the chance to choose between continuing execution with the old code, restarting execution, or canceling the Continue or Step command.
The default behavior depends on the Visual Studio languages you have installed. By default, Visual Basic users cannot edit code while debugging. Visual C# users can edit code while debugging, but get the Unable to Apply Code Changes dialog box by default.

... Which is seriously bad :-(
Anthony PerkinsCommented:
>> I'm running on a P3.450 With 256meg memory<<
Consider 512Mg as the bare minimum.

>>Visual Studio .NET does not support Edit and Continue for Visual Basic or C# code<<
This is the biggest gripe.  It has been promised that it will be addressed in the near future.  On the other hand, you could argue that those of us who have been using BASIC and later Visual Basic have been spoilt over the last 15 years!

Richie_SimonettiIT OperationsCommented:
To me, is a new language but close enought to VB to confuse things a lot.
IMHO, microsoft is wrong. Why call VB if it is a new language?, why doesn't support VB AND VB.Net just like C++ AND C#?
I disagree with some observations here:
When OLE becomes COM, i moved on.
When DAO "becomes" ADO, i moved on.
When Active X tech raised, i moved on.
When VB added more functions and reserved words, i used them.
There we were talking on same technology and same language.
Not any more.
Sorry for my poor english, sometimes i can't say things like i am thinking them.
>does not support Edit and Continue

I suspect that this is because is no longer an interpreted language.  Only interpreted languages can easily have edit-and-continue since the compilation of each line is done dynamically.  Although VB6 is compilable, when you run it in the debugger, you're actually running it as an interpreted language (which is why you occassionally run up against run-time syntax errors which are always caught during compilation.)

I'm guessing that this concept was very hard to implement in a new framework (i.e. .net) but was easy to carry over in the old framework (QuickBASic-to-VB.)  Since is now relying on many other things beyond its own control, the implementation of this may be a lot tougher to manage.
smeggheadAuthor Commented:
>Only interpreted languages can easily have edit-and-continue


C++.Net quite happily supports edit->continue !!! the least interpreted of them all

hmmm.  That is strange.  Maybe ed/cont really IS just a service pack away!
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smeggheadAuthor Commented:
I asked Community Support to reduce the points in this question to 0 so that it could continue as a discussion.

It's only been inactive for 9 days (not 21 days)

Of the 5 open questions you list above, 1 is for community support, another is just points for someone (all I can do it wait for the person to post a comment), another had activity 2 days ago, and is still being discussed, another was this question and the other one, for some reason, I had not been getting email notifications on.
smeggheadAuthor Commented:
I'm awarding the grade to you, as you made the first comment... and to get CS of my back :-)

No points though, as these were granted separately.
Thanks for returning and finalizing this; sorry you feel we're on your back... just working to keep things flowing here; given that countless thousands remain in limbo until such time as we trigger responses.  Wish it weren't so; but is.

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smeggheadAuthor Commented:

Please claim claim your points for this question on this link...
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