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Which software to purchase for the development of applications to meet organizational needs (VB 6, VB.Net, Crystal Reports, etc)

Currently I am building front-end applications in MS Access that retrieves and manipulates data through ODBC to SQL Server 2000. The only reason I am using MS Access is because this is the only software they had when I started. I have had successful experience with Visual Basic 6.0, but I do not know if this is the right direction for our company. I will be tasked to build Windows applications as well as interactive Web applications. My question is should I purchase VB 6 with Crystal Reports 10 or VB.Net with Crystal Reports 10. I have never had to purchase or investigate what software to use, I have always worked for companys that said this is what you will use. My current organization didn't even have a SQL Server before I started. I need your opinon, websites that offer the pros and cons, or any alternatives that would meet the needs of our organziation. Additionally, with the web based application should I purchase dream weaver, front page, or can all web development be accomplished using VB.NET. What is the best reporting program to use. I know that I am asking a great deal, but I figured you guys are the experts and am sure you have had more experience with the combinations of software that I am looking into.

Some of our plans for the Windows applications will be used primarily in-house, with a few (1-5) users accessing the program over VPN.

Thanks in advance for all your suggestions.

Our company is growing rapidly and the types of programs I am being asked to build range from simple to impossible (*lol*).
3 Solutions
If you know VB 6.0 then go with Visual Studio 6.0.

If you know VB.NET then go with Visual Studio.NET

.NET is a huge learning curve for someone from VB 6.0 and that will grind your work to a halt.  I suggest avoiding it until you have a good bit of experience under your belt!  :-)

Good luck!
I would go through the growing pains and pursue .NET.  I think continuing with Visual Basic 6 these days will only delay the inevitable which is you are going to have to learn .NET sooner or later.  Picking up Visual Basic 6 now is a lot like the Mainframers unwilling to give up COBOL only to be unemployed after the Y2K scare. The later versions of Crystal Reports are also catering to .NET more and more.
.Net is the next gen compiler, so getting visual studio 2004 or 2005 would be a smart move.

with VB.Net the learning curve is there, but it is not very steep.


here, give it a try.
I don't develop an app for .NET unless I know that all the clients who will use the program already have the .NET framework installed.
as for having the .NET framework installed, by now I wuld estimate that at least 75% of all users, and perhaps as high as 90% have the .NET framework installed - ANY upgrade to ANY Microsoft product (such as SQL Server, or Windows, or Internet Explorer has included the .NET framework as a built-in part of the upgrade package, to the installation of the .NET Framework has taken place 'silently' - without the user even being aware that it was happening.

I recently bought my wife a new DELL Laptop, with Windows XP Home Edition - and the .NET Framework was already there as part of the factory installation!!!

I would STRONGLY concur with Daine258 - VB 6 is a dead-end choice, and I doubt that you will even be able to find a LEGAL copy for sale - and Microsoft will soon be stopping all support for the product.  Visual Studio.NET 2003 is the CURRENT retail version, and I would NOT, under any circumstances whatsoever, consider building a REAL application with Visual Studio.NET 2005, which is still a BETA product - which means that the code is still 'unstable', and there are very likely to be SIGNIFICANT changes to the product between now and when the product is released in a Comercial version (which should happen perhaps by Christmas).  As for the basic language in VB.NET 2003 and what I have seen of the 2005 Beta version, there are no MAJOR differences, so that upgrading from VS 2003 to VS 2005 should be ALMOST painless - analogous to ugrading from vb 5 to vb 6 ( and NOT as traumatic as the transition - I will not call it an 'upgrade') that occurred between VB 6 and VB.NET.

Take the initial time hit, and purchase Visual Studio.NET 2003.  I may cost you a couple of weeks in terms of initial productivity, but the long term payback for that up-front time 'investment' will be HUGE.


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