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Is there any tool to convert powerbuilder project to VB.net?

Posted on 2014-01-10
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Last Modified: 2014-01-11
I have ERP system , Client-Server programmed by power builder and SQL 2008 Database, is there any tool to convert the project to VB.net?
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Question by:Ihab
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by:Craig Wagner
Craig Wagner earned 250 total points
ID: 39772448
I've never heard of such a tool. I was going to start writing up a more detailed response but a quick Google search turned up this post that explains it much better than I was going to.

http://stackoverflow.com/a/833026/97382
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by:Ihab
ID: 39772494
<I was going to start writing up a more detailed response>
Thanks but can you tell me what was in your mind?
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LVL 21

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by:Craig Wagner
ID: 39772557
What was on my mind was what the SO post said. That's why I said it "explains it much better than I was going to."
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by:Ihab
ID: 39772597
Thanks I will read the post and I will reply
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Jacques Bourgeois (James Burger) earned 250 total points
ID: 39773498
Even if such a tool existed, I would advise against using it, unless you a great love of headaches, bugs that are hard to solve and loss of performance.

Asking if there is a tool to make such a conversion is like asking if there is a tool to convert a Mac application to .NET.

Think that even conversions from VB6 to VB.NET usually do not work well, although they use the same language from the same company, that happens to be the best one to understand what happens under the hood in .NET. (To be True, the converter provided with Visual Studio was outsourced to a company outside of Microsoft).

Conversion code can usually easily map most command in one environment to a command in another environment. But they cannot map the design of one environment to another.

That is the main difference. .NET is not a new language, it's a new environment. Applications must be designed differently. At that level, all a conversion tool can do is to try to simulate in the new environment the way the application used to work in the older environment. This results in code that nobody would ever have written, that is not efficient, very difficult to maintain, and often has problems migrating from one version of the framework to the next because it does not use the native way doing things in .NET.

Just one example, error handling. While PowerBuilder uses a single Error with an Error.Number to identify the error, .NET uses a mechanism "borrowed" from C or Java. The notion of an Error.Number does not exists in .NET. There is a Try...Catch mechanism that Catch an error, and the error is identified by the type of the object (class) that is catched. Could be a FileNotFoundException object or a SqlException object (there are dozenz of these exception classes), each with its own properties that give usefull information about the problem and where it occurred.

The way you handle errors is thus very different, and it often impossible to map the old ways to the new ones.

A convertion from any language or environment always end up with a buggy application that sometimes as much time to debug as a rewrite, and always very badly designed and hard as hell to maintain.

As bad as it can look, if you absolutely need to skip PowerBuilder, you will have to think rewrite instead of conversion.
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