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Migrating Visual Basic 6 programs to Visual Studio .Net

Posted on 2015-01-02
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I have some Visual Basic 6 programs that need to be migrated to Visual Studio 2013 Professional.

Writes up on the migration inform me that I need to download Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition first to use the conversion tool that will migrate the Visual Basic 6 code to .Net code.

Where can I find a Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition download?

Thank you
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Question by:AndrewBanfer
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LVL 34

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by:it_saige
it_saige earned 250 total points
ID: 40528014
Unfortunately Microsoft has removed the direct link for Visual Studio 2008 Express.  Instead, you can still download the specific edition you need:

You can download Visual Basic 2008 Express from here: http://go.microsoft.com/?linkid=7729280

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/charles_sterling/archive/2010/02/25/what-happen-to-the-visual-studio-2008-express-download-link.aspx

-saige-
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LVL 40

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Jacques Bourgeois (James Burger) earned 250 total points
ID: 40528035
I am sorry to inform you that a conversion is a very bad idea. Although they use the same syntax, VB6 and VB.NET are 2 different things.

The conversion tool does what it can (when it can), generating awful code that does not works well, offers less performance than the VB6 application and is an horror to debug and maintain. And you cannot use the resulting code as an example of how to code in .NET. Nobody would code that way in .NET. It's simply that .NET applications are not designed the same way, and the conversion tool cannot redesign the application, it can only translate the syntax. In order for the result to work (if you are lucky), the conversion tools uses a lot of tricks that even experienced .NET programmers cannot understand clearly.

Unless the project is a simple thing you created for your own use and can run in debug mode most of the time, you are probably losing time trying a conversion.

It's even worse if you are relying on third party libraries, because after the conversion, you .NET code would still rely on them. The conversion tool cannot convert something that is already compiled, it needs the code source. And there are many situations where old COM libraries have a lot of problems interacting with .NET applications.

A rewrite is almost always the only viable solution if you are a professional.

I gave training on VB6 for 10 years. I have been giving training on VB.NET for 13 years. So I have met a lot of professional programmers who were making the switch. Except for one of those who decided to go the conversion route against my advice, only one was successful. Everybody else failed and lost a lot of time trying to fix the results of the conversion, and then had to restart at zero for a real conversion.

The only one who succeeded did use the conversion tool at all. She was working with a VB6 project where most of the job was done in dlls that they had written themselves and did not use the Variant data type. The Variant that has no direct equivalent in .NET and can be a problem when mixing VB6 and VB.NET applications and libraries. Because it is the worst thing to convert, they completely redesigned and rewrote the interface in .NET. They kept using their VB6 dlls in the background as long as they could. As the years went by, new features were done in .NET. They simply did it as a slow rewrite, piece by piece, as needed.
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Author Comment

by:AndrewBanfer
ID: 40528072
Thank very much Saige and Jacques for your input!  I'm going to try it both ways because we have a lot of programs to convert and I need to provide a schedule and justification of schedule.
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