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Visual Basic 6 Renewed to Run on Windows 8

by Jeff Martin on Feb 21, 2012 |

The venerable Visual Basic 6 platform has received another stay of execution from Microsoft with the announcement that it will continue to support the platform on the upcoming Windows 8. Despite a succession of post-VB6 products (Visual Basic .NET, C#, etc), the ease and simplicity of VB6 has fostered a large installed base of applications. These applications will be able to rely on Windows 8 to ship with the run-time files necessary for their operation.

The operational standard for VB6 applications is defined to be such that if a developer finds:

“...an issue with your Visual Basic 6.0 application running on Windows Vista,Windows 7, Windows 8 (where the same code worked as expected on Windows XP), please follow your normal support channels to report the issue.”

 Some extended DLLs will not be shipping as part of Windows 8 and developers can consult Microsoft's support statement for the list of files they should ship with their applications.  

Visual Basic 1.0 was released in 1991 to lower that era's development barriers to creating native Windows 3.0 applications. Visual Basic 6 (VB6) ultimately followed in 1998 and its popularity among developers of that era has resulted in applications that remain in active use today.  While Microsoft has released versions of Visual Basic for the .NET platform, changes were made in the newer program resulting in a fundamentally different language.

The continuing popularity of VB6 presents Microsoft with a conundrum. On the one hand it represents a platform that it considers superseded by superior (or at least newer) Microsoft products. On the other its on-going usage indicates a successful product well-received by the marketplace.  Based on user feedback Microsoft is missing an opportunity by not resuming full support.  Many developers continue to question Microsoft's treatment of VB6.

Leonardo Azpura wrote:

Resuming Classic VB as a mainstream product would also mean best PR for them, too. The years ago, there were 6 million "professional" VB6 programmers. All of us, no matter what additional tools,languages and platforms are we using today, still have to maintain and extend VB6 applications, and most of us still hold a grunge against MS for attempting to kill a vital tool of our trade.

Continuing on that theme, Karl E. Peterson added:

Agreed, a multi-threaded x64 VB7 would be a market slayer! […] They could sell it for the _next_ 20 years.

Finally Winston Potgeier remarked that he too would like 64-bit support and a continuing guarantee that future Windows releases will support VB6:

As far as what is needed to make VB6 compete in todays market, gosh the problem is I can do everything any other DEV enviroment can do, quicker, easier, and it runs natively. Don't quite know what to ask for except 64 bit compilation and future OS compatibility, maybe win8 mobile compilation?

If readers have found alternatives to VB6, please comment below. Or do the existing strengths of VB6 mean that it continues to be used in your organization as-is?

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So sad by Andrea Del Bene

I've worked with vb6 for almost 5 years and I'm so sad seeing how difficult is to get rid of a bad technology just because "it's popular".
vb6 is probably the technology that contributed most to they grow of people who declare themselves "developers" just because the can insert a SQL query inside button's onclick...
This decision comes in favor of those software houses that can count on thousands of low-cost vb6 "developer".

Re: So sad by Jonathan Allen

Java, C#, and Ruby are not any different. And for that matter I've seen some pretty horrible C and C++ code as well. Low cost, poorly educated developers are going to go away just because you change platforms. In fact, they should be more common as our tools get increasingly easier to use.

Re: So sad by Paul Brown

Sad? Not at all. If you don't like VB6, no one will force you to use it. Crisis averted.

Re: So sad by Gabriel Dominguez

You're absolutely right.

COM by Java 陈

It is because WinRT is COM based.
And VB6 is also COM based.
.Net can not replace COM. So...

Re: So sad by MB MB12

I can still (2012) start VB6 in a fraction of the time it takes a decent machine to start VS2010!
The way forward is simplicity with levels of complexity being more of a further foray than an immediate must! If you code VB6 properly you may experience pointers, memory apps etc. Looks like you haven't! This is a side that was left out by Microsoft to a certain extent but it is there and if couple that to VC++, the power I believe becomes awsome as you can mix VB6 with its easy UI and VC++ for preparing DLLs etc.
There has been many MVPs who demonstrated ways forward with VB6 so why not have it open source and let these guys take it forward???? Perhaps even sell it.
Now with mobile applications being out there, platforms like JAVA (just as simple as VB), and the like are taking over!
Microsoft has simply killed its golden goose when over 50% of all programmers (sorry so called "programmers") were using VB6.

Re: So sad by Santiago Nogales

The Dataenvironment component is not supported in Windows 8

VB6 still a leader by Sten Ten

Now, in 2014, VB6 is still the seventh most popular language (according to the Tiobe index) and VB.NET is tenth.
visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual...

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