Monday, March 14, 2005

Why I signed the VB.Classic Partition

Those who know my views on VB will probably be surprised to see that I have signed the Classic VB petition at http://classicvb.org/petition/. I have been pretty critical of the way that some member of the VB Classic community have attempted to advance their views over the last couple of years. It has a been a bit like the Greens in politics (in Australia at least - I don't follow the world Green scene closely) - their basic platform is certainly worthy, but their actions in advancing their beliefs have showed intolerance and bigotry towards others who have a different view on the world.



I never liked VB Classic much, and I think VB.NET isn't a great language because its legacy features make it more complex than C# (which is supposed to be more complex). Looking at the objectives of the partition, and the logical and well mannered way they are laid down, I am fully in agreement with their aims and approach. Not supporting the VB6 runtime in Longhorn is crazy. Microsoft support the Win16 runtime in Windows Server 2003 (the 32-bit edition at least), which will mean that it is not going to die until Longhorn in 2006, more than a decade since it was replaced. Supporting the VB6 runtime up to and including Longhorn Server would seem to make sense and gives it the same wither-time as Win16.



Bill McCarthy estimates it would only take one to two person decades to integrate the VB6 compiler and debugger into the VS IDE. I am certain that by the end of my technical career I will need to debug back and forth between VB6 and managed code, so given the very small investment that it would take to make this happen, I can't seen why Microsoft won't do it. The same effort still goes into niche products (in today's managed world) like ATL, MFC and FoxPro. VB seems to deserve the same effort, if for no other reason than fairness.

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