Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart
Though hard to believe for the more progressive Microsoft developer, there still exists a significant population of Visual Basic programmers who have yet to cross the chasm from the Win32 VB6 world to the VB.NET world.
The reasons vary. Some of the more unfortunate programmers are hamstrung into supporting legacy applications for companies that, up until now, have refused to make the required investment to migrate from one platform to another. Other companies have a hardware investment they wish to fully depreciate, and running even the modest overhead of the .NET CLR is too much of a performance impact for their user base to bear. Of course, there are also those who have held off because their current applications run just fine, thank you very much and have little incentive to switch to the .NET way of life.
It is this segment of the population that should be the most concerned for their jobs. .NET is an integral part of Microsoft s next OS, and, more importantly, is the cornerstone of sophisticated distributed application development moving forward. Regardless of the developer s situation, it s now or never for those VB6 developers to move to .NET or be left far behind.
Author Wei-Meng Lee, who also wrote O Reilly s ASP.NET 2.0: A Developer s Notebook, (visit http://www.aspnetpro.com/bookreviews/0596008120_b/0596008120_b.asp for my review of that book), took the short and simple route. In fact, Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart is even shorter than some README files I ve seen. However, it does the job of quickly orienting experienced VB6 programmers to the Visual Studio 2005 IDE and the changes between the two.
Data types, variables, constants, enumerations, strings, arrays, type conversions, operators, functions, exception handling, and namespaces are succinctly described, with call-out boxes noting the most important differences between VB6 and .NET approaches. True object-oriented programming concepts are discussed with advanced new .NET 2.0 concepts, such as generics, and are included to further convince VB6 programmers of the newfound power the .NET 2.0 Framework provides.
The chapter on developing Windows applications walks newbies through a basic SQL-connected Windows form-based application enhanced with an Amazon.com Web service. The example application is then deployed via VS.NET s Publish Wizard, complete with ClickOnce auto-updating. The next chapter briefly reviews ASP.NET 2.0 Web application development via a storefront demo application. This application highlights the Master Page template, profile and membership services, and associated Web controls. The final chapter discusses specific VB6 to VB 2005 migration considerations, the Code Advisor for Visual Basic 6.0, and the Visual Basic Upgrade Wizard.
Using considerate checklists, Lee helps readers decide whether to migrate, reuse, rewrite, or completely replace their legacy VB6 code. To ensure I am using the very latest design patterns and technologies Microsoft has to offer, I ve opted to completely re-write the applications I really care about. But developers inheriting regulatory constraints or projects consisting of hundreds of thousands of lines of code might not be as fortunate.
Overall, the book is a quick read, relatively inexpensive, and easy enough to digest to provide that extra incentive a VB6 developer may need to leap forward into the 21st century of Windows application development.
Title: Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart
Author: Wei-Meng Lee
Publisher: O Reilly
Page Count: 214