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  1. #1

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    Alternative to VB.net ?

    Hi everyone.

    I absolutely rocked in VB6, I wrote application after application with ease. It was easy and intuitive and I could crank out the code.

    So now I'm looking to learn a language more updated to the internet age. I'm trying Visual Basic 2010 but I'm simply not picking it up. I know it's called Basic but it's not, well, Basic. Looking around the net I see some people saying C# worked better for them so I'm thinking of trying that. I have some experience with the original C language (still have my copy of Kernighan and Ritchie's book) so I'm hoping I have better luck with C#.

    Anybody else tried C#? Is it easier to learn?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    I would say VB.net and C# are about the same difficulty wise.
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Guess it's back to VB6 then. Thanks for replying.

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    C# and VB.NET are very similar. They are both .NET languages and both compile into the same Intermediate Language (IL) byte-code. One can be turned into the other pretty easily. However, C# is based on the C language syntax, while VB.NET is based on the VB syntax. As you have noted, VB.NET is not VB6, but neither is VB6 all that similar to BASIC. One advantage to C# is that so many other languages are roughly C-style that learning that would make other C-style languages familiar, such as Java. They would only be familiar, though, as they are all distinct languages, they just happen to have similarities. Language families, I suppose, just as there is in spoken language. Of course, the drawback is that the whole C-syntax is archaic, and better things can be created. I, personally, believe that the popularity of the C-style syntax is because it looks so arcane: If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, baffle them with your tools....or something like that.

    As for going back to VB6, how long is that going to work for you? That language is now fifteen years old, and has been out of support for seven. How long did it take you to learn VB6? Did you start application after application within the first month of picking up VB6? The first six months? How much time did you give to any newer language?

    I loved VB6 and was reluctant to pick up .NET, so I passed on .NET for a few years. Eventually, I encountered a situation that VB6 wouldn't handle, so I was forced to get into .NET (coding for the now-extinct PDA, which VB6 didn't do). Now, I would never willingly go back to VB6. There is a learning curve. The biggest problem could well be that you are coming from a pair of procedural languages (VB6 and K&R C), whereas VB.NET, C#, or C++ are all true Object Oriented languages. That does require a different kind of thinking, but it has so completely dominated for a reason. The whole OO thing came about because it does a better job of organizing data and code, which becomes increasingly valuable in larger projects. Since I picked up C++ initially, the one thing I didn't really like about VB6 was the fact that it was not really OO (though they tried to occasionally make nods in that direction). For me, the OO aspect of .NET was a positive, but that's not the case for lots of people.

    I guess the point I am headed to is this: Learning something new is always difficult. You can stay with VB6 for as long as you want, but the usefulness will eventually end. There is pretty nearly no chance that it will be useable forever, nor is it likely that a new language will come along that you can use without a substantial learning curve. Therefore, you are not avoiding the cost of that learning, you are only putting it off, since you are on a dead-end road at the moment. If you were that productive with VB6, you didn't get there without putting in some time. Have you put in the same amount of time with .NET, and are you holding yourself back because you were so productive with one language and you now resent not knowing the new language?
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Well of course it took time to learn VB6, I didn't simply learn it overnight. But it was much simpler and far more intuitive to learn than Net. I know Net requires a "new way of thinking", well maybe that's the problem. I don't want to learn a new way of thinking, I want to write a program.

    Suppose I wanted to buy a new car and I went to the Microsoft dealership to check out the new models. I hop in and find there's no steering wheel, no gas pedal, no brake pedal, no gear shift knob or anything else I'm familiar with and it's all been replaced with switches, toggles, levers and knobs and strange dohickeys I've never seen before. The salesman tells me all I have to do is spend six months learning how to drive all over again before I can use the car. Do you think I would actually buy it?

    Looking at the forum at any given time it's obvious I'm not the only one not picking up on this new way of thinking as the ratio of people viewing the .Net board to people viewing the VB6 board runs about 3 to 2.

    Yes I know I'm ranting and I need to spend time studying and learning the new ideas, and I will. And I'll end up feeling like a fool for whining like a spoiled child who doesn't want to do his homework. I just wish I could spend more time writing the program than learning the language. Why can't they simply improve on what people already know and are accustomed to instead of heading off on a completely new tangent <cough> WINDOWS 8 <cough>.

    Thanks for replying.
    Last edited by Larry Hinklestein; May 4th, 2013 at 06:37 PM.

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    If you reject .Net you aren't left with much in the Windows ecosystem. Java is viable on Windows too, but without the level of support there that .Net has.

    You are pretty much in the same boat on other platforms if you reject Java. The main difference being that Java is "foreign everywhere" in a sense. An exception might be Android Java which runs in the Dalvik VM tightly bound to the Android OS rather than a conventional JVM.

    You also run into a similar problem if you drop down to lower-level languages. You're pretty much stuck with C++ on any platform. Dropping another level leaves C as your option.

    On most platforms you can hunt up minority languages from Fortran and Cobol to more recently developed languages. Some of them are even very VB-like compared to VB.Net! Most of these suffer from things like small user communities, narrow application domains, and fast mutation over a short time leading to marginalization and abandonment. Some have long term viability within a narrow community (e.g. Ada) but are not likely to be adopted by casual programmers.

    .Net languages experience fast mutation themselves, and trying to keep up requires some effort. This is just a fact of life outside the special case of VB6's long term status: frozen in time. Most programming languages historically haven't offered this particular combined advantage and curse.


    If you can't stick with VB6 any longer, and you reject .Net languages... I suggest you look hard at your programming needs. Perhaps it is time for a change?

    There is a lot of growth and excitement now in the mobile/portable computing space. And most of it isn't on Windows at all. The interesting thing is that former "phone" OSs are marching ever closer to taking over the desktop as well.

    Basic4Android is a very VB-like option for programming Android phones, tablets, netbooks, etc. This could be used as a "gateway" to learning Android Java or a final destination in itself. Such programs also work on a PC where you have installed an Android x86 build instead of Windows, Linux, etc.

    There are a number of beginner level intro and tutorial videos that can give you an idea of what this is like. Android programming with Basic4Android - Views - Development Tutorial being one example.

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Hinklestein View Post
    Well of course it took time to learn VB6, I didn't simply learn it overnight. But it was much simpler and far more intuitive to learn than Net. I know Net requires a "new way of thinking", well maybe that's the problem. I don't want to learn a new way of thinking, I want to write a program.

    Suppose I wanted to buy a new car and I went to the Microsoft dealership to check out the new models. I hop in and find there's no steering wheel, no gas pedal, no brake pedal, no gear shift knob or anything else I'm familiar with and it's all been replaced with switches, toggles, levers and knobs and strange dohickeys I've never seen before. The salesman tells me all I have to do is spend six months learning how to drive all over again before I can use the car. Do you think I would actually buy it?

    Looking at the forum at any given time it's obvious I'm not the only one not picking up on this new way of thinking as the ratio of people viewing the .Net board to people viewing the VB6 board runs about 3 to 2.

    Yes I know I'm ranting and I need to spend time studying and learning the new ideas, and I will. And I'll end up feeling like a fool for whining like a spoiled child who doesn't want to do his homework. I just wish I could spend more time writing the program than learning the language. Why can't they simply improve on what people already know and are accustomed to instead of heading off on a completely new tangent <cough> WINDOWS 8 <cough>.

    Thanks for replying.
    That was a pretty good answer, really. Not only is it a rant, but you left open the understanding that you might have a totally different prespective when considering the situation in hindsight.

    Your Microsoft car example is a reasonable one for the most part, but take it a bit further: If the car did just what the cars you are used to cars doing, then it would be pretty frustrating seeing totally different controls. This is my objection to the constant changes in each version of Office, VS, and so forth. The same tools are there, they are just located in different places or accessed in different ways. Worse, the differences seem to be driven by artistic considerations rather than functionality. However, to get back to the car, what if the car could drive itself? Would you still complain because there was no steering wheel (which would do nothing), brake (which would do nothing), and so on? Leaving aside the question of whether or not you would expect a Microsoft car to crash, if the car did something totally different, you wouldn't expect it to have the same, familiar, controls for no reason at all.

    The actual situation isn't as extreme as a self-driving car versus a car you drive yourself, as both VB6 and VB.NET are just programming languages that you have to write yourself. They both create apps, but both cars could also just be seen as vehicles to transport you from A to B, so you can't take the analogies too far. However, the question is whether the differences in the means of creating an App in VB6 vs. VB.NET are sufficient to justify the differences between the two languages, and I would say that they are. There are a few things that can be done more easily in VB6, but not very many. The number of things that can be done more easily in .NET are numerous, even if you leave out the more arcane stuff such as LINQ (which I have come to dislike) and lambdas (on which I am neutral). If the apps you write in .NET are exactly the same as what you would write in VB6, such that you are writing a VB6 app using the .NET language, then you will see ALL the advantages of VB6 and few of the advantages of .NET. On the other hand, if you were to try to create something as simple as an efficient Stack in VB6, which is a single line in .NET, you'd find it mighty difficult, and I think that you'd have to rely on people using it in certain ways because you couldn't force people to use it right. Even worse would be multithreading. Technically impossible would be runtime polymorphism. So, writing VB6 in .NET would be painful, but writing some .NET in VB6 would be nearly impossible. Writing .NET in .NET is easier than writing VB6 in VB6, for the most part, but you do have that learning curve to get over.

    Lots of people stick with VB6. Lots of programs in VB6 still need to be maintained. Lots of people don't like change, too. There are lots of Civil War re-enacters, too. It's hard to say what the motivations of people are. I expect that they are myriad.
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    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Hinklestein View Post
    Why can't they simply improve on what people already know and are accustomed to instead of heading off on a completely new tangent
    That's exactly what they did. And boy did they really improve. Only when I started writing serious code in VB.Net did I realize what a monumental mess VB6 really was. VB.Net is everything VB6 should have been.

    To be fair though, VB6 can interface with unmanaged code more naturally than VB.Net which is about the only thing its better at.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    The bandwagon gains some steam:

    Android notebooks? Yep, Intel says, and they'll only cost $200

    The next PC game-changer – The Android-powered PC

    Something to consider, if only another place to develop programming skills. You can hedge your bets and do both.

  10. #10
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    To be quite honest, I really wished non of these other OSes gained any steam. My reasoning is selfish though. I've been coding for MS's OSes(DOS and then Windows) for 20+ years now. My greatest fear is needing another 20+ years to learn a completely new set of APIs for a new OS. Also, from what I've read about other IDEs, I can only conclude that Visual Studio is by far the most productive IDE on the planet. Android becoming a mainstream desktop OS is really not something I'm looking forward to. I hope I'm long dead by the time that happens.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    I hope they don't take off, too. I remember the misery of trying to figure out whether a program was available for your particular platform. What a joy it would be to end up back in that situation.
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    After such a long time learning, using, and programming for Windows (and for that matter MS-DOS before that) change can be daunting to face. Maybe even a little claustrophobic. But with Windows 8 changing the game, and no clear idea of how Windows will mutate beyond that in the future, and the rise of other platforms... it never hurts to start opening horizons a little.

    This matters even more for programmers. Users have a learning curve (curse?) but nothing like the depth software development requires once you move beyond "Hello World" and programmable calculator levels of programming.

    I don't think there is any "one path" for everyone nor should there be. However those dealing with VB6's end of life face a fork in the road anyway.

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    However those dealing with VB6's end of life face a fork in the road anyway.
    Only in the mind of a VB6 programmer. Once upon a time the mere suggestion that I should move from my precious VB6 into non-native bloat called VB.Net would have been met with extreme prejudice by me.....Until I said f*** it and threw aside my prejudice, tried VB.Net, only to find myself saying time and time again "I've always wanted this feature". Most surprisingly, my migration from VB6 to VB.Net was painless. In practically no time I was able to bend this new thing to my will because it was similar enough to my once cherished VB6 yet it was so different. It offered ways of doing many many things with much less code, or at least more elegant and easy to understand code. Trust me when I tell you, that its not hard to move from VB6 to VB.Net.

    Now in contrast.....Recently I had a conversation about the iPhone/iPad etc and in sheer curiosity, I decided to look up topics on programming these iOS devices. I didn't just look up marketing fluff but stuff like you see on these forums, guys familiar with programming it just talking about it, asking questions etc. I even looked up some guides for beginners. And man, let me tell you, just looking at that strange language(Objective C) made me sick . I just had no clue what anything meant. Then I started to wonder, just how much didn't I know ?

    Eg. What APIs do they use for drawing to the screen ? Do they have something like a Device Context in iOS ? Does the iOS have a messaging system with a message queue and message loop ? If so, does it have direct equivalents to messages like WM_PAINT ? Can you replace a window procedure in iOS ? Does the iOS even consider every widget as a separate window ? Does the iOS API have a BitBlt, StretchBlt, AlphaBlend ? Does it have an equivalent to layered windows ? Are windows thread specific in the iOS ?.....I could go on and on and on and on.

    My point is, its not really fair to consider a migration across OSes/platforms in the same league as migrating from VB6 to VB.Net or even C#. 90% of what you know will still be relevant.
    Last edited by Niya; May 7th, 2013 at 10:27 AM.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    Only in the mind of a VB6 programmer.
    How so?

    It seems to me that VB6 has had a darned good run. The real game changer is what may happen to Windows down the road. I would not be at all surprised to find that VB6 programs will still be supported for the next few iterations of Windows (Windows is moving from major releases and service packs to higher frequency small updates now). But as time goes on the incentives for a programmer to leave VB6 behind are greater and greater.

    I'm not sure taking another path is an invalid choice. I suspect many people may branch out covering multiple platforms. This isn't a whole lot different from getting on the Web bandwagon in years past.

    The reason this isn't like the fizzled Linux movement of the past is that unlike Linux the major mobile platforms offer huge markets. This means places to sell your work, job possibilities, and more portable computing for personal use.

    But we'll wave to you guys back there from time to time as Windows gets left behind.

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    I have faith that Windows would stand strong....at least until I die of natural causes. Its still the most dominant desktop OS and it has the most productive IDEs for development(As far as I've read anyway). I see no reason why that would change anytime soon. I expect MS to be smart about how they choose to direct the evolution of Windows in the future. I expect them to get it wrong from time to time(Windows ME anyone ?) but they always come through eventually(XP, Win7 ).

    As for future versions of Windows breaking VB6....I don't think that would cause a mass migration of developers from Windows to other platforms. I suspect that the people who do move were contemplating it long before. As I've said previously, its much easier to learn to new language/development environment for the same OS that it is to learn them for a different OS.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    The reason a lot of people are having a tough time moving from VB6 to .NET is because VB6 (and early) was never an object oriented language, more like Object Based. VB6 has lots of static function where you dont really have to use any objects, they are just there: like CStr() function e.g. In .NET pretty much all objects have .ToString() method. So you just have to look at your code from a little different angle.

    If you learn fundamental OO principles, .NET will be a walk in a park. I used to LOVE VB6, I've done things with it which the language itself wasn't really meant to do. Once I've started playing with VB.NET beta (back in 2000 without Visual Studio), it seemed a little foreign. I was still moving along, trying to overcome obstacles on the way, then I've tried C# and could never go back to VB.NET. The syntax is so much cleaner, it made more sense. You should really give yourself a chance, it just takes a little practice and patience.

    P.S. C# is 90-95% similar to Java. I've written in both Java and C# and its very close (minus some proprietary libraries that exist in both languages).

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    However, to get back to the car, what if the car could drive itself? Would you still complain because there was no steering wheel (which would do nothing), brake (which would do nothing), and so on?

    [...]

    The actual situation isn't as extreme as a self-driving car versus a car you drive yourself, as both VB6 and VB.NET are just programming languages that you have to write yourself. They both create apps, but both cars could also just be seen as vehicles to transport you from A to B, so you can't take the analogies too far.
    One thing is that we are very far from a self-driving car (to stick to the car example) and another is that there are far more considerations than just how fast/complicated it is to learn a/the new language and tools (IDE).

    I had the same problem Larry had - very long time of VB experience, very productive in VB. I tried .net, I gave it 2 chances, but I could not get warm with .net. The Microsoft-IDE is far from being intuitive, over-complicated and bloatware. I ended up using sharpdevelop for the very little C# work I did so far.

    But anyway, after getting aware, that I cannot reuse most of the existing know-how from VB classic in .net, I decided to take a broader look at the software development scene. I discovered that the times of windows-only software will be over soon. People who still believe that the future will keep being windows-only on the desktop are simply blind. So if you have to learn something new then it should be long-term-oriented and platform-independent. Learning a new language every 2-3 years is definitely not the most productive strategy.

    I ended up using Java for the most of my new projects. I cannot share the opinion that C# and Java is so similar. Basic syntax is very similar but libraries and behaviour is very different. Just one example: Microsoft dumped checked exceptions idea from Java because they found it to create bloated code and blocks the programmer in getting further (this is a personal abstract of their statements I heard on several .net conferences). In reality they did not understand when to use unchecked exceptions and when to use the checked ones. I prefer Java where both exists - and there are other examples where I prefer the Java way.

    One of the biggest arguments again .net from my point of view: Microsoft will never ever really help developers in doing platform independent development until Windows is dead.

    Oh, somebody mentioned support: The example of VB classic is the worst I ever experienced. It is basically the discontinue of a complete language with no way of smooth transition. Would I have sticked to Pascal, C(++) the other two languages I have learned in the beginning of my computer days, I would have not experienced such an end. C(++) of course is still fully alive and even Pascal still remained basically the same and with Lazarus you can even do platform independent development. I will never ever trust again in Microsoft deciding the programming future for me!
    Using VB5 SP6, VBS, Java

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    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwildam View Post
    I decided to take a broader look at the software development scene. I discovered that the times of windows-only software will be over soon. People who still believe that the future will keep being windows-only on the desktop are simply blind.
    The .Net Framework is Microsoft's implementation of the CLI. Its very misleading to suggest that VB.Net or C# are Windows desktop specific. Like it or not .Net is here to stay.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    we are very far from a self-driving car
    The self driving car analogy was imperfect (and Shaggy acknowledged it was) but perhaps a better one would be electric windows. I would be horrified to find my shiny new car had handle to wind the windows up because I know there is a better and simpler tool available to achieve the same purpose. Of course there was a culture shock the first time I saw a button to operate an electric window and there was a brief period I had to spend working out which direction I had to push it to make the window go up but this was followed by a slightly less brief period of euphoria as I wound the window up and down continuallly while grinning and giggling inanely. For me .Net was a similar experience. At first I thought, "Aarrgh, what's the hells this FileSystem object? What am I supposed to do with that". This was followed by my sense of heady elation as I realised just how much easier it made it for me to move files around on the disk.

    By the way, my new car has a button that makes the wing mirrors fold back. I think I'm supposed to use to make the car more streamlined when I want to drive really fast. Vvvrrrrooooommm!
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    The .Net Framework is Microsoft's implementation of the CLI. Its very misleading to suggest that VB.Net or C# are Windows desktop specific. Like it or not .Net is here to stay.
    I knew that, but this is theory. This is the argument of the Microsoft guys, but as long as nobody else is implementing that standard for other environments that argument is pretty worthless. Compatibility in practice with Mono for example is very limited. Of course .net is here to stay - in the Windows world and as long as Microsoft will like it. It is already broken by design in my opinion as you need to decide on compilation wheather to compile against Mono or Microsoft .net. Not the case for Java where you compile once and run anywhere (of course only as long as you don't use platform specific exits or native calls).

    Don't worry, there is enough market for .net programs and developers.
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    The self driving car analogy was imperfect (and Shaggy acknowledged it was) but perhaps a better one would be electric windows. [...]
    By the way, my new car has a button that makes the wing mirrors fold back. I think I'm supposed to use to make the car more streamlined when I want to drive really fast.

    For me .Net was a similar experience.
    ok, seriously: What features in .net or a current version of Visual Studio really improved your productivity in the .net world, what you didn't have in VB classic and what you don't have in other programming languages and IDEs?

    The only real advantage in using .net I can see is: You have less problems accessing native Microsoft stuff (Windows, Office and the like) and you get the Microsoft Windows look-and-feel (of course not always for the newest widgets that Microsoft is using themselves) - but that's it. If you need that go with .net but don't forget about the price that you pay for that (you loose platform independence and you depend on the will of Microsoft).

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    At first I thought, "Aarrgh, what's the hells this FileSystem object? What am I supposed to do with that". This was followed by my sense of heady elation as I realised just how much easier it made it for me to move files around on the disk.
    First, the FileSystem object is available in VB classic also - so nothing new here. Second: Everything I need to do with files or folders already have been one-liners for me in VB classic. In opposite, basic file operations are more work and more lines of code in .net. So again, nothing really better here (if not worse).

    BTW: My bosses give a sh* on technical details. He wants to see quick solutions. Just the claim, that a lot of code has to be rewritten just for the sake of yet-another-new standard or programming language, they only get angry. Try to see it from a practical view.
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  22. #22
    Super Moderator FunkyDexter's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    What features in .net or a current version of Visual Studio really improved your productivity in the .net world, what you didn't have in VB classic
    Probably the best example I can give you is one I gave in another thread: Dynamic Menus. Creating them in VB Classic was an absolute nightmare. You had to implement Windows menus and intercept the windows messages which would in turn muck up the behaviour of your ide. I spent about a month implemeting a decent dynamic menu for an employer once in classic. In .Net I can do it in half an hour or less.

    Probably the second one for me would be the ability to add and remove event handlers without the need to litter your code with "ignoreThisClickEvent" variables.

    Proper inheritance including the ability to override the constructor has got to come in as a pretty big win too.

    Hey, how about declarative properties.

    Or proper multi-threading support as opposed to some bogus "apartment" concept.

    Ooh, how about databinding that actually works. Or a properly implemented data entity abstraction (entity framework). Or a consistent querying paradigm that can be applied consistently to all types of collections, data tables etc (that would be linq).

    If you honestly believe .Net didn't offer productivity benefits over VB Classic you obviously haven't made a realistic effort to actually use it.

    the FileSystem object is available in VB classic
    Nope, the FileSystemObject was available. The lack of a space is quite important but only in distuguishing which we're talking about. What's more important are the relative implementations and the .Net one is far superior.

    Just the claim, that a lot of code has to be rewritten just for the sake of yet-another-new standard or programming language
    This is pre-emptive refactoring and is a dumb as mud thing to do. You should only be rewriting the code if it stops working or ceases to be fit for purpose. At that point you have a choice to migrate the language or not and either choice can be valid depending on your business context.
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    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Frankly, the idea of write-once run-anywhere has been around since the early 90s. C/C++ had that promise, early on, because C code was C code, and you only had to compile against different platforms. That never worked out and never really came close. Java was then offered up as the next truly cross-platform language, but that promise wasn't realized by the time .NET showed up. MS wanted .NET to fill that niche, and it hasn't. Perhaps Java truly is cross platform. I certainly haven't looked at it for several years, but I'd be surprised if there weren't a whole lot of caveats to that claim. Heck, you added some serious caveats, yourself, when you talked about not making native calls. How native are we talking about? For me to be interested in a cross platform language, at this point in my career, what I REALLY need it to be able to do is exploit the graphics hardware on the target system. Understand that I don't need it to be able to do graphics, every language does that. I need it to be able to make full use of whatever graphics hardware is available.

    .NET has GDI, but GDI is CPU graphics. You also have access to DirectX, though it isn't exactly seemless as far as I can tell. In addition to that there is XNA (which may go extinct, or already be going extinct), and WPF (hard to say what the future of this one is), both of which make use of the graphics hardware. I'm currently using XNA, but I expect that it is going to cease to function at some point in the future. What does Java have that gets to the hardware, and will it work in a truly cross-platform way such that you can write a program and have it run on Apple, MS, ARM tablets, and so forth, while fully exploiting the graphics hardware available on each system?
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwildam View Post
    ok, seriously: What features in .net or a current version of Visual Studio really improved your productivity in the .net world, what you didn't have in VB classic and what you don't have in other programming languages and IDEs?
    LOL, you're joking right ? Well FD already covered some things so I'll just leave this here:-

    Visual Studio 6(VB6)


    Visual Studio 2005+(VB.Net/C#)


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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Didn't post #2 pretty much resolve the thread?

    Almost everything else posted since has been thinly-veiled or overt attacks on the OP for his conclusion.

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Who's attacking ? Its all good here
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    The thread died in May, then got resurrected three months later from a different perspective. Since mwildam is big on Java, I'm interested in what he has to say about the graphics usage in cross-platform Java. I'd have to say that I haven't looked very closely at Java because I started out in the 90s when Java was consistently failing to live up to the goals that were set for it. If there truly was a language that would create a program that could run on any platform and that made use of the graphics hardware (if there is any dedicated graphics hardware) of the platform in question, then that would be of interest to me. I doubt there is, but I realize that my doubt of Java stems from how it was in the 90s, and things have changed quite a bit since then. Most notably, there really isn't the Motorola/Intel divide between Mac/Windows that existed back then. Apple is largely using the same graphics hardware that is found in Windows systems, though they don't have the whole diversity, of course. DirectX could enumerate the capabilities of the hardware and emulate in software that which wasn't offered up by the hardware. More importantly, it allowed the user to see what capabilites existed and avoid using those that would have to be emulated. So, the potential is there that a language could be cross-platform and still use the graphics hardware, I just don't know that anything like DirectX crosses platforms.
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    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    I just don't know that anything like DirectX crosses platforms.
    OpenGL.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Dynamic Menus. Creating them in VB Classic was an absolute nightmare. You had to implement Windows menus and intercept the windows messages which would in turn muck up the behaviour of your ide. I spent about a month implemeting a decent dynamic menu for an employer once in classic. In .Net I can do it in half an hour or less.
    Agree, application menus were a mess. Manipulated them partly using Windows API, as far as I remember.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Probably the second one for me would be the ability to add and remove event handlers without the need to litter your code with "ignoreThisClickEvent" variables.
    Can't agree with that. While the handler thing in .net and Java is a cleaner thing than old VB classic method the event handling was simpler in VB classic. Even the rookie could understand it immediately.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Proper inheritance including the ability to override the constructor has got to come in as a pretty big win too.
    I agree that this feature was missing and is a win, but in my software designs I mostly tend to prefer composition over inheritance, so I never really missed that in VB classic.

    [QUOTE=FunkyDexter;4490401]Or proper multi-threading support as opposed to some bogus "apartment" concept.]/QUOTE]
    Oh yes, already forgot about that. Writing multi-threaded apps was a pain. I got it to work with Windows-API and sticking to VB5. On VB6 the multi-threaded apps permanently crashed the IDE. Interestingly VB5 was more stable in that regard.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    Ooh, how about databinding that actually works. Or a properly implemented data entity abstraction (entity framework).
    I always did the databinding on my own. Don't know any language or library were that works as I want it.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    If you honestly believe .Net didn't offer productivity benefits over VB Classic you obviously haven't made a realistic effort to actually use it.
    I said: "what you didn't have in VB classic AND what you don't have in other programming languages and IDEs?"
    Of course after about 15 years other languages and development environments got new stuff that pushes productivity. The point is: When you switch from VB classic to something completely new (as there is no smooth transition from VB classic to .net) why must it be .net (VB.net or C#) and not Java, Python or whatever other language and tools? That was my big question after finding out that there would be no chance of a bit of smooth transition from VB classic to .net. And so I started out looking at other languages too. And basically that was what I wanted to point out to the OP: When he doesn't like VB.net and C#, there are other choices in reach too.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    This is pre-emptive refactoring and is a dumb as mud thing to do. You should only be rewriting the code if it stops working or ceases to be fit for purpose.
    Agree, refactoring features were completely missing apart from search & replace. I like to have those features now but this is again something I need very seldom. Maybe I do just think well and long-term beforehand and I do only a very few refactoring.

    Quote Originally Posted by FunkyDexter View Post
    At that point you have a choice to migrate the language or not and either choice can be valid depending on your business context.
    I think, the business context is very important for the choice. Somebody in game development may choose something completely different than somebody writing server applications.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    [...]what I REALLY need it to be able to do is exploit the graphics hardware on the target system. Understand that I don't need it to be able to do graphics, every language does that. I need it to be able to make full use of whatever graphics hardware is available.[...]
    Probably when graphics hardware direct access and performance is important then neither VB classic, nor .net nor Java is the best solution. Just a guess because I am very far away from writing such applications. Here it comes again to business context needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    The thread died in May, then got resurrected three months later from a different perspective. Since mwildam is big on Java, I'm interested in what he has to say about the graphics usage in cross-platform Java.
    OpenGL was mentioned, but as mentioned, I am not a graphics or game developer.
    I can see a different perspective, as you say. However, I do see it very related to the dilemma of the OP. And while mentioning that I have chosen Java, I did not want to talk anybody in using Java. Python was also also a favorite on my list besides others and it was not easy to decide. Python has also windows-API and COM interoperability (which is important for me as in some cases I need to interact with COM components when running on Windows). Most of my client applications are used on Windows machines, but when it comes to server applications Linux support is important as many servers run Linux nowadays.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    I'd have to say that I haven't looked very closely at Java because I started out in the 90s when Java was consistently failing to live up to the goals that were set for it. If there truly was a language that would create a program that could run on any platform and that made use of the graphics hardware (if there is any dedicated graphics hardware) of the platform in question, then that would be of interest to me. I doubt there is, but I realize that my doubt of Java stems from how it was in the 90s, and things have changed quite a bit since then. Most notably, there really isn't the Motorola/Intel divide between Mac/Windows that existed back then.
    I handed over the last client app I wrote in Java to a friend having a Mac (by simply sending him the .jar file) and it worked smoothly although I never tested it on a Mac. I cannot have every architecture with me and test every change on every OS so I am pretty happy if I can rely on a compatible runtime that abstracts the OS differences for me. Of course YMMV.

    But I really didn't want to start a flame war (although I probably could have seen it beforehand that mentioning something else than .net in this Forum may offend some of those who already made the choice to .net or didn't even think of alternatives and just did what Microsoft told them...).

    Even if I don't see the problem of replying to an only about 3-months old thread I do respect the wish and not continue to ride the dead horse/thread.
    Using VB5 SP6, VBS, Java

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    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwildam View Post
    That was my big question after finding out that there would be no chance of a bit of smooth transition from VB classic to .net. And so I started out looking at other languages too. And basically that was what I wanted to point out to the OP: When he doesn't like VB.net and C#, there are other choices in reach too.
    You found that the transition from VB6 to VB.Net wasn't smooth presumably because of how different VB.Net was from VB6, yet you ended up settling on something even more dissimilar from VB6. You can copy lots of code from VB6 and it would work as is or with tiny changes in VB.Net, you cannot at all with Java. Your reasoning doesn't sound rational at all.

    Sounds more like you were you were expecting VB.Net to be an upgraded VB6 like VB6 was to VB5 and you were thoroughly disappointed that it wasn't so. They pulled the carpet out from under you by making VB.Net something different and you decided that you're gonna stick it to MS by going with something totally different. In other words, it looks like your choice was based more in emotion than practicality.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

  31. #31
    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    As for the whole point of the thread. I made something that may help others with the same question decide :-

    Name:  Meme.png
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    You can copy lots of code from VB6 and it would work as is or with tiny changes in VB.Net, you cannot at all with Java. Your reasoning doesn't sound rational at all.
    No, that didn't work even in VB.net. I tried with a few code pieces. None of them worked in .net.

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    They pulled the carpet out from under you by making VB.Net something different and you decided that you're gonna stick it to MS by going with something totally different. In other words, it looks like your choice was based more in emotion than practicality.
    I could not avoid every emotion during that evaluation period, but of course there were also plenty of rationales and practicalities that drove me away from .net. One of those - already mentioned - was that if there is totally new stuff to learn when moving from VB Classic to .net I have the same situation as if learning something completely new/different. And that made me think about my desire to create platform independent solutions and other wishes. I also liked the one-jar-file contains everything simple deployment.
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  33. #33
    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwildam View Post
    No, that didn't work even in VB.net. I tried with a few code pieces. None of them worked in .net.
    I did that with an entire app. It took an afternoon. There are some changes that need to be made, so only certain, simple, methods can be directly copied and expected to work, and even then they won't be all that efficient. After all, the fundamental integer type in classic VB was the Long (32-bit Integer), but .NET matched the ANSI C/C++ conventions and made Long a 64-bit integer, which is slightly slower to work with, especially on 32-bit systems. Therefore, at the very least, Long in Classic should be changed to Integer in .NET.

    Considering how well Apple has done at emulating Windows, I would expect that any client written in .NET would probably be runable on an Apple, as well. Apple has put lots of effort into emulating. I don't deal with them either, though, so all I can go on is what my few Apple friends tell me (they tend to be a passionate bunch, though, and there is generally an "everything runs better on Apple" in any such conversation, so I'm not sure I trust them).

    As for graphics, that really is my concern, at the moment, even though the app is line of business. The interface couldn't be rendered fast enough using GDI. By using some clever caching of partial images, I got the performance into the acceptable range (no pause at all), but there were actions that forced me to clear my caches and redraw the whole screen. When those actions were few and far between, I had no issue with spending 10-15 seconds re-building the caches, but then I added a much more significant feature that people would use frequently, and a 10-15 second pause became too onerous to bear. At that point, I moved to using the graphics subsystem and scrapping the caching. Without caching, I have to redraw the entire screen VERY frequently. In normal use, it might be more than once a second. However, by using the graphics subsystem, even my laptop, which doesn't have much in the way of graphics hardware, is able to redraw the whole screen in a few milliseconds, which is faster than the eye can perceive. This is excellent, but it means that I am tied to languages that allow access to the graphics card. In MS, that pretty much means DirectX, as there is no reason I know of to deal with the hardware directly when you have a library to do it for you. However, DirectX doesn't exist everywhere. I was thinking that OpenGL was fading out, too.

    It's a frustrating situation. I have no problem being tied to Windows, as I can mandate that, though tablet apps would be viable options down the road. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like even MS knows where MS is going with graphics. XNA is an excellent means to interact with the graphics card in .NET, and VB6 could use DirectX directly...though with a fair amount of pain to the user relative to how XNA is for .NET (still some pain, just not as much). On the other hand, MS has made some noise about leaving graphics to unmanaged C++. So, I'd look at another language that dealt with graphics hardware well, and still allowed for RAD. It sounds like you don't know whether Java interacts with the hardware, at all, let alone whether or not their solution is portable across platforms. My feeling is that it is not, but I may have to look one of these days.
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    As for the whole point of the thread. I made something that may help others with the same question decide :-
    What is the meaning of the quad bike for Java?
    when you quote a post could you please do it via the "Reply With Quote" button or if it multiple post click the "''+" button then "Reply With Quote" button.
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightwalker83 View Post
    What is the meaning of the quad bike for Java?
    That quad bike is an all-terrain vehicle that can move on all kinds of terrain. Java is often praised for the ability of its apps to run on multiple platforms.
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    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Niya View Post
    That quad bike is an all-terrain vehicle that can move on all kinds of terrain. Java is often praised for the ability of its apps to run on multiple platforms.
    Does it though?
    when you quote a post could you please do it via the "Reply With Quote" button or if it multiple post click the "''+" button then "Reply With Quote" button.
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nightwalker83 View Post
    Does it though?
    Java was designed to be cross platform so I will not be shocked if it can run apps in different platforms although I have no personal experience to attest to it as I normally just use windows OS.
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dee-u View Post
    Java was designed to be cross platform so I will not be shocked if it can run apps in different platforms although I have no personal experience to attest to it as I normally just use windows OS.
    Yes, it does - in general. And so does Python (GUI via wxwidgets), Ruby, FreePascal (http://www.lazarus.freepascal.org/) and others.
    Of course you have options to call exits to platform specific features as that is needed in some cases to integrate on platform x with a and on platform b with y. If you use such features then of course your program or parts of it then only run on that particular platform.

    There are a few platform specific behaviours that might affect also behaviour of your program. For example file locking is working completely different on Linux than on Windows. On Linux you can update your application files without problems. You will never get an error that you cannot update your file because it is in use. Therefore when programming cross-platform you should not design your application to rely on a behaviour that is Windows-only. Example for this: When you have a multithreaded batch job that is processing several files in parallel, it is not a good idea to just check if the file is locked to avoid parallel processing of the same file again. - So when starting platform independent in development it helps knowing about such differences on other platforms and design your program accordingly. Then it runs the same way on all platforms.

    However, the language basics work in the same way on all platforms. Partly this applies also when trying to run a .net app on Mono under Linux. However, this is not as seamless and more limited as for other languages (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mono_%28software%29).
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    Web developer Nightwalker83's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Quote Originally Posted by mwildam View Post
    Yes, it does - in general. And so does Python (GUI via wxwidgets)
    I wasn't aware it ran on OSX, and other Apple operating systems? I have not tested this. Cool! I have started experimenting in Python.
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    Angel of Code Niya's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative to VB.net ?

    Do any of you know if there are any IDE's out there for Java or Python that is comparable in sheer power to Visual Studio ? And I mean the later versions of VS like 2005 and up. I've researched this before and there seems to be a general consensus that nothing beats VS. I don't really want to believe this is true. Then again, if Windows stays relevant, it won't matter.
    Treeview with NodeAdded/NodesRemoved events | BlinkLabel control | Calculate Permutations | Object Enums | ComboBox with centered items | .Net Internals article(not mine) | Wizard Control | Understanding Multi-Threading | Simple file compression | Demon Arena


    C++ programmers will dismiss you as a cretinous simpleton for your inability to keep track of pointers chained 6 levels deep and Java programmers will pillory you for buying into the evils of Microsoft. Meanwhile C# programmers will get paid just a little bit more than you for writing exactly the same code and VB6 programmers will continue to whitter on about "footprints". - FunkyDexter

    There's just no reason to use garbage like InputBox. -jmcilhinney

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