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  1. #1

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    vb6 trans compiling?

    Hello,

    Like many on this user board I am proficient in vb6, but the language has it's limits... mainly cross platform ability.

    I ran across this project that proposes a vb6 trans compiler that would use other open source compilers to transcompile vb6 code using other compilers like c++/GTK, Lazarus, Etc.

    It seems like a really great idea to the cross platform solution.

    Does anyone here have an opinion on whether this is actually feasible and can help move our vb6 coding skills to use for future projects?

    Is there any other projects like this?

    forgot to post the link: http://www.vb64.com/

    thanks!

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Of course it's possible. Schmidt and myself have considered this. QB64 does this. (Not sure about PowerBasic and FreeBasic)

    Where do you think https://www.b4x.com/ came from? They did it, and decided to make money from it
    Last edited by DEXWERX; Jan 23rd, 2017 at 11:59 AM.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by DEXWERX View Post
    Of course it's possible. Schmidt and myself have considered this. QB64 does this.

    Where do you think https://www.b4x.com/ came from? They did it, and decided to make money from it
    My point was that most vb6 wanna be's are not compatible, the syntax changes are plentiful. It appears he is proposing a much closer syntax compatibility.

    Also transcompiling to Java.. is just like the .net model which uses JIT, unlike our preferred Native code ( the reason many of us use vb6)

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by axisdj View Post
    My point was that most vb6 wanna be's are not compatible, the syntax changes are plentiful. It appears he is proposing a much closer syntax compatibility
    Right. That's quite a minor issue though. Once you control the compiler - you can change the syntax how you see fit. And once you branch out to other platforms - why keep the legacy syntax? It's much easier to morph it to something that makes more sense to you as the creator, and then keep people locked in to your platform.

    I'm being cynical of course.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by DEXWERX View Post
    Of course it's possible. Schmidt and myself have considered this. QB64 does this. (Not sure about PowerBasic and FreeBasic)

    Where do you think https://www.b4x.com/ came from? They did it, and decided to make money from it
    The B4X compilers are not magic or related to VB6 in any way. They simply translate from a series of similar Basic dialects into various target languages that vary by platform (the different values of "X"), finally invoking those compilers to generate code.

    This "VB6T4" thing appears to be vaporware, and from the wording of that page I doubt the guy is capable of creating such a thing. It looks like somebody bought some web space and went nuts making a few pages of gibberish.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    http://www.vbforums.com/newreply.php...eply&p=5131557

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    This "VB6T4" thing appears to be vaporware, and from the wording of that page I doubt the guy is capable of creating such a thing. It looks like somebody bought some web space and went nuts making a few pages of gibberish.
    Hmm.. I suspect you are confusing me with a snowflake my dear friend. :-) (I'm the guy behind it -- Thanks axisDJ for putting this out there, we need that). But I can understand you would feel this as there have been a lot of snowflakes and timewasters. Also, you must please understand I have not committed to this project yet, so you may yet be right. But lets be optimistic. Step 1, evaluation. Step 2, a low-cost (or freebie) using the VB5cce engine. Step 3, Indiegogo.

    My card: (on request -- pls see my profile or my company www.qsl.eu )

    Rest assured we are all in this together. MS took decades of investment in skills and products, and threw it in a black hole. Worse, the only RADs out there are not really tenable. But everyone's heard of VB and MS. The proof will not be in the technology so much as in the ability to show the market we are professional and mean business. Give RAD developers back a sense of self belief. Our biggest detractor is MS themselves. I suspect they fear software that hacks and cracks their OS.

    Ps: That website is using VB6 as an IIS (QSL code of course). It never crashes. You can see my/our other background on linked in.

    Wish us luck(yourself included). We are going to need it.
    Last edited by LOfADay; Jan 26th, 2017 at 05:07 PM. Reason: Needed to remove Linkedin info as a precaution / for privacy. Thanks.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    LOfADay, I hate to say it, but I'm with Dilettante on this one. I'd dearly love to see a bullet-proof knock-off of the VB6 IDE, but it ain't gonna happen. It's just WAY too much work for too little potential reward.

    And, truth be told, you're about 40 years too late. Trying something like this makes me think of the Altair BASIC days (from which VB6 came). They were at the frontier, doing something that nobody had done and everybody wanted. And even writing that little interpreter/OS was a VERY significant effort. Also, if you ever actually got something reasonable going, Microsoft would come after you with a plethora of lawsuits. As it stands, they know how ridiculous the whole idea is.

    And just to name off some other considerations: 1) You're really going to put a very large investment into something that Microsoft could rather instantly obsolete by deciding to release a VB7, or possibly release VB6 into the open-source world? You're certainly not going to get a smart investor to do that; 2) For it to be a successful open-source project, it'd need to have something VB6 doesn't, something like possibly cross-platform portability. For that, it'd almost have to be written in C. Therefore, you'd need a dedicated group of volunteers well versed in VB6 and C willing to throw themselves into this. I just don't think it's there. 3) Unless it just drop-dead compiles VB6 source, nobody is going to be interested. VB6 is still an alternative. Why would I look at your program, learning about all its bugs, when I already have four copies of VB6 sitting on my bookshelf? That's one of the primary reasons VB6 is that unkillable cockroach (as Platt says). It's just a finely tuned, finely evolved machine that's just not going to die.

    This particular market (well developed IDEs on Windows) is just extremely mature at this stage. I'm not exactly sure where the language development frontier is these days. There's possibly still some room in a language for developing 3D apps for all those goggles, or maybe something for 3D online worlds. I got a drone for Christmas. Maybe something to do with those things, as they're definitely going to get more popular.

    I do wish you the best of luck though.

    Regards,
    Elroy

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    A couple of points for all as I suspect www.vb64.com is a bit hard to digest -- As is pointed out above, once one has control over the compiler, you can seamlessly convert and add code to enhance the experience of the coder, give a cosmetic makeover to existing projects, and of course add functionality such as wrapped API, advanced error handling, testing.

    For full backward compatibility and legal use, this relies on your legitimate ownership of VB6. Previously I did one such IDE for someone else's compiler -- there is a screenshot on the "Draft Status" page.

    Elroy, I'm a director of a co with prestigious robotics projects, so yes, I did consider all points and carefully examined the legality of it. It will be partially written in C by a colleague.

    Above all, this is about retaining, consolidating, legitimising the use of VB6. I use VB6 as a RAD management tool to create a "living" functional description around which others re-code in C#. The makeover usually looks better but functions worse, and as a result, clients often opt to keep the VB6 code.

    Does anyone have any encouragement to offer? Do you really want it? Would you really pay into an indiegogo? As said, this is the feasibility stage and I can only hit the green button if I see a business case.

    If you want to see such a product, no more negativity please -- I'm afraid this forum is now permanently on the Internet as a dampener impacting future marketability. Some hostility was anticipated, but.... BTW Elroy, what's the "Good morning, vietnam" youtube link?

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Knowing full well the effort behind it, I think you should go for it, including the crowd funding.
    It would have to be transpiled to C++/COM/ATL.

    You'll need someone well versed in dissassembly and debugging, the VB runtime, as well as parsing/translating.
    The project is quite doable (I'm sure Schmidt can chime in as well) - it just takes a broad expertise, and lots of time.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by LOfADay View Post
    MS took decades of investment in skills and products, and threw it in a black hole.
    Decades? How do you figure that? VB6 came out in 1998 VB.Net was released in 2002 so that is hardly decades. Even if you go all the way back to VB 1 which is way different than VB6 you still only get 11 years.

    The only way to get to decades is if you stubbornly kept clear of .Net and continued to use only VB5/6 for the last 20+ years

    There is also no black hole, Skills learned in VB can still be used in VB.Net and VB6 apps still work in the latest versions of Windows.
    Last edited by DataMiser; Jan 24th, 2017 at 07:24 AM.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    I don't think people can visualize the result... so unfortunately I think until there is a demo, that show the process, it won't make much traction.

    Many people have come and went with half baked vb6 replacements... but I think this idea is much different.

    Being able to write code in vb6 and then compile with Lazarus(and the like) compiler would offer cross platform compatibility and a move foward

    LofADay, If you have partially done this before, I would suggest some tangible product .. I dont think people will get it until then. I know the problem is even that is a huge amount of work.

    the other thing I have found is VB6 folks are in hiding... they are all over this world maintaining huge systems and are very hard to get to.

    I urge you to go for it!

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Hi Datamiser, axisDJ. @DEXWERX -- many thanks, much appreciated. No disassembly needed (illegal anyway :-). Not so difficult - I wrote a TransCompiler with hash compiling for high-speed as mentioned before (it was withdrawn as TGC stopped updating their compiler). You will see section 5 includes C++ as a future TransCompile target. One input language, many output languages -- including PIC! As you say @AxisDJ, a lot of hard work even to do a demo (hence many thanks for starting this so I can ascertain interest first).

    A couple of tips for you guys.. I already use the VB5 IDE itself to TransCompile to Python, Darkbasic and PIC (via GCBasic), all of which were profitable projects. I also tried it with Ansi C which worked well except string handling. VB's tight syntax checking makes coding a breeze, and once you know the input is correct, translation is child's play. I'm sure you can work out how. However that is internal use only. Note that VB5cce is a free download. I started this http://tinyurl.com/jnaowjo to reinstate-vb5cce (Pls vote) to get MS to stop trying to hide it (they made it a free in 1997 -- http://tinyurl.com/zze63k8). VB5cce only creates OCXs but you can launch them from a *.vbs and the resulting app works perfectly in Win10 64 bit. Indeed, VB5cce IDE still installs and runs on W10/64 (but needs admin rights and help fails)!

    @Datamiser -- VB6 is not in competition with *.net. For some things, *.net is great. However, yes "decades" as I worked on VB3 from 1992 and VB classic hasn't changed much. I paid a lot of money for vb.net and found it unusable for the 20+ form s/w we sold... after employing a specialist, it took forever to run and crashed constantly. I recently downloaded VSC 2015 and found little improvement. I'm a PCB design engineer by trade and only started coding when my co was badly let down by a team of SCO xenix developers. Thereafter, VB& made me well over $2m of sales, which stopped dramatically when MS not only discontinued it, they publicly disowned it to much fanfare about COM being rubbish etc -- immediately making VB6 professionals look stupid and greatly impacting sales as a result. This project is in part about reversing that and giving people like me RAD back. If I and many others had not laid formal complaints with MS (and threatened Iegal action), I doubt VB6 would still run in Windows 10. Curiously, VB6 is back in fashion and I know rail industry consultants now approve it's use again (put simply because they know it's rock solid), however, I know they'd be a lot happier if I called it VB64 and was able to say it's still fully supported. :-)
    Last edited by LOfADay; Jan 24th, 2017 at 09:15 AM.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by LOfADay View Post
    Hi Datamiser, axisDJ. @DEXWERX -- many thanks, much appreciated. No de-compiling needed (illegal anyway :-) -- I have written a TransCompiler with hash compiling for high-speed. As mentioned, I've done one before (it was withdrawn as TGC stopped updating their compiler). You will see section 5 includes C++ as a future TransCompile target. One input language, many output languages -- including PIC! As you say
    Decompiling the runtime is illegal - not the compiled executable.
    As for targetting C++ as a future target, I'd have to strongly disagree.
    It should be the first target if you plan on supporting COM Automation/OLE Types/ String Handling and all related VB6 quirks, not to mention the language itself is cross platform.
    What other single language could you possibly target over C++ ?

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    @DEXWERX , quite right ref decompile, my bad, but no need to do that either. Re the concept, perhaps we are missing the point :-) ...

    IF it is to load existing code without complaint, it MUST use the VB6 compiler (which you must own or obtain). Here's how it's controlled in CMD... "VB6.EXE PROJECT1.VBP /MAKE /OUT FOO.TXT" -- it's instant, the IDE does not flash up, it works in w10/64, and you can display FOO.BAR in your own IDE, taking the IDE to any affected line.

    Now people are going to say that's cheating, and yes it is. You don't need VB6T4, you can do this with Notepad++, Lazarus, etc etc .. but I have tried all these and found them unfamiliar and clutzy. They only colorise. Re-writing the IDE front-end is not so difficult. Doing a really robust strict syntax checker with predictive text like VS Intellisense is much more difficult, and that's the only clever bit I offer.

    Cheating or not, here's what you really get -- SUPPORT and to say you use VB6T4 (not VB6) .. thereby retaining client confidence and allowing you to market your skills. Then, THE ICING ON THE CAKE -- you can now use that IDE to enhance your code, and use Dartmouth Basic Syntax to control OTHER compilers. Keep in mind other compilers will need you to make amendments to your code (I'm no magician :-)).

    I now expect "but it's still VB6" and "why would I buy a new IDE for old tech?". All I can say is think it through please (no other way) and note I said all this on vb64.com from the outset. As Elroy said, if successful, I expect MS will come up with their own VB7. Good - we WANT that!

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Interesting. I did miss the point

    I'll just finish my tiny lib, and then become a magician.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    LOfADay,

    I apologize if you think I'm being negative. But I'm truly just trying to be honest. I've certainly got no hidden agenda to torpedo your project. In fact, I'd be delighted if you actually pulled it off. I'm still 99.9% dubious and skeptical, but hey ho, I wish you all the luck in the world.

    Truth be told, the only way I'd personally ever consider messing with a project like this (in terms of compiling my own code, or in terms of any participation in development), is if it were all an open source project. Otherwise, you're just asking entirely too much in terms of trust. How in the world are you ever going to assure me that this project just won't be dropped in a few years, leaving me in worse shape than I am now? The only way I could trust that this wouldn't happen is if it were all open source. And it doesn't sound like those are the colors of the sparkles in your eyes.

    Secondly, I'm no expert on the legalities of disassembly. I suspect if you disassembled the VB6 IDE, tweaked it, reassembled it, and then sold it as your own, that you'd be in big trouble. However, disassembly for the sake of understanding and ideas ... I'm much less clear about that.

    Having said that, to pull off a project like you suggest (and to be useful to me), it would need a high-level of the current VB6 functionality. Just to name a few items:
    • complete support of COM objects, implemented just as they are now.
    • compiling of ActiveX DLLs as well as EXEs.
    • full support of all intrinsic types, including Variants and UDTs.
    • full ability to develop Custom User Controls.
    • full support of Class modules, including With Events and Implements functionality.
    • in the IDE: full implementation of the Intellisense functionality.
    • in the IDE: complete ability to compile to p-code for testing.
    • in the IDE: full variable snooping, breaking, and code-stepping.


    And that's just a list off the top of my head.

    To pull this off, you are going to need some people who have a great deal of knowledge of the inner-workings of the VB6 IDE as well as the inner-workings of a COM based executable (both EXE and ActiveX). I won't mention names, but there are a few people on these forums with that knowledge. In fact, there are a few people here who seem to have completely disassembled the VB6 IDE.

    You also make me think about how I'd do this if I were so inclined. I'd take an approach similar to what Kernighan and Ritchie did during the development of C. At the time, they had nothing but an assembly language, but they knew that they didn't want to write the entire C compiler in assembly. So, what they did was write a "core" compiler in assembly, a compiler that would compile some essential elements of what they wanted in their proposed C language. Then, sticking within this core, they wrote the remainder of the C compiler in C. In other words, C compilers boot-strap themselves into existence.

    Regarding a VB6 IDE (and compiler, setting aside the whole Transcompiling issue), I'd take much the same approach. However, the starting language would be C, writing a "core" VB6 language. Then, using only this core, I'd write the remainder of the IDE and compiler in VB6 (sticking to the core).

    Just thinking about what a core VB6 would be (written in C), I'd limit myself to pure BAS modules that could be compile to an executable. I'd probably also severely limit the keywords allowed in the language. Using this core, I could write the remainder of the IDE and compiler in this core VB6 language and compile it with my C core compiler. Using this approach, you could tap into the vast resources of VB6 programmers to assist with writing the vast majority of the IDE and compiler. They might even enjoy the challenges of writing things in a core VB6 specification.

    And hey, again, I hope you pull it off.

    Regards,
    Elroy

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?


    Secondly, I'm no expert on the legalities of disassembly. I suspect if you disassembled the VB6 IDE, tweaked it, reassembled it, and then sold it as your own, that you'd be in big trouble. However, disassembly for the sake of understanding and ideas ... I'm much less clear about that.
    The only way to not be in trouble is to show that the work was done in isolation and no use of the existing code happened, in short, that you did parallel development w/o the use of the existing code as a guide in any way. You can look at the IDE and replicate the look and feel and functionality of it, but you can only use it as a visual reference, you can't copy or use the existing code as a base. If that makes sense. That's the way I understand it at least.

    -tg
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Thanks Elroy, I appreciate it. How do you format your bullet points? There is a Guarantee on the website of lifetime consistency -- "in summary paid-up users of the T4 IDE will have a right to the entire project proprietary source code, released as GNU GPL, in the event the software publisher can no longer support this solution." My company is 25 yrs old, properly formed and there are strict laws in place ensuring such guarantees are met by the administrators etc. If T4 is written VB6, this would give you the right to disassemble T4.

    As for Open Source, I am offering "closed releases" of source code for a fee (generally not exceeding $1000 .. so if you are a serious user, not forgetting that some banks still use VB6 in places, that would be an obvious option). As for Open Source collaboration, I have no idea how people can afford beautiful wives, children and mortgages that way, although I know some get sponsors.

    I am planning to open source certain parts of it mainly so that people can remap keypresses, apply their own menu layouts, add macros.

    Yes, I considered transcompiling to C or FreeBasic to write the IDE (that then wrote itself) in case there is fine print in the VB6 licence preventing using itself to write another IDE. I have scoured the licence and not found any such thing -- but if anyone knows otherwise, or a friendly Iawyer, please advise! They do explicitly forbid disassembly but that's normal. Thanks Tg for confirming that and adding detail.

    As for needing C for speed, not so. As said, I've done this before. If you compile in VB6 to machine language and turn off array bounds checking, I promise you it is 90% of the speed of C++. Somone did a JPEG compressor in VB6 -- I tried it and it is nearly as fast as anything else. I intend to dig that up and include it as one of the extra features. If interested, the trick to blinding speed is to HASH keywords and user-variables (the tiny hasher will likely be in ASM just converting to a 24bit number), then put them in vector look up arrays (never search/scan.. Forget "if then" or "select case" or "instr".. You will never write a decent program with that.) Once you have a fast rock solid "hasher", the rest comes together quite quickly. It wouldn't be difficult to make it compile down to machine language (which I used to code in), but there are so many great compilers out there already, there's no need. Appologies for my verbosity.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by LOfADay View Post
    @Datamiser -- VB6 is not in competition with *.net. For some things, *.net is great. However, yes "decades" as I worked on VB3 from 1992 and VB classic hasn't changed much.
    Hmm VB1 was released in 1991, VBDos and VB2 in the fall of 1992 so would have been a bit hard to work in VB3 back then

    You also can not count years spent after the newer languages were in full swing and life cycle of the older stuff was over. We are lucky that it still works at all. that is a lot more than you can say about a lot of software from last century.

    I tried the first RC edition of VB.Net and while it did some things very well overall I was not sold and did not use it much.
    VB2003 was much better and for the tasks I needed it for was the best tool out there.
    VB2005 saw a big improvement over 2003 and I like it a lot
    VB2008 more features added but not as big a jump as 2005

    Versions after 2008 have dropped support for Windows CE so I don't use them much.


    That said I would like to be able to run VB6 apps on another OS, android and linux would be great.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    For what it counts I'm 100% with Elroy on this.
    I could add a few things but it would certainly be seen as negativity, or even bashing.
    Carlos

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Duplicate of following post.
    Last edited by Shaggy Hiker; Jan 26th, 2017 at 09:50 AM. Reason: Edited as a suggestion.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    @DataMiser, oops.. Yes, my co started then. I think I first used vb3 in 1994.. Before that, masm. I mustn't turn this into a VS.net forum, but I actually tried VS Community just a few days ago to see if I could use it with the T4 IDE .. It took 5 hours to install! (I want VB6T4 to be able to install within mins as sometimes, the only way to debug on a troublesome target machine is to install the IDE on it). My W10 PC (4GB ram) may have run low on disk space causing slowness.


    @Carlos, thanks for thinking of my sensibilities -- I'm sure you can be constructive. We all need to keep positive. Anyway, keep in mind it simply uses "VB6.EXE PROJECT1.VBP /MAKE /OUT FOO.TXT" as said above. Thus it really will do all that list Elroy made (and I forgot to comment on).


    Ps: BadAssTechnologies has kindly just given permission to use his amazing VB64 logo on www.vb64.com

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Anyone have a view on the VB6 License fine print? Do you think it will allow/inhibit development of another IDE? (others forbade it). It might also state any produce of VB6 must only run on a Microsoft OS. VB5 had such a clause (preventing use on Linux via Wine).

    As a tool to make the T4 IDE, I think VB6 is best as you can decompile if you need (the T4 EULA will say you can't, but if it isn't supported, that EULA is void). Ps: There will be some C & ASM in it too.
    Last edited by LOfADay; Jan 25th, 2017 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Making query clearer
    www.vb64.com logo courtesy of BadAssTechnologies by permission & with thanks.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    I see nothing in the VB/VS 6.0 EULA that suggests you couldn't edit source files using any text editor you want to.

    The IDE only semi-compiles into p-code. For a native-code compile it passes that on to a modified version of the code generator of the VC++ 6.0 compiler (called C2.exe).

    If you could compile into something that C2 can process, I can't see why it wouldn't be legal to use that to generate code as long as you have a valid VB6 license and have installed VB6.


    But I still think you are radically underestimating the effort required for the kind of thing you are imagining.

    Niether QB64 nor FreePascal do even 1/4 of what VB6 does. Lazarus just tacks on a designer for some half-baked UI widget library, Qt as I recall. That doesn't mean they aren't useful, but they are more of a "dark world" DOS-like compiler loosely glued to various widget sets.

    Omitting native ActiveX support (I'm sure there are hacks to make it possible to use an ActiveX library here and there) means they'll always be weak on Windows. Having ActiveX support make them non-portable to non-Windows platforms.

    I just don't believe enough thought has gone into any of this. You may as well look at B4X or Xojo and be done with it.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by LOfADay View Post
    Do you think it will allow/inhibit development of another IDE? (others forbade it). (emphasis added)
    I'd sure be interested in seeing ANY language that's going to dictate to me where/how I do my composing. #chuckles and shakes head# I'm not at all sure how they'd go about that. I do a substantial amount of programming in Notepad++ and also occasionally use Eclipse. I dearly love the VB6 IDE, but nobody is going to tell me where/how I write my code, and I seriously doubt that anyone out there would try.

    And again, I apologize in advance if I'm being negative. That sentence just stuck in my craw.

    Regards,
    Elroy

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    I just recently switched to VS Code from NotePad++. Not that anyone cares, but if you do any web development you should check it out.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    @dilettante, feedback much appreciated and Iegal thoughts noted re the "half use". There was an IDE that specifically forbade the use of itself to write another IDE (but you make a good point Elroy.. I like it, we need that poassion) - I can't find the details now (I *think* it was PowerBasic). If anyone thinks there is a risk that the VB6 EULA might also specifically forbade the use of us using it to write another IDE, let me know.

    Re c2.exe and the linker -- very complex. There are some forums about it, and I wrote simple stubs to analyse command lines etc, but it uses some odd piping (it was a while back and have forgotten). However, the surprise is that controlling c2 through VB6.EXE (with /make etc) has no discernible performance hit.

    NB: We are not giving VB6 compatibility for different compiler platforms - as you say it's a non-starter. The plan is to give VB6 100% compatibility only through your own VB6 compiler. This is the edge I have identified that is missing with all the other efforts so far. VB6T4 will next target Python probably as I did that already and it worked well, but you must recode around the widgits. For non VB6 compilers, I'm only aiming at a familiar IDE and form designer with syntactic familiarity and strict syntax parsing! Except the latter, B4X does not offer this (might as well just get Vb.Net). The translator scripts will be opensourced so you can evolve it too. If you have any doubts about my planning and ability to proceed, please read my Linkedin profile (link above). I repeat - VB6 made me millions. It's withdrawal lost me near a million. If there is anyone here more qualified and more motivated to do this, I'd love to hear!

    @Dexwerx, I know the opensource VS Code IDE front-end well but it only colorises and has no form designer. However it is lightweight and a pleasure to use.

    What I need to form my business case is (a) people go to https://visualstudio.uservoice.com/f...instate-vb5cce and please make some noise and (b), more people comment and like www.vb64.com and (c) more talk about *would you actually buy it, and if so, how much?* (d) It would be a great help if someone could make some noise on the FB forums too (5000+ members!). I'm unsure whether to use Indiegogo or *just do it* and people can decide & buy on a trial basis. Be positive! We do this right and the clouds go away and the sunshine starts.
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    To form a business case I don't think this is the right place. I wonder why, after 27 posts, with that explicit objective, no admin is pulling in and stop this crap. If you think you are able to do it, just do it, add it to your superb linkdin profiler, and make more a few millions with it.
    Sorry, mad mood today
    Carlos

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    What's all wrong with you people?
    Does this project scare you? Are you secretly working for MS and trying to protect their intellectual properties? Or afraid of decreasing revenues?

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Thank you so much @Arnoutdv. @Carlos, oh well.. And yet your last comment on http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.p...ownload-VB5cce was very helpful (and I agree).

    No I'm not going to "just do it" with no further input as I am not a masochist nor a charity.

    @dilettante, you have been quite helpful on many levels, but you seem to be working for MS too when it comes to laying down the law on their behalf in the other forum I mention above. Let MS do the hard talking, you do the sweet talking. Look for ways around, not ways that help MS. Thanks
    Last edited by LOfADay; Jan 26th, 2017 at 10:10 AM. Reason: I removed some stuff I considered to be a bit strong myself. Thanks for your patience.
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    At the risk of sounding negative I am not entirely sure what the aim is, also http://www.vb64.com/ doesn't seem to be working for me at the moment so I can't read anything there.

    Is this about creating a brand new IDE for VB6 that will still use the existing VB6 compilers? If so that seems an awful lot of work as any IDE would need to be at least as good as the existing one, this includes text editing, intellisense, debugging, extensibility, support for all project types, being able to use 3rd party COM / ActiveX and provide all intellisense for these as well. Any one of those things has the potential to be a show stopper if it isn't as good as the original; given how hard a decent debugger alone would be (breakpoints, watch windows, live editing, call stacks etc.) this is not a project to be taken lightly.

    Is it going to allow VB6 code to be converted to other languages such as Python or ANSI C as mentioned above? If so taking VB6 code with a lot of COM interop and language specific functionality into an entirely different language, especially if this language has a different code structure and focus is going to be an awful lot of effort for what gain?

    I am equally unsure why customers that were frightened off by the advent of VB.Net would be won back by a home-brew version of a VB6 IDE.

    I also find the statement
    I use VB6 as a RAD management tool to create a "living" functional description around which others re-code in C#. The makeover usually looks better but functions worse, and as a result, clients often opt to keep the VB6 code.
    to possibly be a poor reflection on the C# developers as opposed to the choice of IDE, although without knowing the details of what was happening I could be wrong....

    I guess I am just failing to understand what the aim is.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by LOfADay View Post
    @Dexwerx, I know the opensource VS Code IDE front-end well but it only colorises and has no form designer. However it is lightweight and a pleasure to use.
    It also does intellisense, formatting, Building/Compiling and integerates with debuggers.
    I don't however see it ever doing Form Design. The VS Code team has understandably declared WYSIWG out of scope.
    Although I don't see an issue with creating an external Form Designer.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlausiblyDamp View Post
    I guess I am just failing to understand what the aim is.
    This thread was originally about transpiling VB6, which I am greatly interested in. The project in question VB64/VB6T4 - (correct me if I'm wrong) doesn't seem to have anything to do with transpiling, and is more of just a replacement IDE, that still requires VB6.

    I'm not sure of the advantages it would have over just using VB6.

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Usually I simply don't post in uninteresting threads, but as I said I'm in a bad mood today.

    Quote Originally Posted by PlausiblyDamp View Post
    I guess I am just failing to understand what the aim is.
    The aim is, as I see it, using a VB6 forum with lot's of traffic to make some kind of market research, with the usual tactics: A big smiling picture, an admirable CV, and a bag full of nothing but promises. The only missing here is a facebook page with lots of likes. Saying it in another way: this is all about coins fishing.
    Carlos

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Hi @Plausibly, try https://web.archive.org/web/20170126.../www.vb64.com/ for the most apt page. https://web.archive.org/web/20170126...--DRAFT_STATUS has a screen shot. Suggest retry as I have a low cost hoster and I have found DNS can be slow.

    To summarise as a start point, it is indeed a new IDE for VB6 that will still use the existing VB6 compilers. I have done it before with TGC's DarkBasic (withdrawn for commercial reasons). It does not replace the VB6 IDE, it compliments it. Code you write with it is compatible with the VB6 IDE, so you are not trapped by it. Yes, it is hard work. There will be deficiencies in the specific area you mention (breakpoints, watch windows, live editing, call stacks, [i]step through[/u] etc), but we managed this in Python by adding debug code. "Live editing" is likely worst affected. See limitations section.

    The aim is indeed, and I stress this, not to redesign the wheel, not to compete with VB.net, but Restore credibility to VB6 coders making VB6T4 a commercially acceptable coding solution, supported, updated and consistent. Also to bring RAD back to non-career coders. A career-coder (full time contract or commercial) is probably not going to be interested as there are so many other solutions out there.

    Re Transco into other languages, there is no intention to go that far. See 5 comments ago -- http://www.vbforums.com/showthread.p...=1#post5132563 .. Let's just say it's a very prestigious client having trouble re-coding to C# (I am under NDAs). To be fair its much easier if you control your own FS(spec), but these interns don't get that option Ps: Thanks for your positive and insightful questions.
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  35. #35
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by LOfADay View Post
    Duplicate of following post.
    Just wanted to point out that the edit I made to this post is something that you see quite often. Duplicates used to be quite common, and have become considerably less common in the last few years, but they still happen. The ability to flat out delete a post isn't available to everybody, but you already noted that you can edit your own post, so editing it in the fashion that I did is what has become one of the two most common means of dealing with duplicates....the other is to simply ignore it, which is fine, as well.
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by LOfADay View Post
    ... everyone moaning and whining about VB6 being unavailable and then borderline trolling anyone who steps in to help ...
    You're somewhat correct about this. I think we all basically question whether or not you can actually help. As outlined by PlausiblyDamp, this is a monumental task, and we really (especially I) have extremely serious doubts about whether you're up to it. You've given us your vitae and outlined how long you've been in business along with some of your wonderful accomplishments. I suspect many of us here have similar vitae, but don't feel the need to outline them here.

    Your comment has made me pause and try to think through what it is that we're complaining about. I do know what it is for me. It's still a sore point I just can't leave alone that has to do with Microsoft's abandonment of the language that's largely responsible for bringing them into existence; and, in the process, abandoning a huge group of loyal supporters. They can make arguments that .NET was the natural progression of VB, but there are huge numbers here who just absolutely know that this is hogwash. I'll show my age, but I was with them through TRS80 ROM Basic, to Basic-80 for CP/M, through all the updates to PDS-Basic, on into VB-for-DOS, and then into VB for Windows with VB6 being the end of the road.

    In fact, I've still got code that came from those early days, and it was/is basically compatible with all the upgrades to Basic through VB6.

    I still maintain that it was a bunch of arrogant arses who got a-hold of VB, and thought they'd be doing us "some kind of favor" by making it work more like C (or maybe Pascal); I don't really know. But whatever their motives were, they abandoned the most successful programming language on the planet.

    So again, what are we complaining about (and to whom)? I think we're attempting to express frustration about (and to) Microsoft, in the hopes that maybe they'll recognize how much of an act of utter betrayal they committed. Also, I don't think we're expecting some other savior to step in, knowing that's virtually impossible. I think we still hold out hopes that Microsoft will rectify this horrid decision they made.

    And LOfADay, you've also made me ponder who I might actually trust as a "savior". I do think there's the possibility for an opening, but it would take someone who's already a "big boy" on the block, someone like IBM or Apple or maybe Google. If one of them came out with a pronouncement and said that they were going to pick up the mantle of a COM based VB language, I would get VERY VERY interested.

    Also, you've made me think about what I might be willing to forego to get back onto a language path of routine upgrades. I'm sure this list will be different for other developers, but here's that list for me:

    • The add-ins, with the exception of the resource editor.
    • Intellisense. I wouldn't enjoy giving up this one, but I would. The compiler and p-code compiler would certainly have to make sure that "Option Explicit" still worked.
    • All of the Data Manager stuff. In fact, it's annoying to me that the IDE is dependent on the DAO350.DLL. I've never used any of this and am highly unlikely to ever use it.
    • The Visual Components Manager. I've never used this either.
    • The Object Browser. As with Intellisense, I wouldn't enjoy giving up this one, but I would for the sake of getting on a language with an upgrade path. There are other external object browsers that could alternatively serve me.
    • Custom property pages. I tend to use the Property Window for most of this stuff anyway. The IDE would just have to make sure that everything was available on the Property Window.


    There are probably other features I'd be willing to forego if I truly believed that an alternative was viable for the long term and supported by a NYSE traded company. But again, even a cut-down version of a VB6-like IDE is a HUGE undertaking, much more than I think you appreciate.

    Best Regards,
    Elroy

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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    @Carlos, sorry to hear about your bad day. I promise you it is NOT about fishing for funds. I am very motivated by reversing the wrong done to non-career programmers by what appears to be a malicious act of obsoletion by MS followed by a protracted campaign of denigrating "unprofessional" VB6 programmers and coding standards etc. I am very motivated by helping VB6 programmers who I fervently believe to be a unique mindset, a unique type of intelligence, something that made them highly successful and, possibly, made the career-coders at Microsoft simply jealous.The VB mindset does not port to the mindset required for VS and Java tools where you have to be 100% married to software, or you have to go way downmarket to unprofessional methods like VBS and HTA. As for my commercial reasoning, in the past, I would have expected a vast return on a project this size. That is exceedingly unlikely. This is something I need to do for my own sake and for yours, and it's certainly not fishing for profit.

    incidentally, I am completely turned off the idea of releasing a sample -- it is pretty clear from the tone of things above that it would be torn to shreds unless it was completely perfectly finished. To be fair, I've learned that the hardway in the past... demonstrators that are not fully polished can do a lot of damage

    Ps: Many thanks Shaggy.
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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Rocha View Post
    To form a business case I don't think this is the right place. I wonder why, after 27 posts, with that explicit objective, no admin is pulling in and stop this crap. If you think you are able to do it, just do it, add it to your superb linkdin profiler, and make more a few millions with it.
    Sorry, mad mood today
    There is nothing in this thread that is in violation of the AUP, so there is no reason to stop this, whether crap or not (though I think that the use of the term crap is actually in violation, so we shouldn't be using it). I'm not sure that it is necessarily in the right forum, but it certainly is VB6, and it started as a question that has turned into a discussion about the question, tangential to coding in VB6 though it might be. Therefore, it seems fine to me.
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    There is nothing in this thread that is in violation of the AUP, so there is no reason to stop this, whether crap or not (though I think that the use of the term crap is actually in violation, so we shouldn't be using it). I'm not sure that it is necessarily in the right forum, but it certainly is VB6, and it started as a question that has turned into a discussion about the question, tangential to coding in VB6 though it might be. Therefore, it seems fine to me.
    As you say, you are the boss.

    A fast search in google pointed me to a site named "urbandictionary" that states, among other things:
    Code:
    Crap:
    3. worthless junk and/or pointless things
    4. a great word to say  repeditively without other people getting mad at you since you arnt  cussing
    Besides, my opinion was based in the fact that, e.g, Olaf is not allowed to post a link to his vbRichClient site anywhere in vbforums, and he's not asking for money.
    But as I said, you are the boss, and my mood as increased after kicking the dog
    Carlos

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: vb6 trans compiling?

    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos Rocha View Post
    Usually I simply don't post in uninteresting threads, but as I said I'm in a bad mood today.
    That's the best time to either not post at all, or post a joke, cause you often end up regretting anything else.

    The aim is, as I see it, using a VB6 forum with lot's of traffic to make some kind of market research, with the usual tactics: A big smiling picture, an admirable CV, and a bag full of nothing but promises. The only missing here is a facebook page with lots of likes. Saying it in another way: this is all about coins fishing.
    That's a fair interpretation, but I don't think it's quite the right one. I don't take the thread as marketing research, exactly....though, the more that I think about it, the more that term does seem about right. Loads of us do that, we just don't like to call it that.

    I personally think that the project will fail. I think this partly for reasons Elroy stated, but partly because of this quote from LOfaDay...well, shoot, now I can't find just one quote. Instead, I find a bunch of them. To sum them up: Is anybody REALLY interested?

    I'm currently tilting at my own windmill, having spent years working on a piece of software that would be really valuable, only to find that people have hitched their wagon to other horses. Lame horses, too, and for no discernible reason other than a sum of personalities and politics. There's nothing new about this. Better technology often loses out to inferior, but widely adopted, technology.

    That's how I see this project. There are a number of very vocal people who would like to see a new VB6, in theory. I'm not convinced that there really is a large number of those people, as it could also be a small number as long as they are very vocal. In theory, you might use the fact that the same folks show up on any such thread as an indication that the true population is not very large at all, but that theory is unreliable due to the samples not being independent. Different web forums naturally bleed into one another, so it's understandable that the population of one will reflect the population of another. Thus I can't say whether there is a lot of desire for a new VB6, or a small amount of very intense desire.

    However, once you get past the fact that there is a desire for a new VB6, and get into the details...it looks like it all falls apart to me. If you get 10 VB6 fans together and ask them what they'd like to see in VB6.5 (that's what the next version was actually going to be called, by the way), you will get 10 different answers, not all of them capable of coexisting. So, when LofaDay asks, "if I build it, will they come?" I think that's the key question. Some will, others will throw stones because what you built just didn't match their dreams.

    "A new VB6" really IS a dream. I see cars as a means to get around. Others see them as objects of art and desire. I can't see cars the way they do, and they are mighty disappointed at my view. The same is true with programming languages. They are just tools, to me, and I wouldn't spend even a minute creating one. Therefore, the guarantee that I can have the source code is quite meaningless. I don't WANT the source code, cause I don't want to write the language. I don't want to forge my own screwdriver, either, even though I probably could if I had the desire.

    What MS provides to me, in the end, is the stability of size, so I use .NET. Javascript provides the stability of common adoption, so I use it (and feel it is nothing more than a good start). Xamarin was an abomination, but it was picked up by MS, so it might become more stable with that mass behind it, in which case I might use it. C/C++ went through the ANSI standardization process, so I feel comfortable with an ANSI compliant compiler.

    So, I feel that the project is just tilting at a windmill. Everybody who dreams of a new VB6 dreams a different dream that is unique to that individual. If LOfaDay does undertake it, and completes it, some portion will be pleased, some portion will be infuriated because it isn't THEIR dream realized, and the rest will ignore it because it will be just a tool.
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