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Thread: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

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    Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    I periodically write programs to support many varied needs. I develop code in VB6 and have done so for many years. I don't consider myself an expert but I have over 140,000 lines of code (30 plus programs) working in professional environments. I've been concerned for quite some time about just how long VB6 will be viable. I've tried VB.Net 2013 but was not impressed. Are there any other IDEs out there that are "current" and can compete with the ease of development as VB6 for Windows environments? I have developed programs in assembly, Fortran, ALGOL, COBOL, PL/I, Pascal & ADA over the years. I'm afraid the VB6 IDE has spoiled me. Perhaps I should give VB.NET another try?

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    So much of what is in vogue right now seems to be "dark world" command line oriented scripting languages. Adding any kind of halfway usable UI is usually an afterthought with no clear direction and little or no integration into the development tools. They sort of throw you back to the dark times when GUI development was expensive and arduous, hammered out in C.

    Python is one of those, and supposed to be super popular right now. But I'd guess that 99.9% of its users are at the Hello World level of expertise with it. Sort of like those using PHP and JavaScript are: copy/paste and slap it around until it sorta kinda does something.

    I think one of the best attempts to break out of that mold in ancient times was AmigaBasic, which seems to have been the prototype for what became Visual Basic on Windows. VB's true history seems murky, giving credit to a number of people and technologies. I suspect that in reality it was a convergence of many things, not the least of which being Microsoft's experience with Basic going back to the company's beginnings.

    There are a number of things out there from B4J to Xojo that are a lot more VB-like. I've backed away from all of them myself, but others might have more current experience with them.


    This is a topic of perennial interest though. As a result you'll find long, long threads on this here that never quite go anywhere, dating back decades. Don't expect much. If there were good answers you'd have them all within 5 or so posts.

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    > Perhaps I should give VB.NET another try?

    Whenever I switch from to vb.net after spending time in vb6 I find old habits and expectations creeping into the .net code. I'd suggest trying c# instead.

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    B4J seems pretty decent and has the additional benefit of being able to develop for non widows systems. I have not dived deeply into it so unclear has to how much you can actually do with it but I was able to throw together a simple windows app with it in no time at all.

    VB.Net and C# are both good choices depending on your comfort level. I use both as well as VB6 and of course some others when needed.

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    So much of what is in vogue right now seems to be "dark world" command line oriented scripting languages. Adding any kind of halfway usable UI is usually an afterthought with no clear direction and little or no integration into the development tools. They sort of throw you back to the dark times when GUI development was expensive and arduous, hammered out in C.
    Totally agree. It's either that or they see HTML as the pinnacle of UI development. To some extent, I see their point, as Windows Forms has limits to what can be done easily, and HTML does have loads of versatility (whether it's easy is a different matter).
    Python is one of those, and supposed to be super popular right now. But I'd guess that 99.9% of its users are at the Hello World level of expertise with it. Sort of like those using PHP and JavaScript are: copy/paste and slap it around until it sorta kinda does something.
    I kind of suspect that Python is super popular largely with people who don't use it for UI. After all, you can use it to manipulate data with ESRI GIS, which is, itself, immensely popular. All the folks here that are using Python are using it for this purpose. No UI at all, in that case, so they aren't missing it any.


    As for the original post, if you tried VS2013, you saw some of the good and some of the bad. That wasn't a horrible release (unlike 2012), but it wasn't great, either. The most beautiful version was 2010, which was a nice balance between performance and power and looked great. It actually launches faster on a good system than VB6 does on a crappy system. That may not be a fair comparison, but that system wasn't crappy when VB6 was installed on it. It was pretty cutting edge, at the time.

    The IDE was re-written with 2013, which slowed it down. More features were added with 2015, which slowed it down further. With 2017, MS tried to speed it up a bit, but added ever more features. The JS editor in 2017 is pretty good, for a change, though it could be further improved. This ends up being the issue with the newer versions of VS: The feature set is more than you could ever possibly want, and you will pay for the whole set in performance whether you want them or not. I really like some of the additions. They assist in code clarity and navigation, for me. Others may not like them so much, and I'm sure that I don't use all the ones that I could. For example, you can get a 'peek' window that shows you some other file in a smaller window. If I want to see some other file, I'll open the file. So, I have no use for that, though others might. However, we're all paying the performance cost of having all these graphical elements in the IDE.
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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    I don't know VB6 launches pretty quick on my systems. Pretty much instant on the old XP box and the only delay under the newer ones is caused by the UAC. For some reason there is always a lag before the UAC prompt appears and imo it is not in any way related to VB6 but Windows as it happens on all programs that run elevated on all the boxes I have tried.

    VB.Net is very slow loading by comparison on all of my boxes and all versions of VB.net from 2003 thru 2017. I use 2008 the most and have managed to tweak it to where it loads faster than it used to and faster than the others but still much slower than VB6.

    Just for reference on this box Windows 7 AMD 1100T mechanical HDD the UAC prompt takes anywhere from 1/2 to 4 seconds to appear VB takes less than 1/4 second once the OK is given to the UAC prompt. VS 2008 takes about 10 seconds to fully load and that is after the tweaks which speed it up.
    Last edited by DataMiser; Oct 17th, 2019 at 04:59 PM.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    That sounds about right, for the most part. I moved away from mechanical HD once I realized how blazingly fast SSD are. I don't think VS2008 or 2010 loaded instantly on my older systems with mechanical drives, but it's instant on the SSD systems I have. I have yet to try newer versions of VS on SSD systems.

    The old system I have that is running VB6 is XP on a dual core Intel something or other. NOTHING is instant on that, not even Notepad.

    The point I'm getting at is that loading speed is not a constant. If loading speed is an issue, it may not be in a year, or on different hardware. Back when I used that old system as my primary computer, I had no issues with waiting a few seconds for something to come up, because EVERYTHING took at least that long. Now...I feel it more sharply.

    In any case, the OP didn't state what they didn't like about .NET. Some have talked about loading performance. If that's the issue, then the version has a lot to do with it, and so does the HD. The dawn of the SSD era has improved perceived computer performance more than any advance in the last two decades.
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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    On my newest box VS17 takes only about 2-3 seconds to fully load [just the ide, no project loaded] no tweaks have been done to increase the load speed on that one. Vb6 is a little faster would be a lot faster but have to wait for and respond to the UAC popup. takes 1-2 seconds total provided you click on the popup right away.

    Now of course that newest box has one of the fastest M2 drives available and has a throughput up to 6 times faster than the fastest Sata SSDs available. It truly is amazing how much difference that makes. The mechancial drive maxes out [rarely] at around 100mb/sec the Sata SSD at about 450-500mb/sec and the M2 at around 3-3.5gb/sec

    btw my XP system I was using was a quad core running at about 4ghz and with a very good mechanical Hdd in it.
    Last edited by DataMiser; Oct 17th, 2019 at 05:43 PM.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    Darn, now I have to go build a new computer.

    Anyways, to get back to the question at hand, I was just reading this:

    http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html

    and felt it was applicable. It takes a while to get around to it, but the discussion about the hypothetical language Blub is where it gets particularly applicable. It can be pretty much summed up with, "that which is familiar, is familiar. The rest is not."
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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    Quote Originally Posted by DllHell View Post
    > Perhaps I should give VB.NET another try?

    Whenever I switch from to vb.net after spending time in vb6 I find old habits and expectations creeping into the .net code. I'd suggest trying c# instead.
    I hardly used VB6 at all but, from what I see and hear of others, VB6 experience helps with recognising the purpose of keywords in VB.NET and with some code structure but the expectations that things that look exactly the same should work exactly the same holds people back when migrating from VB6 to VB.NET, as does the writing code like they were still using VB6 instead of writing the best VB.NET code they can. It may well depend on the individual as to whether that familiarity is overall advantageous or detrimental.

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Darn, now I have to go build a new computer
    i upgraded to a 6 core xeon w-2145 with 64gb ram and 2tb ssd. highly recommend it

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Anyways, to get back to the question at hand, I was just reading this:

    http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html
    I thought this was interesting:

    "During the years we worked on Viaweb I read a lot of job descriptions. A new competitor seemed to emerge out of the woodwork every month or so. The first thing I would do, after checking to see if they had a live online demo, was look at their job listings. After a couple years of this I could tell which companies to worry about and which not to. The more of an IT flavor the job descriptions had, the less dangerous the company was. The safest kind were the ones that wanted Oracle experience. You never had to worry about those. You were also safe if they said they wanted C++ or Java developers. If they wanted Perl or Python programmers, that would be a bit frightening-- that's starting to sound like a company where the technical side, at least, is run by real hackers. If I had ever seen a job posting looking for Lisp hackers, I would have been really worried."

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Darn, now I have to go build a new computer.
    If you do go the M2 route make sure to get the x4 version the base versions are about the same speed as a sata ssd but the x4 versions are quite a lot faster. I am using the Samsung 960 Evo, a bit pricey when I bought it but I see the price has came down a lot recently and may be actually cheaper than a good ssd now.

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    Without turning UAC off, you can use this method to start VB6 as admin and without UAC prompt, so it should be instantaneous or within a second or two, just like XP.

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    Re: Any other language environments as easy to use and robust as VB6?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    Darn, now I have to go build a new computer.

    Anyways, to get back to the question at hand, I was just reading this:

    http://www.paulgraham.com/avg.html

    and felt it was applicable. It takes a while to get around to it, but the discussion about the hypothetical language Blub is where it gets particularly applicable. It can be pretty much summed up with, "that which is familiar, is familiar. The rest is not."
    Finally I've found a real-life application written in Lisp! I had to learn Lisp in my third University year. This was only from lectures/books as we weren't provided with a Lisp system to use! I thought Lisp was only used in academia. Searching the Internet I see that Lisp is still alive and kicking and that it is available for Linux/Windows.

    Has anyone here ever produced a production program using Lisp?
    All advice is offered in good faith only. You are ultimately responsible for the effects of your programs and the integrity of the machines they run on. Anything I post, code snippets, advice, etc is licensed as Public Domain https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/

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