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Thread: [RESOLVED] Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

  1. #1

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    Resolved [RESOLVED] Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    I just had to do a new build because the power supply plug actually fused to the motherboard.
    I installed Windows 7 on this new board (ASUS H97 Plus) and have had nothing but problems because of my old hardware and software.

    COMMENTS FIRST ON HARDWARE

    Printers
    On the hardware side this new board does not have parallel port installed, so my old HP is not usable even though the device driver says its OK.
    The board (or driver) won't work with a USB to Parallel cable, which seems to be a common problem with new MOBOs.
    I've also seen a few comments where a PCI card with a parallel port may work, but tends to be iffy. I have Not tried it.

    Hard Drives (IDE)
    My old drives are IDE and while I was able to mirror the old IDE to a new SATA to install Windows 7, I'd still like to have it around for just in case.
    After installing Windows 7, I have yet to get Windows 7 Explorer to see the drive. The BIOS shows the drive as does CP > Device Management > Disk, but status shows it offline.
    Even using CMD > DIskPart I was unable to get the drive online. So still working on this issue.

    New BIOS (American Megatrend)
    As far as I'm concerned whoever devised this new BIOS interface must of had a nightmare the night before.
    I find it very confusing --- to much information in one place -- and for the most part not sure what is effecting what especially related to the hard disk.
    The BIOS also has implemented the new standards (UEFI - I believe) so this is also causing some confusion on my part.

    Keyboard (update forgot to mention). My IBM Model M (for those of us who know how to type) would not work with using a
    Large PS2 to Small PS2 adapter. I finally got it working by daisy chaining the Large PS2 > Small PS2 > USB.
    The PS2 port on the board works as it drives a cheapy keyboard, but my guess is they did some voltages changes on the PS2
    which is causing it not to function. And yes the BIOS for PS2 was enabled.

    COMMENT ON WINDOWS 7
    This UAC was initially killing me. For whatever reason on my old board, Windows 7 UAC never showed or had an impact.
    With this new board I have things popping up and impacting whatever,
    Initially I was able to disable it through the registry and
    now have found a KB which indicated their was a bug in the UAC for Windows 7.
    After installing the KB things got better but still don't like the fact I have to override the UAC as much as I do.
    What impact it is having on installing software is unknown.

    =========== This s where I need some Advice =================

    These are the programs I use the most that Microsoft deprecated some time back.

    1) Visual Basic Classic -- (5) in my case.
    I've been programming with VB5 for about 20 years so I have a lot of code.
    I have been able to get this loaded into Window 7 (32 bit) and seems stable.
    But am concerned about at what point Microsoft decides to pull the plug with a new OS
    and leaves me high and dry.

    My estimate it would take me about 5 years to recode all this VB code into some other language.

    Question: Where do old VB programmers place their next bets?

    2) Office 97
    I primarily use Office for the Access Database (tables and queries only).
    I do also have several VB programs that create reports in Excel.
    I had a bear of a time getting Office 97 installed into Windows 7 and during the process it
    corrupted one of my key Access databases which I finally got working today.
    This got my attention -- hence this post .

    As I see it, I have three possible choices.
    (a) Get a new version of Office (which one ?) and see if I can port Access directly into it.
    (b) Export my tables and queries to CVS and then try to import them into the newer Access, or
    (c) Switch to something like SQLite --
    The big question with SQLite is:
    -- what kind of support is around
    -- will VB Classic or a new language interface with it or SQL easily
    -- how long SQLite will be around. Since 1981 I've gone through about 5 different databases
    as the developer either went out of business or sold to someone (e.g. Paradox was bought by Microsoft).

    Queston: Any suggestions on which database

    3) DB Languages

    I still use DAO along with SQL because I feel both comfortable and productive with both.
    I never switched to VB Classic ADO as it was (is), my understanding that it is different than NET ADO
    an I could not justify the switch if I wasn't going to NET.
    I'm not sure about where JET fits into this picture but I believe Microsoft has also deprecated JET,
    so this eventually is going to impact my usage of DAO and may also impact Microsoft SQL which
    which I believe is JET dependent.

    Question: Any suggestions.

    These are my principle concerns and I'm sure there are a lot of others like myself who are behind the curve.
    Any constructive input is appreciated.

    David
    Last edited by dw85745; Dec 19th, 2014 at 07:27 AM.

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    PowerPoster Nightwalker83's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Any reason why you are still using an Access database rather than an SQL, etc database?
    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.
    If this thread is finished with please mark it "Resolved" by selecting "Mark thread resolved" from the "Thread tools" drop-down menu.
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  3. #3
    WiggleWiggle dclamp's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    First of all, welcome to the 21st Century. Cant believe you were still using a parallel connected printer!

    My recommendation would be to switch to a full database system. If you are using Visual Basic you might want to upgrade to VB.NET with a MSSQL backend.

    Use the most recent version of Microsoft Office. I believe the *newest* version is "Microsoft 365" which is an online cloud service. But you can still purchase 2013. If you get the full versions of these suites it comes with the most recent version of Access. Or you could use MySQL for free.

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    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    So to me it look like you have a few related issues.

    1, Hardware

    your trying to mix old and new hardware and by the sound of it your old hardware was quite old. This is going to cause you problems with newer O/S's they just fundamentally consume more resources and need a higher spec to run well.

    You would be much much better off just replacing all your old hardware with new stuff.

    Hard Drives are Cheap, just get yourself another SATA or even a backup drive if you want. You already said you have mirrored you old drive so you should have the data why keep an old IDE drive then?

    If there is still some data on it you need then get it off (either take it off your self or take to a shop that will do it for you).

    Oh and just buy a new printer they are really cheap and all usb now.

    2, Software -

    This UAC was initially killing me. For whatever reason on my old board, Windows 7 UAC never showed or had an impact.
    Have you checked your UAC setting in control Panel? are you aware that that you can change the level of UAC? between Always Notify - to - Never Notify?

    1) Visual Basic Classic -- (5) in my case.
    Can you upgrade to VB6? Visual Studio 6 installs and works fine on Windows 7 and 8 which means it will continue to be supported for some time now and any apps created in it will continue to work on those versions of Windows, i don't know about Windows 10 yet.

    So you don't necessarily need to re-write everything, although if you are writing anything new, then you may want to look at VB.Net, it will probably be a bit of a change though if you have spent 20 years writing in VB5.

    Just get the latest version of Office, if you access database is just tables and data (not access forms) you should be able to migrate the data into a newer version of Access.

    I still use DAO along with SQL because I feel both comfortable and productive with both.
    I never switched to VB Classic ADO as it was (is), my understanding that it is
    different than NET ADO
    an I could not justify the switch if I wasn't going to NET.
    I'm not sure about where JET fits into this picture but I believe Microsoft has also deprecated JET,
    so this eventually is going to impact my usage of DAO
    If your using DAO then you should stick to Access as you are likely to have issues connecting to SQL Server with DAO. (and you will probably need to re-write some of your SQL)

    You can still use DAO with later version of Access ( 2010 for example) check this link

    i wouldn't personally recommend it as DAO is dead technology, however replacing it would be a judgement call for you as depending on the size of your project and the way it is written it could be a big job.

    If you are going to look at new technology then go the whole hog, you can now get the full Visual Studio .Net for free and you can get SQL Server Express 2014 for free so have a play, however i would suggest you just use it for new projects unless you are forced to re-write as your apps stop working.
    Last edited by NeedSomeAnswers; Dec 19th, 2014 at 04:52 AM.
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    Karen Payne MVP kareninstructor's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Hello,

    If rewriting this in a newer language is not a option consider a) look at Windows Shims b) create a terminal server with the environment expected then the app is frozen in time per-say and the user will open a window to the server starting the app.

    We used option (b) for several legacy apps that are not worth rewriting but are needed still until our new core system comes on line next year. Did this about four years ago accessed from Windows 7 with zero issues.

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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Thanks for all the input.

    Re: Hardware. (most everything has been upgraded to new)

    My experience has told me "If it ain't broke don't fix it". I have been upgrading MOBO for years with older hardware so everything was OK
    until this MOBO died. I then found out the hardware industry was deprecating most everything so they can sell new.
    Of all hardware, my IBM Model M is the most important as best keyboard every made for those of us who can type.

    As regard the IDE drives, I have purchased 3 SATAs (always followed the philosophy of Grandfather > Father > Son and with internal mobile racks.
    I was previously able to switch out drives easily, mirror them, and remove them for secure storage. The new mobile racks by Kingwin IMHO are
    cheaply made and I was afraid of breaking off handles when installing and removing, hence the External to go from IDE to SATA through USB.

    FWIW I have drives going back to Win95, maybe even Win3.1 and while it is a rare occasion I need to access one, they were available if needed because of the IDE interface.
    With this "cloud" business we have come back full circle to the old mainframe days (for those of us who worked with mainframes).
    I personally would not touch a cloud. Maybe this forum can have a discussion about that in the future and I would be glad to give My2Cents.

    Re: Software.

    I bought in to Microsoft's concept of Office with VB. It has worked extremely well for many a year and most small business I deal with know how to use Office and Access.
    While from Microsoft perspective having a common compiler saves a lot of manpower on their part -- always wondered why this was not done years ago --
    it does leave those of us who made a commitment to VB high and dry and always wondering exactly when we will be left out in the cold.
    All efforts to get Microsoft to change their mind have failed, I've been one of them, and if you control the keys and are the 600 lb gorilla you can do anything you want.
    Why the Justice Department hasn't stepped in and broken up Microsoft like they did AT&T is beyond me as this industry is one big oligopoly at best
    That may be coming which will present other issues.

    Re: Why Access: See above paragraph.

    Re: UAC. As stated I was toggling through the registry and with the KB fix my slider now works.

    Re: Upgrade to VB6. Tried to do that for years but not available unless you have -- my understanding -- some type of support contract under Enterprise with M$ and then big $$.
    The upgrade to VB6 -- VB5 works great -- IMO is not even the issue. The issue is Microsoft may not support Classic VB in the future which effectively wipes out 20 years or more of coding and
    the ability for one to run their business if they are using VB based Apps.

    Re: DAO. Will check out link (thanks) but since integral with my VB Apps, if they -- VB Apps -- go, my guess is DAO will also need to go.

    Re: Another language. It's not that I'm adverse to another language have written in several over the years. What it comes to is having the time and resources at my age to completely rewrite
    All these Applications. I personally do Not want to spend the next 5 years of my night time rewriting Apps as I need to run my business during the day
    I've thought of possibly going with JAVA (my understanding C# is M$ equivalent but Not platform independent) and maybe even seeing if I can write a convertor to port all this VB to whatever
    if one is Not available. Whether JAVA or C# will still be around when I finish, who knows, as Microsoft deprecated Visual C++ along with VB.

    Re: WIndows Shims. Never heard of it, but will look into it. No offense to anyone but kevininstructor's suggestions so far are best I've read for my situation.
    Guess everyone will have to accept fact that no modifications can be made to their software. Doesn't make for happy customers.

    ========= FollowUp Comment FWIW ===========

    When you think about it all programming is is pushing things into memory and getting it back out again in the format you want.
    Microsoft accomplished all this with their Send, Post, and Peek Message -- hats off to them.
    We all could accomplish whatever we want with just this.
    However this does Not sell product, keep people employed or help the economy.
    So we reinvent the wheel using different acronyms and sell it again and again.
    Last edited by dw85745; Dec 19th, 2014 at 09:14 AM.

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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by dw85745 View Post
    No offense to anyone but kevininstructor's suggestions so far are best I've read for my situation.
    Yes indeed, thinly described magic bullets do sound enticing.

    See Deciding When to Use Shims as a Compatibility Mitigation to see that they do not apply to your situation. AppCompat shims are just hacks that attempt to let old programs kinda, sorta continue running on a newer OS. This does nothing to assist you in ongoing software development.

    You must not understand the limitations of Terminal Services regarding your situation either.


    Frankly you are so far behind at this late date that you might as well move to another platform entirely. Sadly there is no obvious contender.

    The software world will never again offer the kind of stability you enjoyed in the past. VB6 and to a lesser extent its crippled younger brother VB5 offered stability only matched and exceeded by Cobol.

    Microsoft plans to enter a phase of rapid change, sacrificing backward compatbility. Windows 10 might be the last OS where your old VB5 code will ever run. Beyond that even .Net johnnies can expect radical change requiring a lot of new learning and code rewriting as the CLR is gradually replaced by the WinRT excution model and Metro-style user interface.

    We just don't know... and neither does Microsoft yet. Much is in turmoil.

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    Karen Payne MVP kareninstructor's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Yes indeed, thinly described magic bullets do sound enticing.
    Never said terminal server would be a magic bullet but instead avenues to explore. I can not provide details on implementing as our engineering team work out the solution (for terminal server) for about 10 VB apps and 3 three compiled MS-Access apps.

    I included Windows shim since it should be explored as it may or may not work but how does one know w/o even trying, it takes little time to do this.

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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Since he's currently trying to make Windows 7 look like Windows XP, which he was using in a manner attempting to make that look like Windows 95... I can't see how Terminal Services does him any good.

    Even if he put Windows XP/2003 on a server and made his users all Remote Desktop into that, XP is an unsupported OS and Server 2003 goes off support in mere months. Plus to make that look like Windows 95 he'd have to give all users admin rights, not really viable.

    As far as shims go, he's undoubtedly running everything shimmed to the hilt now or Office 97 and his VB5 programs would not even be running.


    He sounds like a good candidate for a move to Java.

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    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    I then found out the hardware industry was deprecating most everything so they can sell new.
    Yep which was why i was advocating replacing any old hard ware, its just a pain getting old hardware to work nowadays with new O/S's.

    I bought in to Microsoft's concept of Office with VB.
    VB is still fully integrated with office, and as of yet we haven't seen any moves to change this.

    it does leave those of us who made a commitment to VB high and dry and always wondering exactly when we will be left out in the cold.
    Yeh well we have had a number of heated threads on that very subject so lets not go back and forth yet again and just say we are where we are and the world has changed somewhat. The world has gone Web and Mobile and the old languages (not just vb) weren't best designed to take advantage of that.

    I personally do Not want to spend the next 5 years of my night time rewriting Apps as I need to run my business during the day
    Then don't, i for one wouldn't. Windows 7 has extended support until January 14, 2020 & Windows 8 has extended support until January 10, 2023.

    I only look to re-write where there are new ways to add value, or add revenue. The one thing you should remember that a good new UI can add value all on its own, you only have to look at Apple's business model to realise the truth of that.

    Re: DAO. Will check out link (thanks) but since integral with my VB Apps, if they -- VB Apps -- go, my guess is DAO will also need to go.
    Agreed do not even think about changing it in your existing app unless you decide you HAVE to change your database, DAO still works with later versions of Access so just carry on using.

    I've thought of possibly going with JAVA
    . Whether JAVA or C# will still be around when I finish, who knows
    As you have some time on your hands before you really need to do anything, wait and see a minute, maybe evaluate whats out there.

    Personally if i was writing something new for myself right now i would be looking mainly at HTML 5 & JavaScript for my front end being served JSON by a web service.

    You can target Web, Mobile and Tablet if you do it right with a single solution.

    stability only matched and exceeded by Cobol.
    Well you have that right my last place of work is still selling Cobol software that is 20 years old, and its validated on Windows 8!
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    Karen Payne MVP kareninstructor's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Since he's currently trying to make Windows 7 look like Windows XP, which he was using in a manner attempting to make that look like Windows 95... I can't see how Terminal Services does him any good.

    Even if he put Windows XP/2003 on a server and made his users all Remote Desktop into that, XP is an unsupported OS and Server 2003 goes off support in mere months. Plus to make that look like Windows 95 he'd have to give all users admin rights, not really viable.

    As far as shims go, he's undoubtedly running everything shimmed to the hilt now or Office 97 and his VB5 programs would not even be running.


    He sounds like a good candidate for a move to Java.
    It's beyond me why you are so unwilling to allow them to consider this to if nothing else have a stable environment to run rather than rewrite which from what I read would take a considerable amount of time and not every application should be rewritten if it works and there are avenues to explore to keep it running as it. Part of the job as a developer is exploring options and terminal server is a viable option until proven not.

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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    It seems pretty clear that most if not all of his market is desktop applications. I'm not convinced that a Terminal Server "time machine" or a web server front-ended by browser pages makes sense for him.

    But perhaps he can judge for himself once he realizes what that means. Of course at that point his users may as well have ChomeBox/ChromeBook machines since Windows is just a terminal at that point.

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    Superbly Moderated NeedSomeAnswers's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    It seems pretty clear that most if not all of his market is desktop applications. I'm not convinced that a Terminal Server "time machine" or a web server front-ended by browser pages makes sense for him.
    Me and Kevin are just trying to give the OP options the more you know the better decision you can make, of course the OP might not want to follow certain advice and that's his prerogative.

    And i got that all his current market is desktop BUT that doesn't mean it always will be.

    Out of interest dw85745 what does your software do?
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  14. #14
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by dw85745 View Post
    I just had to do a new build because the power supply plug actually fused to the motherboard.
    Don't leave us hanging here. Was that as exciting as it sounds?

    The old IDE drive should go. In the case of hard drives, if you had one work for years, then you got a good one rather than a lemon. Most of them were good, but if they weren't they tended to fail fast. Still, they have moving parts, and they ALL have a shelf life that is theoretically shorter than the solid state hardware (though, in your case, it was some solid state hardware that ended up failing first), so the fact that it is still running after all these years doesn't mean that it will keep running forever, just that it is elderly. New hard drives are also highly reliable, hold more, are considerably cheaper per gigabyte, and are considerably newer, especially when bought new. Therefore, sticking with the old IDE drive just because it still works is a bit of a gamble that you are likely to lose, eventually.

    As for the keyboard. I type pretty well, and did kind of like those. They had an issue with noise. I'm not saying they were loud, but the last time I typed on one of them, the local national guard dove into the ditches and started returning fire. They thought they were under attack from a WWI era machine gun.

    I certainly would upgrade to VB6 SP3. That wasn't much of a change over VB5, but all the changes were for the better. Code written in VB5 should run fine in VB6. I also really liked DAO. It had the advantage that it was considerably faster than ADO or RDO. I have no idea how it compares to ADO.NET, which is a whole different animal (with some really nice features, I should add). Still, I stuck with DAO as long as I stuck with VB5/6.

    I also suspect that your estimate for how long a conversion would take is too high. The reason I suspect that is that, in my experience, conversion of VB6 over to .NET was always a whole lot faster than I thought it should have been. If you do a simple conversion, much of it can be copy and paste. I know of no conversion wizard that does any good, which is why I say copy and paste, but much of the code really can be copied and pasted. Of course, there are LOADS of new features in .NET that weren't available in VB5/6. For example, there are collections that are superior to some uses of arrays, so there is always the option of redesigning as well as rewriting, which can add considerably to the total time.

    On the other hand, this has been a subject chewed over at such length that there isn't much flavor left in it, though a fair amount of heat remains. Some people are still of the opinion that the sky is falling and we are all doomed. It's all a matter of perspective, though. The world changes, and nowhere faster than in technology. People would like their skills not to go stale and for hardware they like to be around forever, but it's not the case. Everything gets abandoned. It's been abandoned more slowly by MS than by some other companies, but it still gets abandoned.
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Thanks all for input. Was busy most of the day so just got a chance to read -- haven't digested all yet -- but will do my best to respond.

    First to clarify a few things.

    1) All hardware has been upgraded. Per previous post only interest in the IDE interface is the ability to get to some old files if needed.
    Since everything has gone to USB, only good options seem to be daughter boards as going from USB to whatever (IDE, Parallel, etc. does NOT seem to work off the new boards)
    1) All Apps are desktop.
    2) JET 3.5 works great with VB5/6
    Everything I've read with JET 4.0 appears to be a major problem.
    Allen Browne has an excellent article about all the issues he's run into with JET 4 and newer versions of Office.

    3) My major concern is not the DB so much, as can port to SQLite or MySQL or even flat files may work.
    My concern is Microsoft doing some Upgrade to Windows 7 and breaking VB5/6.
    Then I'm up a creek without a paddle.

    I've looked at JAVA but would be a major learning curve and effort to port VB5/6 to it.
    One thought I had was to go to C++ (Not Visual).
    I have an old book in storage that made the argument to write all code using just Send, Post and Peek Messages along with some API.
    The only issue here is Microsoft VB intrinsic controls which would have to be coded.
    I believe Olaf has done a lot of this so his input would be most valuable.

    4) I spent the day getting Office97 installed in Windows7. Took me several days to ID the problem, but once found, the load went like clockwork.
    5) KevinInstructor. I looked at shims. Really appreciate you pointing it out. At this juncture I don't think its a viable option for me, but at least I know about it as an option.

    Shaggy Hiker.
    Don't leave us hanging here. Was that as exciting as it sounds?
    Interestingly, I smelled something burning about 2 weeks ago but could never ID the smell. System kept working fine.
    About two weeks later got about 2 BSOD during the day. The next day more, and finally on the third day about every hour.
    During that period I was trying to figure out what was going on,
    When looking at the BIOS I noticed my +5.00 voltage was about 3.40 volts so figured the power supply was the problem
    Went and bought a new power supply and could not get the plug off the MOBO.
    Finally took a large pair of pliers and finally was able to get the plugs apart but could see that about 6 of the leads had fused.
    Hence the new system.

    Regarding going to NET and the amount of time. Based on dilettante's above comments (hope I gave correct person credit), with the change to Mobile, NET may be out.
    Why desktop or mobile makes a difference in what language is used is beyond me. Code is Code.
    I've been through a lot of languages over the years including Fortran, COBOL and PL1 on mainframes.
    I still don't get why everyone rushes to the newest and greatest.
    IMO the objective is to get things in memory, manipulate it, and get it out in the format wanted.

    To do this, having a language with a syntax that can be easily recalled when maintenance is needed is the most important expect for maybe special circumstances like instrumentation software where timing is critical. Then write it in assembly. While OPP has some advantages, it also has some major disadvantages because of its class dependencies.
    That's where COBOL and VB really have an advantage, one can easily maintain programs.

    Hope I didn't miss anyone or anything, will review and try to provide answers.

    =====================================================

    All these various changes Microsoft makes, really has nothing to do about programming.
    Its all about staying in business and feeding their bottom line.
    We are just someone they need to stay in business and the more they can keep us spending, the happier they are.

    That's why I think they've done everything they can to get the programming community more and more dependent on Microsoft and their products.
    They're not dumb, and know when one weights the cost of making a change the more your dependent on them the less chance you will leave.

    If enough programmers could say enough is enough, and their bottom line impacted significantly, then maybe we programmers could get some changes the way we want them.
    I don't see that happening any time soon.
    Big Blue used to do the same thing -- IT managers were afraid to change from Big BLue.
    Last edited by dw85745; Dec 19th, 2014 at 11:57 PM.

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    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Awww, that doesn't sound exciting at all. I was hoping for a flash of bluish light that lit the room up like day. Lots of hootin' and hollerin' and running around.

    Dilletant is a rational guy in most areas, but he's got his wires crossed about .NET. If you look through the posts in this area, he's been prophesizing the doom and demise of .NET for many years, always in fairly outrageous terms. As far as I can tell, he is so viscerally opposed to .NET that he is reading its death in every arrangement of the tea leaves. I wouldn't take it too seriously.

    Mobile is a BIG part of the world today. Nobody really knows what that means,yet, though. The one thing we can say with absolute certainty is that we haven't seen the end of change in the world of computers. Personally, I feel that the future may be seen in computers like the Surface: A tablet with the FULL power of a desktop or laptop. I don't see the thrilling appeal of having one device for your phone, another device for a slightly larger screen tablet, yet another device (with a different OS and different software) to do work on. As far as I can see, the best world would be to have a device that you can take with you (mobile), yet you can plug it into a dock and it IS your full computer. The current tablets and the like rather suck, because they have opted for inferior CPUs and similar limitations in an attempt to get the cost and weight down. This is where Android shines. Give us a tablet that can be our desktop and what use would we have in a tablet that was NOT capable of being our desktop. That's what the Surface (and an increasing array of other) devices offer us, the cost is just too high. We are now looking at a world where you can get a cheap, but limitted, tablet, or you can get a single device that can be desktop and portable. I would expect that cost will drop and those limitted tablets will simply fade out in favor of a single device that can do it all. After all, my Surface has the same memory and processor power as my work laptop, except that the Surface is flat out faster, and significantly so. That solid-state HD is probably the reason for this, but it's still a vision for the future.

    Still, that might do for tablets, but we are MUCH further from having a phone-size, full-on computer, so getting down to a single device that does it all isn't happening soon. It's hard to bet against technology, though, so I wouldn't be surprised if we don't reach the point where we have a phone in our pocket, and when we get to the office we plug the phone into a dock so that we can use it with a full keyboard, mouse, and multiple monitors. That's not on the horizon, yet, but I wouldn't bet against it.

    On the other hand, going to javascript will certainly position you pretty well for lots of things, but if you thought porting to Java was bad....

    MS is all about programming. If we write software for their platform, then they will dominate. If we don't, then they will fade away. Every other platform has the same issues. However, we shouldn't be pointing fingers at them, either, because we would be VASTLY better off if there was one platform to write for. Back in the 80s, there were multiple platforms. There were plenty of programs that you could buy for the Apple, but not the PC, or the Amiga but not the other two, and so on. MS and the PC came to dominate the market and the majority of developers wrote for that platform. This made life a LOT easier for developers, as they could write for one platform and know that they'd be accessible to 90%+ of the market. Now we are in a time of flux, but it doesn't make the world better for developers. If I could tell where the future was going to land, I'd just write for that, but I have no idea. Web apps have to be tested on EVERY browser you can get your hands on, as they aren't consistent (though they appear to be getting better). Write Once Run Everywhere, which was the promise of Java and the driver for .NET, has never worked for anybody, and it never will.

    So let MS try to stay in business. If they win, we get a bigger market. If they don't, then we'll switch to whoever does. We don't write stand-alone apps. We write apps that run on a platform created by some other entity. Without that platform, our apps are really bad frisbees, at best (and then only if burned onto CDs or DVDs). We need those platforms as much as the platforms need us.
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  17. #17

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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Dilletant is a rational guy in most areas, but he's got his wires crossed about .NET.
    dilettante is not the only one I've seen discussing this.
    I've been doing this a long time. Started back with mainframes when they didn't even have collators and you had to read the holes on the punch cards, read dumps and deal with different character sets as
    there was no standard as ASCII. We've come a long way and Microsoft is due a lot of credit for getting computing out from under IT departments and into the hands of the individual.
    Even back with mainframes we had the debate of this language or that language. I also give Microsoft a lot of credit for recognizing that all languages end up at the compiler and by making a common compiler everyone can write in their favorite language. I've said that for years, but who listens to me.

    Where I have my issues with Microsoft is the fact that before they had this revelation -- CLR, they worked to get a large number of developers to use Visual Basic. A lot of people spent years -- including myself - writing code, getting proficient, and getting clients all of who depend on the software we write. In my case I have a lot of custom software written for specific industries and firms. So I can either try and rewrite this all this code, or go and tell those who have relied on me, sorry, out of my control. These programs, which are used daily, will have a great impact on their business if Microsoft does an Update which causes them to stop working. As long as this software is running on the same computer, and hardware, everything is OK.
    But if the hardware craps out, and your old OS won't load onto the new hardware, you have major problems because who know what impact the new OS may have on the programs you've written for your clients.

    I'm at an age where I don't want to spend all my nights rewriting code or worry trying to get proficient in a new language where the output from the program I write will look exactly the same as it is now,
    only using different language to get there. This is out of my control but has caused me quite a bit of stress as what to do.

    Mobile is a BIG part of the world today. Nobody really knows what that means,yet, though.
    This is on the user side of the equation, not the developer side. Whether the user interfaces with a desktop, laptop, or some other device, they are ultimately using some program that has been coded by
    someone.

    MS is all about programming.
    I strongly disagree with you here. Like any business, M$ is concerned about the bottom line and how they get there. They can only sell so many copies of Visual Basic or Window 7.
    At that point the market is saturated. Consequently, they need to deprecate something or cause enough problems that users will switch and purchase the next latest and greatest thing that they and through their media efforts say this is it -- so buy it. Like lambs going to slaughter, there is always a group who jump on the bandwagon and the media helps greatly, both because they themselves need something new to talk about -- which sells their products and gives them more revenue. So all about programming it definitely is Not.

    David

    Thanks again to everyone. I'm going to consider this thread resolved.
    Last edited by dw85745; Dec 21st, 2014 at 02:36 PM.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Quote Originally Posted by dw85745 View Post
    Where I have my issues with Microsoft is the fact that before they had this revelation -- CLR, they worked to get a large number of developers to use Visual Basic. A lot of people spent years -- including myself - writing code, getting proficient, and getting clients all of who depend on the software we write. In my case I have a lot of custom software written for specific industries and firms. So I can either try and rewrite this all this code, or go and tell those who have relied on me, sorry, out of my control. These programs, which are used daily, will have a great impact on their business if Microsoft does an Update which causes them to stop working. As long as this software is running on the same computer, and hardware, everything is OK.
    But if the hardware craps out, and your old OS won't load onto the new hardware, you have major problems because who know what impact the new OS may have on the programs you've written for your clients.

    I'm at an age where I don't want to spend all my nights rewriting code or worry trying to get proficient in a new language where the output from the program I write will look exactly the same as it is now,
    only using different language to get there. This is out of my control but has caused me quite a bit of stress as what to do.
    I agree with all of that. Interestingly, I'm related to a guy who had a pivotal role in this whole thing, and he's always agreed with you. He was never in favor of throwing the VB6 crowd under the bus. The situation is considerably both more complicated, and yet more banal, than people seem to realize. A momentous decision made rather casually. I have always felt that .NET was a response to Java and the promise that Java had, yet never realized. I'm not objecting, though. I may not be as old as you, but I'm not exactly one of the younger people around here, either. I have a variety of programs written in VB6 which are still running. I resisted moving to .NET for a couple years, but had to in 2003 because only .NET would work on PDA's (there was eVB, which was like VB6, except that it was VBScript and was horrible). Once I realized what .NET offered, I never again opened VB6 except to convert code over. I recently read a pretty fair description of me: Somebody who really liked OO design, so .NET was really for me. That's a bit odd, because I use a very restricted subset of all that OO can do. For example, I don't make class trees more than two levels deep, and rarely even that much.

    However, from statements you have made, it is clear that you are older. MS has clearly indicated that VB6 apps will continue working for the forseeable future. They run fine in the next version of Windows, and will likely do so in at least one version after that, despite the drumbeat of worry that arises whenever a new version of Windows is announced. Since any version of Windows will remain "in support" for several years after it has been replaced, just how long do you expect to keep working? MS has already stated that VB6 apps will work for another decade (almost, actually, cause I think the commitment was to 2023).

    The greater threat, as I see it, is that the hardware itself will go away. Maybe we will got to all Atom all the time, and Windows will vanish. Dilletante was pushing Android, for a time, and it's not an unreasonable position, except that there is no reason why Android should supplant Windows, which means that the more likely scenario is that everybody gets a small portion and you are down to buying apps for the hardware you have, just as it was in the 80s. Still, it could happen that the hardware on which your software runs falls away completely, in which case it really doesn't matter what you wrote in, because it won't port to the new hardware, so it just goes away.

    As for your disagreement, I agree with what you said, but I STILL stand by what I said. MS really IS concerned about the bottom line, as almost every company is. They need to keep people upgrading, but they don't have to keep them upgrading the developer tools. That's a side show to the main event. The main event is keeping people on the platform, and that only happens if the software people want to run is running on that platform. That's why they are about the programming. That focus shifted a few years back, but it appears to be shifting back. All the moves that I see happening in the VS sector of MS are focused on getting more developers writing for the Windows platform. There is also an attempt to grab more of the mobile share, but who knows how that will go. Some people write MS off due to previous failures, but that's ignoring the fact that MS was almost never first to anything. It has always been their second effort that got them over the line. With the changes they are making, it may do so again.
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    Re: [RESOLVED] Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    My position on Android is that it was the future just a few years ago, and is now the present. I'm doing quite a bit of Android development right now for phones, tablets, and all-in-one desktops and face a lot of competition. Things are curently pretty active on Android.

    However from the cusp of 2015 the future looks quite murky. One change probably stems from turning Android over to the Chrome people, and this seems to have shut off plans to make Android a general purpose desktop OS. If anything the form-factor growth seems to have gone in the direction of embedded with Android M which is expected to support automobile "infotainment" as a target form factor.

    Which just goes to show that nothing is forever, and even directions can change.

    The funny part about VB6 is that if development had continued (VB7, VB8, etc.) there never would have been any stability and longevity to enjoy. That in itself might have altered the landscape quite a bit. For example Delphi and other 3rd party tools might retained a stronger position, but instead they had to contend with both VB6's stability on the one hand and .Net's innovation iteration after iteration on the other. That two-fisted strategy, intentional or accidental, proved so strong that there just aren't any other 3rd party RAD ecosystems left for the Windows platform of any significance aside from Java.

  20. #20
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    Re: [RESOLVED] Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    there just aren't any other 3rd party RAD ecosystems left for the Windows platform of any significance aside from Java
    ...or .Net

    dw85745, you seem to be making the argument that you don't want to move to .Net because there's a risk that the world might move to mobile and your answer to that conundrum is... to move to Access and VBA?! Or to put it another way, "I've written a bunch of windows desktop apps, I'm worried the windows desktop might dissapear, so I'm going to stick my fingers in my ears and ignore the risk".

    Moving your apps to a new language, any language, is going to involve a rewrite of your code base so that gives you an initial choice to make: Do I engage in a rewrite with all it's assosciated work and expense or do I accept that the world of technology has moved and continues to move and sooner or later my applications will cease to function. Either of those choices is perfectly valid (depending on your own circumstances) and is a simple risk vs reward calculation. Make the choice and own the consequences because it is your choice.

    If your choice is not to rewrite then there's really no further discussion to be had. You'll continue to make some money for a while but your revenue stream from these products is eventually going to end.

    If your choice is to rewrite then you have a second choice to make: which platform(s) will offer me the easiest rewrite and the best shot at logevity. Personally I'd recommend .Net. It's going to be the easiest rewrite because it's closest to what you know. It's scores well on longevity becasue it fully supports desktop and web and it also has a presence in mobile, albeit targetted at what is currently a third place operating system. Dil's going to recommend Java and I think that would run a close second to me (scores lower on ease of rewrite due to unfamiliarity but arguably higher on longevity due to it currently supporting the current leading mobile platform). There's bunch of other choices you should be evaluating too. What you should not be doing is allowing any disslike you have for microsoft to inform that decision because you risk losing your livelihood if you make the wrong choice while they risk... nothing. They will not even notice your personal protest. Neither shouild you be trying to hang on to old technologies when mapping your path ahead because, like it or not, the future is going to happen and will steam roller you if you pretend it isn't.

    The fact that your application are written in technologies (DAO) that were replaced 2 decades ago and yet continue to work (and probably will for another decade if MS's anouncements are to be beliveved) is testament to Microsoft's commitment to backward compatability. It does not indicate, in any way, that Microsoft left anyone high and dry.
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  21. #21
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    Re: [RESOLVED] Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    But if the hardware craps out, and your old OS won't load onto the new hardware, you have major problems because who know what impact the new OS may have on the programs you've written for your clients.
    As a few of us have said already, Windows 7 and 8 have extended support till 2020 and 2023 VB5/6 apps will continue to work on these O/S's that is a commitment by Microsoft, you really shouldn't worry about them not working on these platforms.

    The worry is when they Ship an O/S that doesn't ship & support the VB Runtimes

    This is on the user side of the equation, not the developer side. Whether the user interfaces with a desktop, laptop, or some other device, they are ultimately using some program that has been coded by
    someone.
    hmm have you done any web / mobile development, as there really is quite a difference between it and Desktop development. You comments suggest you haven't and are making assumptions.

    MS really IS concerned about the bottom line, as almost every company is. They need to keep people upgrading, but they don't have to keep them upgrading the developer tools.
    I fundamentally disagree with this. Not that MS isn't concerned by bottom line or course it is, but that it doesn't have to keep upgrading its development tools.

    Web & Mobile are changing development massively, and they are changing the development tools. You just cannot use many older languages and IDE's in a web and mobile setting, they are not suited to it.

    Virtually all new web sites now heavily rely on JavaScript, and you need JavaScript's browser side processing to be able to create Web and Mobile sites that are truly functional.

    For Android or IOS native Apps you have new languages and IDE's to be able to target them you cant just write something in VB6 or Delphi or Cobol and expect it to work, where would you even start, how would you even publish it.

    The only way you could get VB5/6 to target Web and Mobile would be to do some serious upgrading of the Development tools, which also kind of undermines your argument.
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    Re: [RESOLVED] Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Yeah, that's fine with me. MS is certainly not sitting still when it comes to updating VS, and the landscape is changing. I just don't believe that, when it comes to VS, the point of the updates is to make more money selling a new version of VS (especially when they are giving the Professional Edition away for free), the point of the updates is to keep it a relevant tool in a changing world such that developers will continue writing, hopefully for the MS platform.
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    Re: [RESOLVED] Where to Go From Here Advice Needed

    Some of it depends on where your users go. If users start buying Windows 11 or something down the road then those support horizons for earlier versions of Windows don't mean anything. If you are just plinking around for your own use then you could stay on an earlier Windows version until support runs out.


    Much to the consternation of some die-hard Windows fans Microsoft themselves have started to do more and more on non-Windows platforms, for example:

    Microsoft Delivers MSN Content Apps for Android, iOS and Fire OS: One more Windows advantage cut down

    Preview: Office for Android tablets is like Office for iPad, but on Android

    But that's mainly mobile again.

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