The software vendor will continue support for the VB 6.0 runtime for existing applications.
Microsoft is ending support for the Visual Basic 6.0 integrated development environment.
Jeff Nuckolls, a Microsoft blogger, in an April 3 post said that the IDE will no longer be supported as of April 8.
"If you haven't converted all your apps to .NET, shame on you, but don't freak out,"Nuckolls wrote. "Microsoft will continue to support the VB 6.0 runtime for all existing application in all the next versions of the Windows OS including Windows Server 2008 and Vista. However; who knows how many years the runtime will be supported, so you might want to start considering a migration plan, if not for supportability concerns, then to take advantage of the performance, security, power of the .Net Framework and the productivity of Visual Studio 2008."
Microsoft received some support for the move in the industry.
Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at twentysix New York, a New York-based consultancy and Microsoft regional director, said VB 6.0 is 10 years old. "And the runtime will continue to be supported well into the future," Brust said. "I think this is a sensible policy. There is also enough of a community around VB 6.0 that I expect peer support to be pretty robust even for the IDE."
Meanwhile, Stephen Forte, a New York-based independent consultant and also a Microsoft regional director, said that "all good things come to an end. I wrote a tremendous amount of VB 6.0 apps 10 years ago, but that is just it-it was 10 years ago and even though I loved VB 6.0 at the time, today it is kind of primitive to me. I am glad that I embraced .Net seven years ago."
Forte said Microsoft "handled this very well. They gave us like two years of warning and then if you really, really need VB 6.0 because the original developer died and declared his variables in German, then you can still use the IDE. Microsoft just will not release any service packs. And, hey, after 10 years, if there are still things that need fixing, too late."
Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.