Microsoft Corp. is facing a revolt from some of its favored developers over the companys support for what the developers are calling classic Visual Basic, also known as VB6 (Visual Basic 6).
More than 100 Microsoft MVPs (Most Valuable Professionals) have signed an online petition calling for the company to continue to support VB6.
At issue is that as of the end of March, Microsoft has said it will discontinue mainstream support for VB6; developers who have programs written in the language platform are up in arms.
When Microsoft moved to Visual Basic .Net in 2001 and stopped development of VB6, it offered developers a migration path to the new platform.
But developers say the move is no easy one.
"Porting classic VB code to VB .Net is not a trivial task," said Jonathan Wood, founder of SoftCircuits, of Salt Lake City, a Microsoft MVP who signed the petition.
"In fact, in some cases, there are VB code statements will actually compile without error under VB .Net but produce different results."
The online petition said: "We would like to suggest a path for the future development of Visual Basic 6 and VBA [Visual Basic for Applications] that helps Microsoft align its long-term strategies with those of its customers.
"This path will also help Microsoft reconnect with the Visual Basic developer community and continue support for the Office developer community."
So the petition asks that Microsoft continue to develop VB6 and VBA to preserve assets and applications written in those languages.
"We believe the best way to meet these objectives is for Microsoft to include an updated version of VB6 inside the Visual Studio IDE," the petition said.
"For brevity well call this update VB.COM. VB.COM should use the same keywords, syntax and types as VB6, remain COM-based [Component Object Model], and compile to native code. Visual Studio would then support both unmanaged VB.COM and managed VB.NET, as it now supports both [unmanaged] C++ and [managed] C#.
"With both VBs in the same IDE [integrated development environment], it should be possible to extend the development environment to provide a high degree of interoperation between them."
In an FAQ attachment to the petition, the petitioners said that although Microsoft offers a migration wizard to ease the transition to VB .Net, it is "an incomplete solution at best."
Microsoft was unavailable for comment.