Make the Leap to .NET

Developers encourage VB6ers to delve into .NET code (whether VB.NET or C#) and take the plunge into the latest languages. The move isn't trivial, but it'll be worth they effort.

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Make the Leap to .NET
As a programmer with 23 years of experience and a longtime VB developer (since VB 2.0), I must take exception to Jeff Jones' recent letter, where once again the flames of the language wars were fanned [Letters to the Editor, "Discouraging Moves From VB6 to C#," October 2005]. It has been my personal experience and that of the team I work with that while moving from VB6 to C# isn't a trivial experience, it has more to do with learning the namespaces and the IDE than languages. If you're a good programmer, then the language you use is incidental. I've written effective software in Cobol, C, Clipper, and, of course, VB. Of these, VB allows me to be most productive, but I've always hated the necessity of having my hand held by the language and needing to always delve into the Win32 API to do things that VB alone could not.

When I began looking at .NET, I found that the years of VB habits caused me to trip up over syntax that was similar but not the same. It got so frustrating that I turned to C# so that I could focus exclusively on the namespaces and the IDE. Far from "ancient," I find C# to be an elegant language, devoid of needless "dongles" that hide what I need to know to do my job. I much prefer "{" to the more verbose "End If." In fact, I much prefer the terseness of the syntax and the fact that it forces me to delve into the namespaces to do what I need to do.

And as far as RAD goes, I find C# every bit as quick to develop with as VB6. I recently wrote a Windows service that watches a folder tree on a production server awaiting scanned documents, wraps them in an e-mail message, and mails them to the recipient. I went from concept to development to testing to production in 30 hours—that's pretty RAD. It saved manpower by automating a manual process—that's money to my employers.

So use what you like, but I would encourage VB6 coders (especially advanced ones) to look at C#. Our team loves it.

Larry W. Seals, Mebane, N.C.

I've been programming in Visual Basic since version 1.0 Professional for DOS. I've also managed to squeeze in self-taught .NET applications since it was in beta. I've just finished reading Jeff Jones' letter and feel compelled to add a few thoughts to the mix.

I peruse message boards and articles looking for that killer snippet of code and am constantly overwhelmed with two requests: Can you convert that to VB for me? Can you convert that to C# for me?

I don't mean to sound arrogant, but if these programmers would dabble for about 15 minutes, they would realize that the languages are nearly identical. I've had my share of converting "End While" to "}" and my ";" key is now all rubbed off, but I can confidently say I am fluent in both C# and VB.

I've also noticed that C# jobs are posting higher pay rates. Thus, I've now changed my focus to being a C# developer. Let's face it, we go where the money goes. (It's not like the jobs are different, anyway.)

I would love to write more, but I'm busy converting some VB to C# and back again to pass the time, because I can.

Christopher Schipper, Roseville, Calif.

Correction
In the article, "Editors Choice Awards Inspire and Innovate" [Visual Studio Magazine: Buyers Guide & Product Directory 2005], we mistakenly used the term MB instead of GB in the portion of the article on SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. The effected sentence should read, "SQL Server 2005 Express Edition also doubles the maximum database size it can work with from 2 GB to 4 GB, and there is no limit to the number of databases per instance." —Eds.

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