More Hassle Than Help

A reader comments that the migration wizard is more hassle than help for large projects; another reader critiques the depth of VSM's current offerings.

More Hassle Than Help
I just wanted to take a minute to comment on the letter from the consultant who works at ArtinSoft (Letters to the Editor, "Automating Refactoring" VSM November 2006), who wrote in response to the article by Danijel Arsenovski on refactoring ("Refactor Your Way to Migration Success," VSM September 2006).

It's plain that a lot of work went into the wizard, and I'm not here to bash those efforts indiscriminately. I can see where the migration wizard might help some developers understand how .NET works better when coming from VB6 and earlier. However, those kinds of developers must be dwindling at this point. I think we're coming up on .NET's fifth anniversary in February of 2007—I know few developers who aren't immersed to a significant degree with Visual Basic .NET at this time.

For better and worse, I've just never found the steps taken by the migration wizard to save me a significant amount of time, especially in "real" applications. Yes, the migration wizard ports some things well, but the to-do list that remains can be overwhelming. It's a bit like an OCR program that captures text 90 percent accurately. Finding and fixing the 10 percent that remains requires more time and effort than simply recreating the original document, in many circumstances.

It's also questionable whether a straight port of old applications actually makes sense. These existing applications have their purposes, but they often prove inadequate for today's business requirements. Visual Basic 6 was—is—a great programming language, but it simply doesn't include the tools you need to implement service-based or Web-oriented apps the way that .NET does.

Raymond Collins
Peoria, Ill

Magazine Needs More Depth
I read with some interest the recent letters concerning the on-line versus print version of VSM (Letters to the Editor, "Keep the eBooks Coming", VSM October 2006).

It happens that I'm cleaning and moving things around in my home office, and I've come to decide that my VBPJ issues touting the coming 32 bit version 4 IDE can probably be safely recycled.

At the same time, I note wistfully how much thicker and useful the magazine used to be to me. I took a sabbatical from subscribing for several years while I switched from being primarily a VB programmer to primarily a C# programmer. When VBPJ reincarnated itself to include C#, I looked but didn't find the content sufficient to warrant a subscription.

This past year, I decided to give the magazine another try and make a judgment based on a full year's worth of articles. My disappointment in the content of the magazine will lead me to drop my subscription. Digitally or in print, the magazine's downfall can be summed up in the October issue: three articles that pertain to how-to programming, an editorial, and a First Look that amounts to an advertisement for a product.

Even Patrick's column, which used to be balanced with criticism and credit, seems to be simply a window-wash (yes, pun intended) for Vista, a product that might have some great features, but clearly shows Microsoft at a dangerous juncture of design methodology. Vista seems to be a product where the idea of usability was defined as "let's find out what EVERYONE does with the computer and appeal to them all." Such a mentality led to a shutdown routine where there are about 238 million permutations on how to make the computer stop. Others have commented on the shortcomings in the design often enough, and I was disappointed that Patrick didn't point out some of its warts.

As the operating system becomes ever fatter, VSM has become ever thinner. I cannot abide an advertiser's journal with only a couple of articles in it.

Ron Kincaid
received by e-mail 

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