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Evolving to VB.NET
by Mike McIntyre | Published  09/01/2005 | Upgrading | Rating:
Mike McIntyre

I am a system architect, developer, and project manager for aZ Software Developers, LLP.

I feel very lucky because my work at aZ Software Developers allows me the time to be an active mentor, trainer, and coach in the Microsoft .NET technical community.

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Evolving to VB.NET
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This is the first in a series of articles which will discuss evolving to VB.NET from a previous version of Visual Basic.

Revolutionary Change

Visual Basic 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 added new features but kept the same underlying architecture.

Visual Basic 7.x, commonly known as VB.NET, is built on a new architecture - the .NET Platform - which brings revolutionary change to Visual Basic and the environment in which it is compiled and executed.

The language has been optimized for object-oriented programming (OOP). New keywords and syntax have been added. Some old keywords and syntax have been removed.

VB.NET code is compiled into intermediate language (IL) that is loaded, compiled, executed, and managed by the .NET Framework's Common Runtime Engine (CLR).

VB.NET programmers can use the thousands of pre-defined classes in the .NET Framework's Class Library (FCL).

VB.NET applications are developed using Visual Studio.NET, a new integrated development environment (IDE) shared by all languages built on the .NET Framework.

Good News and Not-So-Good News

The good news is that the unprecedented changes have added more features to Visual Basic.NET than were added to Visual Basic 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 combined.

The not-so-good news is that with so many changes a VB.NET upgrade is more complex and time consuming than previous Visual Basic upgrades.

Evolving to VB.NET

An evolutionary process is a process in which something passes by degrees to a more advanced stage.

Evolving to VB.NET is a process in which developers and systems are moved by degrees from a previous version of Visual Basic to VB.NET.

Developers and system architects begin to evolve to VB.NET by learning the fundamentals of the .NET Framework and the changes that have been made to the Visual Basic language. It is impossible to make good decisions about evolving systems to VB.NET from previous versions of Visual Basic without first going through this learning curve. Knowledge about previous versions of Visual Basic is not enough.

Armed with the fundamentals, developers and architects analyze existing systems to determine if, when, and how they should be upgraded to VB.NET. Not all systems can or should be upgraded. Some should be upgraded now, some later.

Let's Get Started

Are you ready to evolve? Stay tuned.

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