Evolving to VB.NET. Part 2 - Making the Decision to Evolve
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This is the second in a series of articles which discuss evolving to VB.NET from a previous version of Visual Basic.
VBCU and VBC
In this article series, users of versions of Visual Basic prior to VB.NET will be identified by the acronym: VBCU, which stands for Visual Basic Classic User. Previous versions of Visual Basic will be identified by the acronym: VBC, which stands for Visual Basic Classic.
When should YOU evolve from VBC to .NET?
YOU should evolve from VBC to .NET when the benefits YOU will get from upgrading to .NET clearly outweigh the costs YOU will pay to upgrade to .NET.
Determining when to evolve is all about YOU. The benefits gained and the costs paid to upgrade to .NET vary a lot from individual to individual and company to company. You can't use other people's results to decide what is right for you. You must figure this one out yourself.
To determine if the benefits YOU will get from upgrading to VB.NET will outweigh the costs YOU will pay, you need to conduct a "cost-to-benefits analysis". To do this you need to calculate YOUR cost to upgrade and the value of the benefits YOU will gain from upgrading, compare the cost to the value of the benefits, and then make your upgrade decision.
How can you determine YOUR cost to upgrade to .NET? In a future article in this series I will present some ways to estimate what it will cost YOU, or YOUR COMPANY, to evolve from VBC to VB.NET.
How can you determine the value of the benefits YOU can get from upgrading to .NET? This remainder of this article and the article that will follow will explain how.
Which .NET features will benefit you?
Before you can answer that question you need: 1) a fairly detailed list of the VB.NET, Visual Studio.NET, and .NET Framework features and 2) a basic idea of what can be done with each feature.
Armed with your 'shopping list' and your new found knowledge about each .NET feature on the list, you will can select out the features that you feel will benefit you.
To be beneficial to YOU a .NET feature must be 1) a superior way to do something that can already be done in VBC or 2) a new capability that is not available in VBC AND the feature must be must be something you need, or will need, in the not-too-distant future.
Creating a .NET Features "Shopping List"
The .NET feature list should not be too generic or it will 'hide' many .NET features.
What does a generic list look like? As I write this there is a list of the top 10 features to upgrade to Visual Basic.NET 2003 on the "Microsoft Visual Basic Developers Center". It's a good example of a 'generic' list of VB.NET, Visual Studio.NET, and .NET Framework features.
Top 10 Reasons to Adopt Visual Basic .NET 2003
1. NEW - Enhanced Visual Studio .NET IDE
Visual Basic .NET 2003 provides developers with the award-winning Visual Studio .NET integrated development environment (IDE), which now includes faster startup time, enhanced Smart Listing for faster and more accurate coding, flexible Task Lists, property editors, IntelliSense® improvements, forms designers, and much more.
2. NEW - Improved Debugging with IntelliSense
IntelliSense is now available within the Immediate Window for providing assistance while debugging applications. In addition, the Visual Basic .NET IDE now offers a simplified Debug Window to provide only the most pertinent information for quickly debugging Visual Basic .NET applications.
3. Build Applications for Windows
The Microsoft Windows® Forms Designer included in Visual Basic .NET 2003 is an enhanced version of the forms designer that Visual Basic developers have been using for years. Features include control anchoring and docking to eliminate the need for complex resize code, an in-place menu editor to deliver WYSIWYG menu creation, the tab order editor to provide rapid application development (RAD) organization of controls, and visual inheritance.
4. Build Applications for the Web
Visual Basic .NET 2003 delivers "Visual Basic for the Web." Using Web Forms, you can easily build true thin-client Web-based applications that intelligently render on any browser and on any platform. Programming with Web Forms combines the RAD experience of Visual Basic 6.0 forms with the easy deployment and maintenance of Web-based applications. The enhanced HTML editor delivers IntelliSense statement completion for HTML tags, and the separation of user interface (UI) from code enables more efficient team-based development.
5. NEW - Build Applications for Mobile Web and Smart Devices
Using the integrated ASP.NET Mobile Web Forms Designer, you can easily build thin-client Web-based applications that intelligently render on more than 200 devices including wireless application protocol (WAP) mobile phones, wireless personal digital assistants (PDAs), and pagers.
6. Visual Studio .NET 2003 now includes integrated support for the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework.
Using the Windows Forms designer, Visual Basic developers can easily build, debug, and deploy applications for the Pocket PC, Pocket PC Phone Edition, and other smart devices powered by the .NET Compact Framework. Integrated emulation enables developers to program and debug their applications easily without requiring a device. These features are available in Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise, and Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect editions.
7. Trouble-free Deployment of Windows-based Applications
Visual Basic .NET and the .NET Framework simplify Windows-based application deployment and help to make "DLL Hell" and component versioning issues a thing of the past. XCOPY deployment enables developers to install a Windows-based application simply by copying files to a directory. With Visual Basic .NET and auto-download deployment, Windows-based applications can be installed and executed simply by pointing a Web browser to a URL.
8. NEW - Target the Improved Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1
The .NET Framework version 1.1 provides numerous enhancements over the .NET Framework 1.0, including better scalability and performance and managed providers for Oracle and ODBC database connectivity. To ensure the highest level of compatibility, the .NET Framework 1.1 can be installed side-by-side with the .NET Framework 1.0.
9. NEW - Enhanced Upgrade Technology
Visual Basic .NET 2003 developers can now leverage even more of their existing investments in code and skills. The improved upgrade wizard enables developers to migrate up to 95 percent of existing code to Visual Basic .NET. The upgrade wizard is now available in Visual Basic .NET 2003 Standard edition and Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional, Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise, and Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect editions.
10. Powerful, Flexible Data Access
Visual Basic .NET provides developers with both the ActiveX® Data Objects (ADO) data access programming model for backward-compatibility, plus XML-based ADO.NET. With ADO.NET, developers
Next Issue: Creating YOUR Top 10 Reasons to Adopt Visual Basic .NET.