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Where is Visual Basic 7?

  • December 17, 2002
  • By Paul Kimmel
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Emotional Arguments to Present to your Boss

I think Microsoft knows there framework is great but a framework won't compel business managers to adopt .NET. That's why you are hearing so much about Web Services and security. Bridging legacy systems, interoperability, open standards—XML—and security is probably a better selling proposition to managers. And, Microsoft has added real value on these fronts.

Managers will eventually buy into .NET because their golf partners and peers in other companies that have adopted .NET will beat the pants off of them in time to market, efficacy, and cost of ownership. However, this kind of revolution can take a while, so I have included a few ideas you can try to speed things up. These ideas are tried and true but require some extra dedication on your part.

  • Work after hours on a parallel project one in .NET and the other in VB6. When you have a significantly advanced after-hours solution show your boss
  • Agree to a shorter deadline if you can use .NET for your next project
  • Start a brown bag lunch club where developers bring a bag lunch and begin teaching each other things about .NET. Each session have someone present a new topic
  • Join your local .NET users group and invite speakers to your brown bags
  • Buy your own copy of .NET
  • Slowly begin replacing your VB6 books with .NET books on your shelves at work
  • Ignore your manager and build it in .NET anyway, playing dumb when he or she catches on
  • Say things like "of course if we were doing this in .NET then we could do it in a)half the time, b)at half the cost, c) with greater reliability or security, or d)all of the above
  • Talk about great new features and then say "oh, well that is available only in .NET"
  • And, if all else fails simply tell your boss it is time to upgrade the version to VB7 and don't say ".NET"

In all seriousness there is a technology drawback here. To run .NET on client's computers those computers must have the .NET framework (unless you are building a Web application). However, you can download the framework for free and it is no different then having the Java framework on a client computer. Upgrading infrastructure is a big deal to businesses, so you will have to make this seem as trivial as it really is.

Summary

Visual Basic .NET is an exciting language to program in. You will be more productive, and you will write better software than ever before, but there are a couple of stumbling blocks. The anti-Microsoft faction is beating up Microsoft on issues of security and reliability. And, while a lot of security issues have to do with non-OS related issues, the anti-Microsoft faction aided by the press is having an impact. A second roadblock is the perception of complexity when it comes to putting the .NET framework on client PCs. If you work for a big company this is a big job. You will have to articulate that there are already other vendor frameworks on those same PCs—like Java—and that this is not a big deal nor is it a lock in strategy. Those same PCs can have other vendor's tools whether they were built with .NET or not.

At the "Great Debate: .NET or .What?" the oppositions point of view was that .NET is a lock in strategy for Microsoft. This isn't true. I have Sun's Java, Borland's VCL, VB6, and MFC based applications all running merrily on the same computer. .NET is a framework that will help propel the needs of present and future computing. .NET does address real present and future needs of Internet applications, and .NET is comprised of both real products, like Visual Basic .NET, C#, and ADO.NET and marketing hyperbole. Marketing is an essential aspect of communication.

In closing, I encourage you to evaluate individual offerings tagged with .NET and evaluate against their purported and actual merits. As developers we will certainly reap a huge technological windfall.

About the Author

Paul Kimmel is a freelance writer for Developer.com and CodeGuru.com. Look for his recent books "Advanced C# Programming" from McGraw-Hill/Osborne and "Visual Basic .NET Unleashed". Paul Kimmel is available to help design and build your .NET solutions and can be contacted at pkimmel@softconcepts.com.

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