FRANCESCO BALENA ON VB MIGRATION

 

[INTERVIEW] Yours truly on .NET Rocks!

clock May 2, 2014 16:30

A few weeks ago I had an interesting and entertaining conversation with Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell of .NET ROCKS, about VB6 migration, the effect that Windows XP retirement is having on companies that can't afford keeping their mission-critical VB6 apps on an unsupported operating system, and a lot more. Yesterday the interview went online, at this URL

Happy listening!



Code Architects partners with Ianiri Informatica

clock August 19, 2013 20:27

Code Architects has recently acquired 50% of Ianiri Informatica, an Italian software house that was founded n 1982 and that is known as the makers of GIPO, the leading software for small clinics, day hospitals and physioterapy centers.

Code Architects and Ianiri Informatica will work together to deliver the next generation of GIPO software, codenamed GIPO Sky, that will be entirely Cloud-based and use HTML5 for a modern and functional user 

At the same time, Ianiri Informatica's expertise in areas such as HTML5 and scripting languages will be used by Code Architects in building the next generation of VB6 migration software and application modernization tools. 

More details will follow... STAY TUNED !



[NEW RELEASE] Version 1.51 is available to registered users

clock June 4, 2013 11:06

Since early 2013 we have been distributing version 1.50 to selected customers, gathered their feedback and suggestions, and the result here: VB Migration Partner 1.51 is now ready.

 

There are tons of improvements in this new release, but the most important one is surely full-featured C# code generation. While our competitors are compatible with the C# language found in Visual Studio 2008, we decided to focus on C# 2010, which allows us to support modern C# features were not available in earlier language versions, most notably the dynamic type and optional parameters. These two single features, together with the many enhancements that only VB Migration Partner offers, let our users to create the most efficient and readable code a VB6-to-C# converter can possibly generate.

Here is a short and incomplete list of C# features offered by VB Migration Partner (and in many cases only by VB Migration Partner!):

C# specific

  • support for the dynamic type => faster and concise code
  • support for optional parameters => more readable code
  • ByRef parameters rendered using the out keyword if possible => faster code
  • the ability to generate method overloads for ref/out parameters avoids the need for temporary variables in method calls => concise and readable code
  • support for WithEvents variables => less verbose code
  • ability to implement an interface either implicitly or explicitly => compliance with your own programming style
  • transformation of On Error Goto into try-catch blocks (with warnings when the transformation isn't perfectly equivalent) 
  • transformation of On Error Resume Next into lambda expressions => full functional equivalence
  • preserves error codes => no need for manual fixes after migration
  • transformation of And/Or operators into either bit-wise or logical C# operators 
  • transformation of Select blocks into either if or switch blocks => more logical and efficient code 
  • Exit For,Do,While keywords in nested loops => code works as expected
  • expressions and function calls in compiler constants
  • string and math native .NET methods used if possible => compliance with .NET programming style 
VB.NET and C#
  • code generation for VS 2010 and VS 2012
  • support for .NET 3.5 and 4.x
  • improved support for User Control serialization in code-behind sections of forms => faster .NET form loading
  • simplified design-time and runtime support for scaling User Control at different screen resolution and system font sizes => no-brains compliance with .NET coding guidelines
  • positional pragmas: it is now possible to keep all pragma (including method-specific pragmas) in separated text files => less cluttered source files
  • automatici generation of AccessibleName property for .NET or custom controls => .NET apps ready for visually-impaired users
  • support for external source file editors => edit VB6 or .NET code with your favorite tool
  • many bugs fixed (of course!)

Each of these features (and of the many features that I didn't mentioned) would require a separate discussion, and I will surely devote some posts to the most interesting ones. 

For now, you can learn more about C# specific support here.

 



Feedback from Apogeo, Italy

clock January 22, 2013 17:30

One more customer who used VB Migration Partner and Code Architects' migration services...

 

VB Migration Partner has been a winning choice for migrating our VB6 application, that serves over 700 customers. In a few months they delivered an error-free version of our 500K lines of code application and we appreciated the VB Migration Partner efficient and skilled technical support. Code Architects is a crucial partner to quickly adapt the product to the new technologies.

Gianluca Zanella
Technical Team Apogeo - Gruppo Zucchetti – Italy

 



VB Migration Partner will support Visual Studio 2012

clock July 23, 2012 15:48

A few customers asked about our support for the forthcoming Visual Studio 2012, so here is the official announcement:

VB Migration Partner will add support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 within a few weeks after VS official release. This includes code generation for both VB.NET and C# and support for .NET 4.5.



[EVENT] Forthcoming webcast on VB6 migration to VB.NET and C#

clock June 12, 2012 18:02

On Tuesday, June 19 at 10.00 am Pacific Time I will give an MSDN Webcast entitled Proven Methodologies and Tools for Migrations from Visual Basic 6 to Visual Basic .NET or Visual C#

In spite of the long and complex title, it's a Level 200 webcast, so it is suitable even for those who never had to migrate their VB6 code to .NET (lucky guys! Laughing).

In 60 minutes I will show some useful insights in how to migrate VB6 to either VB.NET and C# with the best results and will descrive our convert-test-fix methodology, which is enabling many developers all over the world to convert their evolving VB6 codebase and still be able to generate a VB.NET or C# code that is synched with the most recent version of the VB6 code. (By comparison, our competitors force you to freeze the development on the VB6 side during the weeks or months while the migration takes place.) I will also show the ADOLibrary in action and how you can solve most of your ADODB-to.ADO-NET headaches with it.

You can attend the event and ask your question by visiting this page. See you online.

 

 



[NEW RELEASE] VB Migration Partner 1.50 Public Beta with C# support is available!

clock June 9, 2012 19:31

VB Migration Partner with C# support has been in private beta for a few months: results and feedback have been VERY encouraging and we are now ready to make it available to all users!

Our last released version was 1.34, therefore this version should be 1.35, but we decided to jump to version 1.50 to emphasize the new C# support.

VB Migration Partner isn't the first or the only VB6-to-C# generator on the market, but for sure it features the most sophisticated engine for converting from VB6 to C#. Unlike our competitors, who still target older C# versions, we decided to generate C# code for Visual Studio 2010, so that we could take advantage of the many great features of this new version, such as optional parameters and the dynamic data type for seamless late-bound calls. The result is C# code that is far more concise, readable, and efficient that ANY OTHER tool that converts from VB6 to C#.

Here is a short and incomplete list of what VB Migration Partner 1.50 can do:

  • converts VB6 optional parameters into either C# optional parameter or method overloads; as with all VB Migration Partner's options, you can set your preferences at the project, file, or method level, therefore you can produce exactly the code that you like most.
    By comparison, other VB6-to-C# tools can only translate optional parameters into method overloads, which typically means more code to maintain in the future.
  • convert Variant and Object variables into the C# dynamic type, which means better and concise C# code that doesn't rely on clumsy and inefficient helper methods to perform late-bound calls.
    Unbelievably, two years after VS 2010 launch, our competitor still ignores that late-bound calls can and should rendered via the dynamic data type, and stubbornly generate a lot of code that relies on helper methods and Reflection to invoke a late-bound method.
  • generates out instead of ref parameters if possible, thus allowing the C# compiler to generate faster method calls.
    No other VB6 conversion tool has this feature.
  • converts Select Case blocsk into either switch blocks (if possible) or if..else if blocks (in the most general case); switch blocks are preferred to if..else if blocks because the C# compiler can optimize them into jump tables, whereas if...else if blocks require that a given expression must be re-evaluated many times.
    As you might have guessed, no other VB6 conversion tool can generate efficient switch blocks.
  • can optionally generate method overloads to account for ref parameters that receive expressions and constant values; this feature alone dramatically simplifies the code that is needed to call the method.
    By comparison, other VB6-to-C# generate tons of temporary variables for each method call, a technique that makes the code more verbose and in some cases generates compilation errors.
  • it can generate an interface implementation either implicitly (with public methods) or explicitly, which helps keeping the object model tidy and elegant.
    Other converters can only generate implicitly-implemented interfaces.
  • convert an On Error Goto statement into a try-catch, with a warning if the try-catch block isn't perfectly equivalent to the original VB6 code.
    Other converters do the same, but never emit a warning.
  • convert an On Error Resume Next statement into a series of lambda expressions, with you deciding whether this option is applied at the project, file, and method level.
    Other converters offer this feature only at the project level, which gives you no control about where the conversion should or shouldn't be applied.
  • refactor Gosub calls into separate private methods.
    No other converter has this important feature, which VB Migration Partner has since 2008.
  • gives you control over which .NET methods should be used instead of helper methods (defined in the support library), and where the replacement is OK.
    Other converters provide this option only at the project-level, which often leads to a behavior that isn't equivalent to the original VB6 code.
  • convert from ADODB to ADO.NET, including support for server-side SQL Server cursors, thanks to our ADOLibrary.
    No other convert even comes close to this!

As if all this weren't enough, remember that VB Migration Partner 1.50 generates C# project that use our feature-rich support library, which perfectly mimics the VB6 behavior and prevents you from wasting weeks or months trying to duplicate the behavior of the application being migrated. This includes full support for graphic methods, drag-and-drop, data-binding, weird Windows API methods, subclassing, etc. What can you ask for more?

VB Migration Partner 1.50 Beta is available to all registered users, together with white papers that contain tips and recommendations for whoever wants to convert VB6 projects to C#. We are in the process of updating all our online docs.



Happy New Migration Year

clock January 11, 2012 07:14

I know, it's been a long time since my last post, which followed version 1.34, the first release that officially supports ADODB-to-ADO.NET conversion.

I have a good excuse for this absence, though: we have been working hard on the next major release VB Migration Partner, which will include support for VB6-to-C# migration. We are very excited about this new great feature, and look forward to releasing the first beta release to our registered users.

Converting VB6 to C# is way more complex than converting to VB.NET. Here are just a few of the VB6 features that require special treatment under C#:

  • Late-binding calls
  • On Error Goto, On Error Resume Next and Resume
  • Option Strict Off
  • Modules and global variables
  • Static local variables inside methods
  • With...End With blocks
  • Select Case blocks (C# switch blocks don't allow <, <=, >, >= and TO operators)
  • ref/out optional parameters (C# only supports by-value optional params)
  • Date constants and optional Date parameters (both are unsupported under C#)
  • Multiple default properties with arguments (C# only supports one indexer per class)
  • WithEvents variables
  • #IF and #ELSEIF blocks (C# doesn't support operators in compile-time expressions)
  • ... and counting

The good news is that VB Migration Partner will be able to correctly migrate all these features (and many others) and will generate code that contains fewer compilation errors and is more efficient than any other VB6-to-C# converter, including those that have been on the market for years.

VB Migration Partner also leverages the C# features that are missing in VB.NET, for example it generates out parameters instead of ref parameters when possible and can emit both explicit and implicit interface implementations, a choice that no other tool provides. As for all other VB Migration Partner features, and unlike other migration products, these options can be controlled via pragmas at the solution, project, file, and method-level, thus you can always generate that C# code that matches your programming style.

We don't have an exact release date yet, but we hope it to be "very soon". Just stay tuned!

 

 



New KB articles about version 1.34

clock October 17, 2011 12:55

As explained in my previous post, VB Migration Partner 1.34 is a major update that contains many great features that make the most powerful VB6 converter on the market even more powerful.

If you are using the new version to re-migrate VB6 projects that have been instrumented with pragmas - in other words, you are adopting our convert-test-fix methodology - the notes that follow aren't really pertinent to you. On the other hand, if you plan to simply replace the current version of CodeArchitects.VBLibrary DLL with the new version there are a few things you should know.

  • we have changed the way the ImageList control is implemented, and this change may affect existing (migrated) forms. You can read more in this article
  • If you take advantage of the new CodeArchitects.VBPowerPack DLL - for example by copying it into VB Migration Partner's setup folder - you should consider that a few VB6 objects will be rendered by means of objects exposed by this new DLL, namely: the CommonDialog, Line, and Shape controls, the Printer object, and the Printers collection. The objects in this DLL are fully .NET classes that have no dependency on COM, however they are slightly less compatible with VB6 than the objects used by VB Migration Partner v.1.33 (that are still available in the main CodeArchitects.VBLibrary support library). Please read this article before deciding whether to use the new objects.

VB Migration Partner 1.34 introduces many new features that can greatly improve the behavior of your migrated projects. For example:

  • The new VB6Config.UseExCompositeStyle boolean property allows you to leverage a little-known feature of .NET forms and eliminate the flickering you may see when loading or resizing a form that contains many controls. (The flickering is especially apparent if the form has a background image). This article explains how and when to use this property.
  • The new VB6Config.DBCSSupport boolean property can be set to true to improve support for DBCS strings. This is especially useful for Japanese users. (Don't set this property to True unless necessary, because it would slightly reduce exection speed of some string functions.)
  • If the new VB6Config.UseVBPowerPack boolean prooperty is set to True, then the PrintForm method internally uses the PrintForm class defined in Microsoft VB PowerPacks. In some cases this setting delivers better results. Of course, if you assign True to this property the Microsoft.VisualBasic.PowerPacks.dll file must be installed on the end user's computer.
  • The VB6Form, VB6PictureBox, and VB6UserControl classes now expose the DoubleBuffered property. If you set this property to True - in the Properties window at design-time or programmatically via code - applications that perform massive graphic operations will run remarkably faster, up to a factor of 8x! The speed improvement is especially noticable for graphic methods that run inside the Paint event handler.
  • The CommandButton, CheckBox, and OptionButton controls now expose a boolean property named UseTextAlignment. If you set this property to True - in the Properties window at design-time or programmatically via code - then you can supercede the standard VB6-styled text alignment and precisely align the caption by means of the .NET TextAlignment property.
  • A new migration INFO message is generated for all Variant and Object variables whose type has been inferred into a more specific type. Thanks to this new message you can quickly check that VB Migration Partner inferred the correct type.

VB Migration Partner 1.34 has also fixed a few minor bugs and further improved the compatibility with VB6 in many areas.

 



[MAJOR UPDATE] Announcing VB Migration Partner 1.34

clock October 6, 2011 09:27

 

Many months have passed since the last VB Migration Partner release (1.33), but surely we haven't been lazy in the meantime. As a matter of fact, the upcoming version 1.34 is filled with great and exciting new features. Don't let the "minor release number" fool you: this is a major upgrade that will make your migrations easier and faster than ever!

First and foremost, version 1.34 officially includes ADOLibrary, the revolutionary .NET library that makes the transition from ADODB to ADO.NET a child play. A will illustrate all the features of this library in a forthcoming post, but for now let me say that ADOLibrary fully supports forwardonly-readonly server-side cursors and client-side cursors with batch optimistic updates. Unlike other vendors in this market, when we say "fully support" we really mean it! In fact, we support all Connection and Recordset events and even rarely used dynamic properties such as Update Criteria or Unique Table. On top of that, we even offer nearly complete support for server-side SQL Server keyset cursors, a feature that only VB Migration Partner can offer! You must see it to believe!

Next comes the support for all the features of Microsoft VB PowerPacks. Starting with version 1.34 migrated apps can use the Printer, Line, and Shape classes defined in this Microsoft library. Foir the highest compatibility with VB6 printing, in previous version the Printer class and the Print common dialog was implemented by means of a small COM DLL. Now all dependencies on COM can be removed and your migrated projects are fully native .NET apps. (For backward compatibility the PowerPack support must be explicitly enabled.)

We have tremendously improved and optimized graphic operations, by using double-buffering and other expert-level programming techniques. While our competitors have just began to introduce limited support for a few graphic operations, the new release of VB Migration Partner is 8-10x faster than its predecessors. We even support the DrawMode property for Line methods, which means that you can do rubber-banding graphics (something that not even plain GDI+ offers).

If you like forms that load fast and without flickering (who doesn't?), you'll be delighted to take advantage of a new feature of the VB6Form class, which uses an advanced and little-known feature of .NET forms to reduce load time and flickering of forms with tons of controls, that is the kind of forms that abound in VB6 projects and that "standard" .NET apps display so slowly. You don't have to be a Windows Forms guru to use this new feature, though: just set a configuration variable and then forget about it!

We have significantly improved VB6 functional equivalence in just too many areas to mention here. Just an example: you can now read and write binary and random files that contain complexed and nested Type...End Type records, dynamic and static arrays, standard and fixed-length strings, etc. and still preserve full compatibility with VB6 binary files In other words, you can exchange binary data with legacy VB6 apps without any need to convert it. This means saving DAYS of programming if you do the conversion manually or with another conversion tool...

Version 1.34 will be available in a few hours. As usual, existing customers will be automatically notified of the new version the next time they launch VB Migration Partner. For more info about new features, changes and bug fixes, have a look at the VERSION HISTORY.TXT file.

 





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