VB6 Lifetime

VB6 is a great way to build COM add-ins for Excel.

I’ve set up a starter project over at codematic:

http://www.codematic.net/Excel-development/Excel-Add-ins/excel-add-ins.htm

If you get an xla working, its not much more than a cut and paste job to get that into a COM dll. I think the VB runtimes have been distributed with Office since 2ooo, so deployment is low pain, code is more secure, interface is cleaner, forms engine is better. In fact there is a powerpoint at the same place above with a list of the benefits of COM addins.

But what about the down side?

The retirement of VB6. Its true that VB6 the development environment has been out of mainstream support since March 2005, and that it drops out of extended support in April 2008:

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=fh;en-us;lifecycle&ln=en-us&x=11&y=5

Most of the runtime components and controls will be released with Vista and so get a new 10 year lease of life.

So it seems to me there is no desperate rush to get off VB6 as a development platform. Although now we know it is legacy it maybe makes sense to at least consider the brave new world of .net. A good place to get going with that is XL-Dennis’ blog, where Dennis is working through converting a Classic VB add-in to VB.net.

cheers

Simon

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7 Responses to “VB6 Lifetime”

  1. Dennis Wallentin Says:

    Simon,

    Thanks for mention me and my efforts with VB.NET :)

    Up to this date all my VB6 COM add-ins works 100 % on the Vista platform which actually 100 % better then what my VB.NET COM add-ins do.

    This is another important aspect when discussing developing tools, i e stable and reliable solutions.

    Kind regards,
    Dennis

  2. Marcus Syben Says:

    I’m still in the processing designing a commercial solution which is a COM Add-In to Excel in VB6. I only really perceived two paths: VB6 and Delphi. I discounted .Net on several counts including performance, code security and the existing .Net installed base. Another alternative was a .Net GUI with the underlying business logic wrapped up in a VB6 DLL.

    While I’m not currently concerned about the VB6 support (or lack thereof), it may be of concern to clients (particularly those who would want the source code held in escrow in case of my demise – although it hasn’t been demanded yet). At this point I may look at Delphi more seriously.

  3. Simon Murphy Says:

    I really like C#, more than VB as a language. As a solution to the type of business issues I face however VB works much better than .net (and never mind VSTO and its additional runtime requirements). (Good points about why, Marcus)
    I had a play with Delphi a few years ago and was quite impressed, you can write xlls with it which is one up on VB.
    I decided to take the pain and move to a standards based language – C++.

  4. sam Says:

    Simon,
    I thought the easiest way to build a com add-in is through the developer addition of Office 2000 or XP.
    I really wish there was a developer edition for 2003….
    Regards
    Sam

  5. Simon Murphy Says:

    Sam
    I prefer VB6 over the developer edition, although I probably didn’t give it a fair chance.
    I’m guessing it got dropped because it wasn’t that popular?
    Did you use it much?
    cheers
    simon

  6. sam Says:

    What is (or was) good about the developer edition was you could create a COM addin without knowing anything about VB6 or VSTO or anything other than just Excel…..using the familiar VBE environment

  7. sam Says:

    Simon….
    I always wondered why microsoft did not allow user to simply save a file as
    a COM-Addin…..or an XLL just as you can save an XLA….

    Regards
    Sam

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