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Author Topic: VB6 - where to go now?  (Read 8846 times)
Booma-Booma
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« on: August 29, 2007, 07:52:44 AM »

Hi all,

I've been programming in VB6 since '99, full time since '03. It looks as though I am going to have to make a decision as to what language I choose next. VB.net looks promising and I have taken to it like a duck to water - I really like OOP! I have also tried c#, again  I like it as well but I find the syntax a little harder to read (my eyes aren't what they used to be  cheesy). With that said I really don't want to move to .Net for 2 main reasons.

1) dot net isn't compiled. Unless you have some third party tool to obfuscate the code, your IP may not be protected.
2) It is slow - or at least I find it slower than stuff I have written in VB6 (I think this goes back to 1)

I write software for the mining industry that interacts with their CAD systems and geological modeling systems. My programs are mainly dll activeX controls that plugin to the CAD and GEO tools. Right away, speed is an issue (3d vector calculations, matrix calculations, Finite Element Analysis, Genetic Algorithms). It doesn't have to be super fast - just fast enough so they don't have time to take a coffee break!

Recently I have been going over some of my older code and I have been able to make dramatic speed improvements (these were possible because I hadn't coded the routines optimally in the past - lack of experience). What I have found over the years is that 80% of the work that I do is interacting with the user (i.e getting input, validating input, writing files, interacting with databases, etc.) and that doesn't require a heavy duty language like c++.

I have been thinking about this switch long and hard for the past year or two since I found out that support for VB6 would be discontinued. I thought that vb.net would be where I should go but there are too many problems around protecting my work (not from pirating, but my algorithms). I then got the idea that maybe a mixture of c++ (for the back end) and  vb.net for the GUI would be the way to go. I think that might be over kill. I would prefer one general purpose language as opposed to a mash up of two or more. That, IMHO would lead to a maintenance nightmare for the poor soul that has to maintain the project if they only have a .Net background.

So my question to you all is, should I focus on .Net because it is the fashionable thing to do or should I approach another language altogether? I am open to alternatives, but it needs to be relatively popular.

I downloaded a copy of Turbo Delphi last night and I like what I see (I was able to navigate around the IDE relatively easily and Hello World was a snap).

Any opinions on Delphi?

Does it have the staying power?

Will it be ready for 64bit?

Can it be used from .Net and can it use .Net components?

Can it create activeX dlls that would work from VB6 apps?


Cheers and Thanks,
Troy

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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2007, 03:58:10 PM »

It sounds like Delphi is definitely something to look at for you.

As far as I can tell, Borland is still pursuing a two-track approach to delphi, with support for both native Win32 stuff, and support for .net.  Your choice.  Yes you can create activex and dlls. 

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Booma-Booma
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2007, 05:48:07 PM »

Thanks, mouser! That is what I thought.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2007, 06:32:18 PM »

How about RealBasic - it even converts VB code for you. See http://www.realbasic.com/

It is regularly updated (and has an annual subscription model) and has a standard and professional mode. The professional mode allows access to facilities like SQL databases.

Worth a look and has the huge advantage that it is cross platform compatible (Windows, Linux and MacOS) so one code compiles to all platforms.

Here is a sample screen from the IDE:

« Last Edit: August 29, 2007, 06:38:04 PM by Carol Haynes » Logged

Booma-Booma
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2007, 06:53:08 PM »

I've looked at REALbasic before and from what I have read it doesn't appear to support the creation of activeX dlls.
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Uffe
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2007, 04:09:52 AM »

> Will it be ready for 64bit?
In about 1½ year according to the roadmap:
http://dn.codegear.com/article/36620

> Can it be used from .Net and can it use .Net components?
Yes, Delphi.NET can use and create .NET assemblies. I use it for writing .NET assemblies for use by primarily C# users.

> Can it create activeX dlls that would work from VB6 apps?
Yes, many of my customers use my ocx from vb6. This is Delphi/win32 based.

Best place to ask general Delphi questions is in this newsgroup:
news://newsgroups.borland.com/borland.public.delphi.non-technical

This is also where someone has seen your question in this forum.
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SkyIDE
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2007, 05:58:30 AM »

Either Delphi or VB.NET however you should consider learning C++ in the spare time. Had you known C++, you would have had no problems with C#.
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2007, 07:52:22 AM »

Man,you guys actually care for .net.I dont even care cause its not cross platform.Why not go for java?
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porpoise
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2007, 08:04:03 AM »

Troy:

A small world it is.  I am a geologist who also writes software for the earth sciences (GIS/well logging/lab data software).  I've been using Delphi since v5 and I think it is an excellent tool (I'm also a VB convert).

Q: Does it have the staying power?
A: I think so, but Borland/CodeGear (the makers of Delphi) has seen a decline in their user base; I think this is on the rebound now with new management and a spin-off of their developer tools division as CodeGear.

Q: Will it be ready for 64bit?
A: Delphi has a roadmap that indicates a 64-bit compiler is in the works for their Commodore release in Winter 2008 (see:  http://dn.codegear.com/article/36620).  Note that Highlander is the code name for "RAD Studio 2007" which was just released.

Q: Can it be used from .Net and can it use .Net components?
A: Yes, your Win32 dlls/ActiveX, etc. can be used from .Net.  .Net components can be used from your Win32 executables also but this requires the whole .Net runtime, of course.  I don't use .Net, so my knowledge here is a little fuzzy, but I believe CodeGear will be scaling back their .Net features (such as eliminating support for WinForms).  This shouldn't matter for using .Net components in Win32 applications, but it could matter if you want to develop .Net components/applications.  If this is important to you, you might want to investigate it further.

Q: Can it create activeX dlls that would work from VB6 apps?
A: Yes.

Another user suggested RealBasic and has some valid points about its ability to perform cross-platform compilation.  Although Delphi lacks this ability, it has a major strength that RealBasic doesn't match, which is a substantial 3rd-party vendor market for all kinds of components.  To me, this is one of Delphi's biggest strengths.

Kind Regards,

Greg
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SkyIDE
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2007, 03:08:19 PM »

.NET is cross platform in a way. MONO for Linux and Windows.
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Booma-Booma
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2007, 05:50:49 PM »

Thank you all for the excellent feedback! I am really surprised at how easy delphi is to learn. I wish I would have given it a chance a few years ago.

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empyrean
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2007, 11:09:56 PM »

While you're looking, consider PowerBasic.  It's supposed to produce very tight, fast code; and it is actively supported by the vendor and several third parties.
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jah
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« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2007, 01:58:28 AM »

Also check out PureBasic(www.purebasic.com), it's a very powerful language and Fred(the creator) is a really nice guy and same goes for the helpful community! It's cheap($99) for life time updates and has versions for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, AmigaOS ;-]
peace to you
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SkyIDE
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« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2007, 04:27:30 AM »

And just for the record, I don't like Delphi/Pascal but a LOT of people do like it hehehe

I disgree with logic and syntax (especially) but that's just me smiley

I agree with VB's logic/syntax more than Delphi's
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2007, 08:55:32 AM »

I must disagree Sash ,.net is not cross platform.I'm using visual studio 2005 in college it has no methods to make programs deployable over linux or unix.

On the other hand C++ builder or Delphi programs are possible to port with help of kylix but i got no recent version of kylix or any news also.

My opinion you can go with basic,delphi,bcb,wxwidgets but .net or c# no way.Also don't go for J# or C# unless you have reason to do so.


But as far as i know you may go for Borland C++ Builder as it's easy to learn,but very few tutorials are avaialble for it.Also its hard to learn from help file.But so many companies from india,UK use it for commercial app developement.Delphi has also lot of user base & its increasing.

It's all upto you to decide.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 08:58:41 AM by mahesh2k » Logged
Carol Haynes
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« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2007, 11:45:13 AM »

Kylix is no longer viable as it is not available any more and no longer supported. Borland cancelled the Kylix project quite some time ago.
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SkyIDE
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« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2007, 03:06:23 PM »

Yea I don't know much about .NET and MONO but I believe you. If .NET is calling up Windows APIs then you get in trouble with MONO and it will not work on Linux.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2007, 03:07:59 PM by SkyIDE » Logged
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