Visual Basic 6, the first programming language I used professionally, just got a new lease on life. What are we to make of this fact from David Platt?:
Microsoft recently extended “It Just Works” compatibility for Visual Basic 6 applications through the full lifetime of Windows 8 (see this month’s Editor’s Note, “Old Soldiers Never Die”). Visual Basic 6 first shipped in 1998, so its apps will have at least 24 years of supported lifetime. Contrast that with the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.0 (2002), which is incompatible with Windows 7 (2009).
Because as we all know VB6 is an inferior language. It’s like coding with kid gloves on and a blindfold. You can only do threading with Dan Appleman’s support and by reading lots of Don Box books. Yet now it will last fully through Windows 8. At this rate, we will be coding from our jetpacks before VB6 disappears.
Maybe it’s time we redefine what it means to be a “bad” language because while it did not have all the bells and whistles of C#, what VB6 did have was raw productivity. If you needed a quick line of business CRUD app to track your sales of car mustaches VB6 was your BFF.
And for most line of business CRUD apps that would never be used by more than 20 people, VB6 was “good enough”. No need to overengineer. It satisfied the goldilocks priciple by having just enough and no more.
The real question is when VB6 finally dies, what language will step up to fill its shoes? It’s certainly not VB.NET which ironically may die before VB6…