The long life of VB6

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…

10 Comments » for The long life of VB6
  1. Paul Lefebvre says:

    “The real question is when VB6 finally dies, what language will step up to fill its shoes?” I hope Real Studio will continue to serve this purpose.  It has the same productivity benefits of VB6, but with a better and more modern IDE and a more powerful language.

    Paul Lefebvre Developer Evangelist, Real Software

  2. Real Studio (now called Xojo) has the same problem that VB.Net has. It can’t open and compile VB6 code. Meanwhile Visual Basic 6 now has Microsoft support until 2023. And it has just risen to #6 in the Tiobe list of most popular programming languages (April 2014). Vote for an updated VB6 at

  3. Miquel Matas says:

    I’m sure VB6 will “It just works” for the next Windows 9, so, you can add 10 years more for vb6 long life.


  4. Ginger says:

    VB6 comes first in all polls and in Tiobe index is on place #6 and rising. I’ve seen people like you, weak and low professionals with worthless comments. Bryant, no wonder I never heard of your blog, is insignificant, as well as all your personal opinions.

  5. Ecaterina V says:

    Bryant, David Platt is a smart man and you are not. Visual Basic 6 is not only faster and smarter than C++ (or other programming languages), it also has the smartest programmers and the most open source projects on the internet.

    I gave you some links in a previous comment, if you are a man, you will make my previous comment public !

  6. The VB6 programming language has risen to fifth place in the May 2014 Tiobe index, replacing C# as Microsoft’s most popular language.

  7. VB6 Programming says:

    The VB6 programming language installs and runs on Windows 10.

    VB6 and VBA programming continues !

  8. Bob says:

    I won’t be nasty like some others, because I love working in VB6 today but I also believe it needs a successor.

    Since Microsoft chooses not to create one, we must look to 3rd party sources. Once we go down that path multiplatform support becomes viable to add to the wishlist. As Microsoft continues to stumble with WinRT/Metro and refuses to get back on track they risk killing off Windows Client anyway.

    For some the answer might be Xojo (or whatever it is called this week) and for some it might be B4A/B4i/B4J. Others are still hoping for a VB6 clone, something probably very unrealistic.

  9. Support VB6 programming says:

    VB6 programming does just what it is used for. No point in using slow and complex languages to do something that VB6 can do (or VBA programming in Office can do).

  10. Support VB6 programming says:

    And now Microsoft are giving .Net away to open source they should do the same for VB6 programming.

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