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An ode to Microsoft, Visual Basic and Debotnet (now open source)

Some of you may already have read that I have abandoned the old Debotnet tool and repeatedly I get requests to continue the development. I gave it up because I did not want to continue with the development language.

I give up on Visual Basic Classic, Visual Basic 6 or just VB6. 

Actually I said goodbye a long time ago to this prehistoric language and yet I used it again last year to write the popular privacy app Debotnet. I had sworn never to start a project with VB6 again and yet I had done it. Debotnet was written in a "dead" language. Who would have thought that? It's just the way it is! Visual Basic Classic is easy, leightweight and fast. Even without years of programming experience you could develop a nice working app with and without spaghetti code. Not everybody has to like the spaghetti as long as you can eat it. But, my app works! That's what counts in the end. It was as simple as that then, 20 years ago.

I remember when I started with Debotnet on a boring sunday at home.

I double-clicked the Visual Studio 2017 Community edition (to write Debotnet in a .NET language. The NET in DEBOT should be derived from the language). Well, I wanted to start the Visual Studio IDE, but it didn't open..., not right away. On my second PC it took about 2 minutes (my main machine was in the office, damn forgotten!) until Visual Studio opened.

That was too long for me. I thought to myself, what a sh** again and wanted to either throw my computer out of the window or call Microsoft to report a bug with Visual Studio (it is really a monster of IDE!).

There wasn't much else on this machine installed except Visual Basic 6. So I clicked on it and 2,3 seconds later the IDE was already open. Damn, That was pretty fast! That's the way it has to be, I thought to myself. And since I am a big fan of lightweight apps and code, i thought why not. But I wanted first to call Microsoft again to leave positive feedback this time. But nobody would answer, as Visual Basic 6 didn't interest anyone. Microsoft would rather hear negative feedback about it. They hate it too much as they are pushing VB.NET.

We know the rest of the story. Debotnet was born 3,5 days later. Visual Basic 6 was already abandoned 20 years ago. Btw, if you're still interested in Debotnet, I've uploaded the source code to GitHub. Don't be shocked. It's not my most professional work. I have at least invested some time today and left comments for those who really want to look at it and maybe maintain it. 

Visual Basic Classic was a great toy. There are still many great applications written in Visual Basic 6 out there. Some of you surely know the XYplorer. When I tested it 1-2 years ago, this piece of software written in VB6, was years ahead of any Explorer I have ever seen (Unfortunately only as 32-bit version due to limitations of the VB6 Compiler, which didnt exists as 64-bit in 1998). What Microsoft has brought out with Windows Explorer is a kindergarten tool compared to this app. Recently i read that the developer of XYplorer has also switched to VB.NET.

If I were the boss at Microsoft (job interviews are running), I would give him a job. The first task would be some nice tabs and modern looking for the Windows Explorer. Probably this man would realize it in 2 days.

My company uses also some legacy applications written with VB6. Whether wrong or right I do not want to discuss here. And also not which is the better and best programming language. 6-7 years ago I still really enjoyed VB6. The last projects were also very funny, but if you ask me if I would do it again, my answer would be a clear No! Alot has changed. My computer from the office is back again, the Visual Studio IDE also opens slowly faster and C# is a super-duper programming language (also for beginners highly recommeded).

If I had a wish for Microsoft, I would still ask you to reveal the source code of Visual Basic 6. Why? Why not! Give the men their toys back. Let them play with them again. Don't be afraid they'll come up with something better than C#. Better than VB.Net? Yes..., maybe! After all you don't care about VB.NET either. I've heard it here.

I stumbled last year about the project. It's come to the point where one man tries to do the impossible. He is working on a 100% compatible Visual Basic 6 replacement IDE and compiler. WOW! If he makes it, some of us will give him a big kiss on his behind.

What does that mean? In 2020, there are lot of people developing with Visual Basic 6 and they need a real alternative. Especially in enterprise environments the demand is still very high and this will not change that fast in the next years. So, why not! It's never too late to do the right thing. After all the trust you've been given Microsoft. I'm imagining it and already reading it in the headlines. "The heroes of Microsoft save hundreds of company tools, hundreds of thousands of developers celebrate Microsoft". This could be you Microsoft! When you do, think of me.

You can try the new Debotnet replacement tools SharpApp or Spydish here

Spydish (GitHub)

SharpApp (GitHub)


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