Sebastopol, CA--Three years after Microsoft introduced the .NET platform, millions of Visual Basic programmers have resisted the call to upgrade. They still prefer the Rapid Application Development features of VB 6, the last version released before Microsoft radically transformed Visual Basic into an object-orientated language called VB .NET. This year Microsoft hopes to win over reluctant VB 6 developers with Visual Basic 2005, the new version intended to bring together the best of both programming worlds.
"VB 6 programmers will be happy to discover that much of what they already know is still supported or enhanced in VB 2005," says Wei-Meng Lee, an experienced trainer in Microsoft technologies and popular author of Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart (O'Reilly, US $14.95). "In many ways, it's a return to Visual Basic's roots as the Rapid Application Development tool of choice."
Lee's new book is written specifically to help VB 6 programmers make the transition to VB 2005, and it arrives at a crucial time. Microsoft also chose this year to end mainstream support for VB 6, and those who stick with the older version will have to pay a premium for extended support. Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart offers them a concise test drive of VB 2005, complete with hands-on projects and dozens of code examples to help readers learn the new syntax quickly. The book also shows them how to migrate existing VB 6 applications.
"My aim is to provide them with a starting point--a jumpstart--that demonstrates how easy it is to become productive with the new language when it's paired with the Visual Studio 2005 development environment," Lee explains. "Each chapter focuses on a particular aspect of VB 2005 or a type of project that VB 6 programmers are likely to encounter in making the move to the new tool. They'll be surprised at how easily and quickly they can build a relatively sophisticated Windows or web application."
At just under 200 pages, this slim book covers new Visual Studio productivity features, including improved IntelliSense, Smart Tasks menus, templates, code snippets, and the return of familiar features such as edit-and-continue debugging and data access controls that closely resemble what VB 6 programmers use now. Lee also shows how to put object-oriented programming (OOP) to work.
"Perhaps most VB 6 programmers have concluded that OOP is arcane, impossibly difficult, and irrelevant to the development of applications they implement every day," Lee points out. "But not all OOP concepts are new to Visual Basic. Arguably, the drag-and-drop controls that have been central to the programming paradigm since Version 1 are a sterling example of what reusable objects can achieve. I not only make the case that OOP is a tool that can turbo charge their productivity as developers, but I show how VB 2005 makes it easy to incorporate the best practices of OOP into their applications."
Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart shows readers how to build a Windows application from scratch using Windows Forms, web services, and ClickOnce deployment, as well as a web application with a shopping cart using ASP.NET 2.0 and master pages. For moving their current VB 6 applications to VB 2005, Lee shows programmers how they can use legacy COM components in the new version, and provides a demonstration of how the VB 6 Code Advisor and Upgrade Wizard ease the migration process.
"While VB 2005 is a member is good standing of the .NET family of languages, it retains much of the flavor of its VB 6 lineage," Lee remarks. "This book is a great way for readers to take their VB 6 development skills forward to become experts in VB 2005 programming."
Visual Basic 2005 Jumpstart
ISBN: 0-596-10071-X, 197 pages, $14.95 US, $20.95 CA
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