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Thread: Technology Changes

  1. #1
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    Technology Changes

    I am only a hobby programmer and cannot keep up with all the new technology. I want to write a program that with run my business because there is nothing on the market that will do what I need.

    The problem is that I use to play with VB6 and now that is gone. I can code pretty well in .Net but I don't have the time to keep up with all this changing technology. I also do not have the time or desire to rewrite my entire program as the technology it uses becomes obsolete. When C# and the .Net Framework go the way of VB6 and are no longer used or supported by MS how is that going to effect my program? I assume at that point I would have to rewrite the entire thing over again using the new technology otherwise it would stop running on Windows.

    I just don't know if its worth me taking all the time to write a custom program for my business when it will be completely outdated in 6 months. That's the b/s side of programming and why I only do it as a hobby. Because no one can make just one technology and be happy. They are always playing with something and then the programmers have to pay the price by rewriting all the software they made... Its an endless circle.

    Anyway, I guess I'm just wondering what will happen to my program when C# and .Net are gone. Would I be forced to rewrite everything or would MS provide a way to automatically convert my software to the new technology?

  2. #2
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    Re: Technology Changes

    Well, even Windows 7 will support the VB6 runtime, so it will still run for a while. .NET will probably be around a long time. Eventually every language/technology stack will become obsolete, but that doesn't stop people from programming with it. I don't know where you get the "obsolete in 6 months" idea. VB6 has been around a very long time and it still runs just fine.

  3. #3
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    Re: Technology Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tealc View Post
    The problem is that I use to play with VB6 and now that is gone.
    You can still write programs in VB6 and they will work like a charm on all the operating systems that MS has released so far. We have number of applications that have been written in VB6 and they still work properly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tealc View Post
    I can code pretty well in .Net but I don't have the time to keep up with all this changing technology. I also do not have the time or desire to rewrite my entire program as the technology it uses becomes obsolete. When C# and the .Net Framework go the way of VB6 and are no longer used or supported by MS how is that going to effect my program? I assume at that point I would have to rewrite the entire thing over again using the new technology otherwise it would stop running on Windows.
    If you know .NET, it will be better to write this in .NET. I don't see C# & .NET going the way VB6 went in near future. MS has built everything on top of .NET, which means if .NET goes away most of the MS applications would go too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tealc View Post
    I just don't know if its worth me taking all the time to write a custom program for my business when it will be completely outdated in 6 months. That's the b/s side of programming and why I only do it as a hobby. Because no one can make just one technology and be happy. They are always playing with something and then the programmers have to pay the price by rewriting all the software they made... Its an endless circle.
    Its not endless circle everywhere. Few decades back we were watching the big televisions sets and now we have LCDs and LED TVs coming our way. Few decades back it was difficult to communicate across continents, now it is just a click of a button. So this is what new technologies do and will always keep doing. This is not an endless circle, everybody tries to improve on their previous shortcomings and that is natural not b/s.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tealc View Post
    Anyway, I guess I'm just wondering what will happen to my program when C# and .Net are gone. Would I be forced to rewrite everything or would MS provide a way to automatically convert my software to the new technology?
    No there is no need to re-write your programs as long as they are working properly. Unless MS closes down their business and the whole PC market is taken over by some ACME Inc, I don't see any need to re-write your app in some other technology.

  4. #4
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    Arrow Re: Technology Changes

    Well I did hear that MS was removing support for VB6 in the next version of Windows but maybe they just mean development support. I thought when they removed support it meant programs designed in that language would not run anymore.

    I really like Windows Forms and it has more functionality right now then WPF when I just need powerful controls but don't care about these shinny flashy programs.

    My program would be designed to do a job not to have fancy colors and animation. But I heard that all new applications should be designed with WPF and that WPF is replacing Windows Forms. Then I heard from a microsoft blog that WPF is not intended to replace Windows Forms so I don't know who to believe or what UI to use.

    If I had my choice I would use Windows Forms. I know it well and can make a UI fast. But I was worried that I would be rewritting my app. again in the near future because I would be forced to upgrade my Windows Forms app to WPF.

    MS is pushing the flashy animated UI now and even using it in Vista. Its cool for games and web and other programs but I don't see what place it has in a pure business application.

    Speaking of Windows 7 this is the first I've heard of it. When is it scheduled to be released?

  5. #5
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    Re: Technology Changes

    Quote Originally Posted by Tealc View Post
    Well I did hear that MS was removing support for VB6 in the next version of Windows but maybe they just mean development support. I thought when they removed support it meant programs designed in that language would not run anymore.
    1. You don't have to get the next version of Windows if you don't need. I still have a Windows NT and Windows 2000. Both work fine. All the programs designed to run on such machines still do. And a lot of newer programs do as well.
    2. Removing support means that they won't be adding any new features, they wont be fixing any bugs people find. As Shuja Ali mentioned earlier on well written VB6 applications still run on Windows platforms.
    3. A lot of companies all over the world have invested a lot of money in VB6, VC++ and now C#/.NET applications. Believe me they will NOT die out soon. At the last company I worked with I was working with an application that started when I started studying at university. That was over 12 years ago. The application is being developed with. It started with VC++5.0 then moved on to VC++6.0 and now incorporates a lot of new functionality in C#/.NET. Come to think about there is still some demand for people that can program in COBOL and good old C and C++. Large scale applications tend to have a long shelf life. Platform developers recognize this and will continue to provide support for legacy stuff as long as they can.
    I really like Windows Forms and it has more functionality right now then WPF when I just need powerful controls but don't care about these shinny flashy programs.
    My program would be designed to do a job not to have fancy colors and animation. But I heard that all new applications should be designed with WPF and that WPF is replacing Windows Forms. Then I heard from a microsoft blog that WPF is not intended to replace Windows Forms so I don't know who to believe or what UI to use.
    You probably have to do a bit more research on the subject to get the full picture. I'll try to explain very briefly. At the end of the .NET framework (together with operating system underneath) is responsible for creating controls such as text boxes, buttons, labels, forms at runtime. With classic Windows Forms applications you use an imperative model. In the imperative model you manually specify in C# code that you want the label and the button and you tell them where they should be positioned etc. If you are using Visual Studio you have the option of dragging and dropping the controls and the designer generates all that code for you. At the end it is still an imperative model. With WPF you use a declarative model where you mark things up like you would when designing an html web page. You use tags instead of instantiating the real .NET classes such as TextBox or ComboBox or Label. One of the driving forces behind this move is that in an ideal world a designer (using the right tools) could create the UI and give you the XAML markup that a developer would be able to program against. Without something like WPF/XAML a designer would create some nice UI screens using VISIO or another tool of their choice. The developer would then have to from scratch implement that design by picking the relevant controls from the toolbox and dragging them on to a form and then begin to add the logic behind it all.
    If I had my choice I would use Windows Forms. I know it well and can make a UI fast. But I was worried that I would be rewritting my app. again in the near future because I would be forced to upgrade my Windows Forms app to WPF.
    By all means continue with Windows Forms. You will never be forced to upgrade your program because of WPF.

    MS is pushing the flashy animated UI now and even using it in Vista. Its cool for games and web and other programs but I don't see what place it has in a pure business application.

    Speaking of Windows 7 this is the first I've heard of it. When is it scheduled to be released?
    Even in business decisions can be made based on the aesthetics of an application. If I have two applications that do the same thing but one is newer and looks nicer I would pick the newer and nicer looking one all things being equal.

    Remember: Microsoft is a business. They need to keep making money. One of the ways they do that is by releasing new software such Vista, Office2007 and now Windows 7. The previous versions worked fine. They've already made revenue from them. They need new revenue so they sell new products. Just like retail outlets sell new clothes every year. Nobody has to buy new shoes just because there's a new fashion. Same thing with technology. To be fair to Microsoft a lot of things they do are for the better specially for developers. I personally am not attracted to the new versions of Windows and Office but I am attracted to the new features of Visual Studio 2008, the new features of .NET 3.5 together with C#3.0 because it makes development more pleasant. It doesn't mean I'm going to re-write all my .NET 2.0 applications...

    The only reason why I don't use my Windows 2000 machine a lot is that I couldn't install .NET 3.5 on it (and related items SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio, etc). Otherwise I doubt I would have bought a Vista machine. Do a bit of research, ask the right questions (as you've done in this post) and don't get caught up in the marketing hype.

    Maybe we could ask Microsoft to slow down a little bit. I've just been reading the document on the new features of C#4.0 and I've not yet mastered some of the new stuff in C#3.0. But that's not a bad thing. Change is a part of life and learning is a continuous process. If you want to enjoy software development (even as hobby) you have to get used to it.

  6. #6
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    Re: Technology Changes

    Can I just say that Visual Studio 6 on my Windows NT Compaq laptop runs like a rocket. It's amazing considering how little the processing power and RAM I've got there...Anyone out there think that some of the modern versions of Windows are bit bloated?

    And if you're developing as hobby I would say just focus on the core technologies and on the things you actually like. It's probably better to keep up to date with language developments in C# than with specific aspects of the framework such as WPF. You can always pick that up when you need it. Focus on the core and just keep an eye out for the other stuff so you have a general idea of what is out there.
    Last edited by nelo; April 30th, 2009 at 09:37 AM.

  7. #7
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    Re: Technology Changes

    Thanks for the responses it helps a lot. I get annoyed at how fast things move because I program as a hobby. I don't work for a large software company with weekly or monthly meetings that keep everyone up on the new stuff. I have the same problem as you. I'm just getting really good at .Net and Windows Forms and now there is WPF.

    I was worried because I will spend several months maybe a year writing my software. Its well within my abilities to do and I have all the design documents on paper. My program would be easy to upgrade because I spend a lot more time in the original version using OOP, Globalization and interaces for everything. If something needs to be rewriten I just do the effected module and everything else works with it.

    But once I get it going and once I get out of college I won't have as much time to rewrite everything. I was worried that one day MS would just stop support and my program wouldn't load anymore. I guess my fears were kind of unfounded.

    Even if it did happen I could rewrite only the effected modules. Or do the entire thing but one module at a time over several months.

    Thanks everyone who replied.

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