Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Now that's classic, Visual Basic [Classic] Tools for Visual Studio

Visual Studio Gallery - Visual Basic Tools for Visual Studio

Visual Basic Tools for Visual Studio is a language service extension for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 allowing to work on classic Visual Basic projects within Visual Studio. It´s intention is to provide better development tools for teams which have to maintain legacy code, or working on migration projects. Right now the toolset is still under development and some valuable features are not available yet, but it could already worth it to try.

This is pre-release software which is not intended to be used in a live operating environment. The software is licensed "as-is" and you bear the risk of using it.

What´s in the box?

The extension adds the VB-CLASSIC menu item to the development environment; this menu allows to load classic VB workspace- and project-files and offers quick access to the extension´s options. This is not a converter nor another VB6 upgrade wizard. The import tool creates a new solution and MSBuild compatible projects. The project system synchronizes all changes made to a project with the corresponding VBP file; this allows to use this toolset in parallel with the Visual Basic 6 IDE.

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Project System and Editor

The package registers a new language service supporting Visual Basic 6 projects and code files. It integrates with the solution explorer and the code editor having support for syntax highlighting, basic outlining (allows to expand/collapse methods, properties and types) as well as navigation bar support.

Project Properties Designer

The project properties designer works directly on VBP files (MSBuild project files have only been introduced due to compatibility issues). The current version allows to display and edit a subset of classic VBP project settings (will probably be extended in future versions).

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While I had a production app in every version of VB Classic (well except for VB for DOS... remember that?) and while I personally feel the MS dev community needs to let it go (Really folks, "It's dead, Jim..."), I thought this extension very cool...

10 comments:

Anonymouse said...

Thank you very much for this extension. I read somewhere that VB6 can't be installed in newer OSs and never tried it. This will help me get back to my old projects.

Rodger Campbel said...

Yeah! I always loved vb6, simple to read easy to learn.

Richard Hauer said...

Just. No.

VB was a competent toolset. In 1994. Can't we just move on.

George Wilson III said...

Thanks for this info. I still maintain and develop on VB6 and would love to try this out.

VB6 will install on Win7, it says that is may not work but it will.

I think VB is great but agree that it needs to be allowed to die.

Chris Willis said...

This would be very awesome and useful... we occasionally have to work on a set of VB6 projects. And we have to use a virtual of XP to do this, so this is a very nice thing!

Spud said...

Yes, we can move on. But first, I need to get the business logic that no one documented 15 years ago out of this VB project that 100 shop floor machines run on 24/7.

Alexandre Gomes said...

Great extension. It will be very helpful for those trying to evolve older vb6 projects. Thanks!!

Dan Sutton said...

Actually, you can install Visual Studio 6 on Windows 8.1: to do it, you have to go to the installation media and change compatibility settings on all the EXE files involved in the installation to XP SP3 compatibility and "Run as administrator" -- and it'll complain, but it'll install OK.

Rick at KnowWare said...

This will be very useful. I am maintaining a legacy VB6 project while I move it to the cloud. I dread setting up a new development machine because of having to install Visual Studio 6.

Brian said...

This is an excellent idea. Of course we should move on from VB6, but I maintain a complex VB6 app used in production in several countries, with no budget to cover the cost of migrating it to .NET. The old IDE does run in Win7, but crashes many times a day. If this extension is better than that I will be a happy man. Keep up the good work!