The End of Hardcore Visual Basic

Book PictureIt's over. There's nothing left for you here. Wake up. Go home. Your children are waiting.

This is a web site about a book about a language that is gradually disappearing. Visual Basic, hardcore or otherwise, will come to an end when Microsoft Visual Basic.NET replaces Visual Basic 6.0. Although this new language has many attractive features, it bears little relationship to the remarkable language we love/hate. Critics call it VB.NOT or Visual Fred to emphasize that it is a completely new language rather than a continuation of Visual Basic.

The term Hardcore Visual Basic takes on a completely different meaning under VB.NET. Basically none of the words in my book (or in any other book about VB5 and VB6) are true. A hardcore programmer in the new language is one who understands the intricacies and interactions of the .NET Framework and the Common Language Runtime -- the massive class library that replaces VB's weak and inconsistent run-time library. It is no longer necessary to use API calls to do tasks that ought to be simple. Many of the grossest pointer hacks demonstrated in my book are completely impossible, as well as unnecessary, under VB.NET.

This is exactly what I have been begging for. So why am I not celebrating?

Well, language design always involves tradeoffs, and the new Visual Basic trades off its essential advantage in order to play with the big boys. You might think that Microsoft would push its big lead over the competition and grind its hapless competitors even further into the dust. You'd be wrong. Instead they have copied the copiers. Visual Basic.NET looks and works a lot more like Delphi or Java than like the real VB.

Why copy your competitors when you re so far ahead? They did it for two reasons -- one good, one bad. If you're sticking with Microsoft's vision to the bitter end, go to the VB.NET or the VB.NET Again page to hear my completely unbiased expose of the new language. If you're sticking with VB6, go to the Hardcore VB page to get the outdated story of my out-of-print book.

But before you take one of those paths, let's take a moment to celebrate one of the most remarkable and influential languages in programming history. It was the best. It was the worst. It gave us instant gratification. It drove us crazy. Against all odds, we pushed it far beyond its logical limits.

Visual Basic. 1991-2002.

It's time to pay our respects, throw some dirt on the coffin, and move on.

Bruce McKinney

Buy it now at