I know the title of this post must shock you, but it appears to be that Microsoft has decided that it will no longer be including the Visual Basic 6 runtime with it's operating systems past Windows 7. So whenever Windows 8 comes out (or whatever the fancy name for it will be) Visual Basic 6 applications will be out of luck it seems.
Only 32 bit support has and ever will exist for the Visual Basic 6 runtime, and I would guess that the next generation operating system from Microsoft will most likely be totally (if not almost) 64 bit only. However as much as I love Visual basic 6 and all the applications I wrote for it back in the day, it is time for the older programs to be migrated to newer versions of VB.
The core of Visual Basic had been mostly the same since version 3, and if I remember right that came out around 1990 to 1993 and was for the most part unchanged all the way through visual basic 6, minus bug fixes and some new features. The newer versions gained better performance, better look and feel and the tools improved to make development all that much faster.
However Visual Basic 6 seemed to be the end of the strong easy to develop product line, as several years passed with no new versions... and the constant service packs and updates were released for it. Visual basic 6 went on to support things it initially never was fully intended to do such as developing applications for Palm, and Windows CE devices. Heck I've even gone through in the past and written entire Windows shell replacements using nothing but Visual Basic 6 for the fun of it.
But then Microsoft finally released word of a new version of Visual basic that would be released called .Net! And that the entire suite of visual studio products would be updated as well! Visual basic developers everywhere got excited again, and eager for new details on the latest version. No longer would Visual basic be considered the slower language compared to Microsoft C++ as they would use the same runtime! No longer would developers need to worry about developing on only one platform, the .Net framework could potentially run on any OS! It seemed like a great time to have VB skills, and to capitalize on the new version!
Then the information started rolling in on how the code structure and language had changed, and that programs would need some rewritting to work. That is where the enthusiasm started to die out for many, as they found that the new visual basic was resembling less and less what they knew and loved. Become more rigid in many ways and less flexible to newer programers. Old programs would work for the most part, but anything requiring API access had to be massively rewritten and re-evaluated in how they worked. Managers being informed of these issues would often press that if they had to re-write so much code and that it was so much different, they why not move over to a more standard language like C++.
Thus many visual basic programers got converted and turned over to C++ development or Java.
Don't get me wrong there are still plenty of Visual Basic programers still around working in .Net, and several still joining the ranks, but it's nothing like what it used to be. Even fewer now that the majority of development is for the web, and less and less for the desktop.
So, Visual Basic 6, we shall miss you and will likely continue running you in full glory in our virtual machines and compatibility modes on newer systems down in the future!
Last Updated: 04/28/2011 10:52 PM