What's New for Visual Basic 6.0 Users
If you are an experienced user of Visual Basic 6.0, you will find a multitude of features in Visual Basic 2008 that are new or significantly improved. These changes make development with Visual Basic easier and more powerful than development with any earlier version. The following list highlights some of the biggest changes and provides links to in-depth information.
Visual Basic has many new and improved language features that make it a powerful object-oriented programming language. These features include inheritance, interfaces, and overloading. As a Visual Basic developer, you can now create true multithreaded applications. Other new language features in Visual Basic 2008 include structured exception handling, custom attributes, and Common Language Specification (CLS) compliance.
Visual Basic 2008 supports many new or improved object-oriented language features, such as inheritance, overloading, the Overrides keyword, interfaces, shared members, and constructors.
For more information about what's new in the Visual Basic language, see What's New in the Visual Basic Language for Visual Basic 6.0 Users.
For a discussion of features and functionality that have changed from earlier versions, see Language Changes for Visual Basic 6.0 Users.
Visual Basic 2008 provides new features for rapid application development that improve productivity and ease of use while providing more power. One of these features, which is named My, provides access to frequently used functionality provided by the .NET Framework. My also provides information and default object instances that are related to the application and its run-time environment. This information is organized in a format that is accessible through IntelliSense and logically delineated according to use. For more information, see Development with My.
Windows Forms is the new object-oriented framework that implements the .NET Framework. Windows Forms, in combination with Windows Forms controls, provide a robust architecture for Windows-based application development in Visual Basic.
For more information about what's new in forms and controls, see What's New in Windows Forms for Visual Basic 6.0 Users.
If you are familiar with forms in Visual Basic 6.0, see Forms Tasks for Visual Basic 6.0 Users for an introduction to the new concepts.
At first glance, the Visual Basic 2008 integrated development environment (IDE) may seem unfamiliar. However, as you start to use it you will find that it has many new features that make you more productive.
For more information, see What's New in the Visual Studio IDE for Visual Basic 6.0 Users.
Visual Basic 2008 includes several new features to help you develop applications that access data. The Data Source Configuration Wizard simplifies connecting your application to data in databases, XML Web services, and user-created objects. The new Data Sources Window provides a central location for viewing the data available to and associated with your project. It also reduces the complexity of data binding by enabling you to drag items from the window onto forms to create data-bound controls. You can use the new Visual Studio—generated TableAdapter Overview object to fill datasets, run queries, and execute stored procedures. The new local data feature enables you to include Microsoft Access database files and Microsoft SQL Server Express Edition database files directly in your applications. For a complete list of new data features, see What's New in Data.
Thanks to new technologies such as ClickOnce deployment, it is easier than ever to deploy applications created in Visual Basic 2008.
ClickOnce deployment enables you to publish self-updating Windows-based and console applications that can be installed, updated, and run as easily as Web applications. The new Security, Signing, and Publish tabs on the Project Designer enable you to customize your ClickOnce deployment. Use the new Publish command on the Build menu (and shortcut menu in Solution Explorer) to get to the Publish Wizard, a tool that guides you through publishing your application. For more information, see ClickOnce Deployment.
In addition, the Setup and Deployment Wizard in Visual Basic 6.0 is replaced by Windows Installer-based Setup and Deployment projects in Visual Basic 2008. For more information, see Setup and Deployment for Visual Basic 6.0 Users.
Visual Basic 2008 provides the ability to upgrade applications created in Visual Basic 6.0 so that you can continue development, taking advantage of the benefits of the .NET Framework. When you first open a Visual Basic 6.0 project file (.vbp), the Upgrade Wizard appears. A command-line tool is also provided for upgrading projects outside the development environment. For more information, see Upgrading Applications Created in Previous Versions of Visual Basic.
If you are not ready to upgrade your Visual Basic 6.0 application, you can still take advantage of the benefits of the .NET Framework by using Interop Forms Toolkit 2.0. Interop Forms Toolkit 2.0 enables you to create new forms or UserControls in Visual Basic 2008 and use them in your Visual Basic 6.0 application.
Interop Toolkit 2.0 can be downloaded for free from the Interop Forms Toolkit 2.0 page on the MSDN Web site.