I don't usually like to do this type of competitive blog, but considering all the FUD that Microsoft has been dishing out lately with their "Notes integration" seminars and the previous "LotusScript is going away" blather, I've been pushed to the edge.
Microsoft will soon stop official support for Visual Basic 6, at the end of March. To be fair, it is the free support that is ending, the product itself will be supported for some time to come meaning that your apps will continue to run on Windows, but the development environment will not be updated - i.e. no VB7 is forthcoming as of this writing.
Recently, there has been an outcry by a group of developers that was reported in various online trade mags, including in eWeek here and here, and Cnet. They've realized that VB.Net isn't really VB at all, and that the migration path isn't all that smooth. VB.Net isn't just an upgrade to VB6 - it's a rip and replace. While Microsoft has an impressive set of documentation on their website about migration to .Net and some tools to help with it, apparently the transition isn't all that smooth.
This website captures some of the sentiment from the public: Visual Basic.Not. I guess the title says it all.
Contrast that to the IBM model, where you can continue to build and deploy Notes and Domino applications and optionally integrate them into IBM Workplace at your own pace. And lest you actually believe MS when they say they can migrate your Notes/Domino applications, you might heed the same advice as in the VB migration article cited above. It ain't easy or foolproof.
So, with that in mind... as long as you are going to have to migrate off of Visual Basic, you might as well look at the alternatives:
1. Move to Domino Designer and LotusScript. You can continue to use your code and call your COM components on Windows, in a LotusScript agent. Plus, it's cross-platform - everything from a PC/Windows to Linux to iSeries to a zSeries mainframe! There are a lot of VB apps that could easily be re-implemented in Domino and take advantage of the industrial strength security model, offline usage, robust and scalable database store, etc. Plus, it's not that hard to pull the application data from wherever it is today into Domino.
2. Move to Java. As long as you have to learn a new language, you might as well learn a proven standard. Plus, Eclipse provides plenty of tool support, as does Rational Application Developer. There seem to be a lot of VB to Java tools offered if you search for them. I have no idea how well they work, but they're out there.
Anyone out there want to share a successful VB to Notes/Domino migration story? or VB to J2EE?
Product Manager, IBM Workplace Application Development