As I have written many times in this blog, we at Code Architects love competition. We think it's the driving force in any market, and software is arguably the field in which fair competion is likely to provide better results than anywhere else.

If users have more products to choose from, vendors are put under pressure and are more likely to improve their products at a faster pace. This is what we are seeing today in the segment niche of VB6 conversion tools, which has been quite still for years, until VB Migration Partner made its debut.

With more choices, however, developers face the difficult task of selecting the right tool for their needs. Basically, if you are planning to migrate your VB6 app to VB.NET you have three choices:

  • Microsoft Upgrade Wizard (that comes free with all versions of Visual Studio .NET)
  • Artinsof VB Upgrade Companion (an extension of Upgrade Wizard, with which it shares the same migration engine and approach)
  • Code Architects VB Migration Partner (by yours truly...)

To make an informed choice you have to compare these products, which isn't as easy as it sounds because there are so many factors to take into account. To help you in taking a decision, we prepared a feature comparison table that explains which features are fully (or partially) supported by each tool, and why you should care.

Rather than providing a dry list of feature names, we attempt to categorize each feature based on how it can affect the overall migration process. In the end, we came up with five categories:

C: the feature reduces or avoids compilation errors.

R: the feature avoids runtime errors and preserves functional equivalence.

M: the feature generates code that is more readable and concise, abides by .NET programming guidelines, and makes maintenance easier.

O: the feature generates optimized and faster VB.NET code.

T: the feature can reduce overall migration time and cost, for example it eliminates the need to prepare the VB6 app for the migration. Features that reduce learning and support costs also fall in this category.

Each feature can fall in just one category or in multiple categories. For example, the support for Gosub, On...Goto, and On...Gosub keywords clearly falls in category C, whereas the ability to generate correct cleanup code for IDisposable objects (e.g. database connections) belongs to category R (preserves functional equivalence, M (generated code follows .NET coding guidelines), and O (application that cleanup resources in an orderly manner are also more efficient).

We are aware that comparing our own VB Migration Partner with its competion is a delicate matter, therefore we tried to be as unbiased as possible. In building the feature list we used product information available at our competitors' Web site, therefore the result is as objective as it can possibly be.

When we couldn't find enough details on a given feature, we used a question mark (?) and added the suggestion to contact the vendor for more detailed info. It goes without saying that we will quickly revise the document if any reader deems that an item is incorrect or just misleading.

Happy comparison! Wink