Some developers may be concerned about support library and would prefer not to distribute an additional DLL with their migrated apps. This is understandable, but we believe that these concerns are negligible if compared to the many advantages that a well-written, comprehensive library gives you.

Such benefits stand out so clearly that even our competitors can’t deny that an extensive library can speed up a migration project. To counter this evidence, however, they try to convince that a library has many shortcomings. Fortunately, we can easily prove that all these “issues” are groundless, as we do in our 17 reasons for using a support library in migration scenarios whitepaper.

The point is, a comprehensive support library is the key factor in achieving 100% functional equivalence and in keeping migration time and cost as low as possible. Just read what one of our customers has to say:

“An initial migration compared migration tools from six vendors. It showed superior results for VB Migration Partner, which delivered fewer compilation and runtime errors than all its competitors… It took 2.5 hours to get a compilable and runnable VB.NET project with VB Migration Partner, and 13 hours with its closest competitor.”

The higher productivity that a complete support library gives you is a sure fact, and our competitors haven’t found yet a way to obtain different results in similar rigorous productivity tests. In the absence of objective measurements, they attempt to scare potential customers away from VB Migration Partner by making vague statements about its supposed shortcomings.

These statements never mention VB Migration Partner or Code Architects, yet the target is undoubtedly our product because we are the only VB6 conversion software vendors who use an extensive support library:

1)    …other vendors charge a runtime fee for their support library.

FALSE! VB Migration Partner users can freely distribute its library with their apps.

2)    …other vendors don’t make their library’s source code available to customers.

FALSE! VB Migration Partner users can license the library’s code.

3)    … apps that rely on a support library might not work on future versions of the operating system.

FALSE! VB Migration Partner’s library is written in pure VB.NET and uses only documented features of the .NET Framework. As such, the library is guaranteed to work on all future Windows versions that support .NET Framework 3.5 binaries.

A closer examination reveals that this line of reasoning is illogical. Just for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that Microsoft releases a Windows or .NET Framework version breaks compatibility with existing .NET 3.5 programs. In such a highly unlikely case, your own VB.NET applications will stop working correctly and the support library will be the least of your problems.

A support library actually helps to preserve compatibility. Should a future version of Windows have minor problems in running .NET 3.5 code, Code Architects will promptly fix the problem and release a new support library that all users can download for free. You’ll still have to solve compatibility problems of your main app, but at least you don’t have to worry about the support library.

4)    …other vendors may charge a subscription fee for using the library in the future.

FALSE! VB Migration Partner’s EULA states that users will be allowed to download any future 1.xx version of the library at no additional cost. Future 1.xx releases include fixes for all the problems that might be discovered in the future by Code Architects or its customers.

5)    … if your migrated apps depend on a 3rd-party library, you might be in trouble if the vendor decides to stop supporting it in the future

FALSE! VB Migration Partner’s EULA states that – should Code Architects stop supporting the product – all customers will receive the library’s source code at no additional cost. In this respect, choosing Code Architects is as safe as, or safer than, choosing any 3rd-party control, such as the grid or the report component that you might be using in most of your forms.

6)    … a support library can slow down your code

FALSE! VB Migration Partner’s library is carefully optimized and often runs much faster than the code that most VB.NET or C# developers usually write, especially if they are put under pressure by near deadlines. For example, our VB6Collection class runs many times faster than the standard VB.NET Collection object, and our StringBuilder object allows you to automatically speed up string concatenations by a factor of 100x without having you modify the generated VB.NET code.

Keep in mind that VB Migration Partner’s library has been authored by a team of expert developers, including two Microsoft Regional Directors who have written 7 top-selling Microsoft Press books on VB and .NET programming, routinely give lectures in US and Europe, and consult for Microsoft and its largest customers.

7)    …other migration tools generate inefficient code that retains its VB6 flavor

FALSE! VB Migration Partner’s conversion engine uses very sophisticated refactoring techniques and generates code that takes full advantage of VB.NET features, including Try/Catch blocks, short-circuiting (the AndAlso operator), the IDisposable interface, variable initializes, compound operators (e.g. x += 1), and much more.

Interestingly, VB Migration Partner can apply many refactoring techniques that no other VB6 conversion tool currently supports, e.g. Gosub refactoring, Declare overloads, faster string concatenations inside loops, enforcement of ByVal keyword if possible. Our competitors should think twice before drawing developers’ attention to this point.

Finally, consider that VB Migration Partner’s developers wrote Practical Guidelines and Best Practices for VB and C# Developers (Microsoft Press), perhaps the definitive textbook on this topic, and VB Migration Partner’s generates code that abides to all those rules. Additionally, VB Migration Partner is able to rename members to comply with .NET coding guidelines. If you don’t like standard .NET rules you can easily customize the rename engine by modifying an XML file. No other conversion software supports customizable rename rules.

8)    …the code produced by other VB6 converters that adopt a support library is hard to maintain

FALSE! A support library can make your migrated code more readable and easier to maintain, as I demonstrated in a previous post.

9)    …projects produced by other VB6 converters are difficult to evolve

FALSE! VB Migration Partner library doesn’t limit you in any way, because all its classes inherit from native .NET classes and you can therefore leverage the .NET Framework full potential.

10)    …you can’t mix .NET native forms and controls with forms and controls defined in a support library

FALSE! After you’ve converted a VB6 project to VB.NET using VB Migration Partner, you can extend the application by adding .NET native forms, and you can drop .NET native controls onto a migrated form. The one thing you can’t do is using a control defined in our support library in a standard .NET form, an action that would be meaningless anyway.

11)    …you can’t use Visual Studio 2008 Test Wizard to generate unit tests for VB.NET projects that use a support library.

FALSE! We describe this apparent problem – and its solution - in this KB article.