Why migrate VB6 to .NET code in 2024

Why migrate VB6 to .NET code in 2024

Given today’s quite volatile market conditions, business leaders are moving towards minimizing their expenses and optimizing everyday workflows. 

Among these, many companies across industries keep utilizing Visual Basic 6.0 (VB6) as their primary platform – a challenge estimably exacerbated by the official cessation of its mainline support dating back April 8 of 2008. While some larger organizations possess expertise for transitioning from VB6 to more modern technologies, smaller companies must choose between maintaining the already outdated platform, sacrificing modernization and outsourcing the project.

In the following article, we’ll discuss the importance of strategic VB6 migration to .NET.

VB6 marked for death

Be it discontinued support, the demand for discovering new capabilities, or changing regulatory requirements, business leaders are facing the reality of their legacy applications becoming obsolete.  

Visual Basic versions 1.0-6.0 were popular all throughout the 1990s and the early 2000s until retired in 2008. Visual Basic, being simple and versatile, was utilized for building desktop applications, database applications, games, utilities, and custom business applications for handling inventory management, and other daily tasks.

VB6 applications becoming irrelevant: a trend across domains

The trend towards migration is gaining more momentum for several good reasons:

  • Visual Basic is an obsolete technology, and researchers are finding more loopholes every day 
  • Visual Basic security vulnerabilities score 9.3, which means data breaches can have great consequences on both business reputation and resources
  • Equally important, the technology isn’t receiving regular updates and patches
  • The technology can’t handle object-oriented programming, exception handling, and multi-threading, causing deteriorated business performance

With constantly growing concerns towards compliance, more companies are seeking contemporary platforms. Prioritizing monitoring and compliance with internal corporate policies and external regulatory requirements, strategic-thinking organizations are transitioning from unsupported, deprecated technologies.

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VB to .NET conversion becoming inevitable?

Visual Basic has long been popular and preferred for the following reasons:

  • User-friendly interface and uncomplicated programming environment
  • Pre-built controls (buttons, labels, text boxes) 
  • Rapid Application Development (RAD), which enables to quickly build prototypes and applications
  • Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which enables the design, coding, testing, and deployment of applications all within one platform

But inevitably, Visual Basic being unsupported is causing several constraints:

  • System stability and reliability
  • System integration with more modern technologies
  • The need for modern user interfaces and features
  • The difficulty in meeting regulatory requirements

VB to .NET conversion: diving deeper 

System stability and reliability

VB6 applications lack necessary system updates and patches, thereby generating unaddressed vulnerabilities. On the other hand, .NET provides regular updates and patches, comprehensive documentation and support, extensive testing capabilities, reliable garbage collection, and scalability.

System integration with more modern technologies

VB6 applications lack compatibility with more modern standards, respectively, hindering seamless integration. In contrast, .NET supports REST APIs, cloud services, OAuth and OpenID Connect, microservices architecture, and compatibility with other modern frameworks.

The need for modern user interfaces and features

VB6 software is characterized by insufficiency of support for modern interface elements and responsiveness. The modern .NET framework is known for extensive interface controls and libraries, cross-platform capabilities, the integration with modern client-side technologies, and more.

The difficulty in meeting regulatory requirements

VB6 systems lack built-in data encryption, audit trails, and other critical features to meet regulatory standards. .NET offers security features that enable regulatory compliance – data encryption, audit logging, and others.

On how to convert VB6 to VB.NET accurately

Automated migration

Automated migration involves utilizing specialized software to convert VB6 code into appropriate .NET code. This involves the analysis of the VB6 codebase, the identification of elements, and translation of components into equivalent .NET code.

Automated migration preserves functionality, ensures consistency, and minimizes manual efforts and errors. Despite providing several benefits, this approach also necessitates subsequent improvements, which include removing duplicates, upgrading syntax and controls, and fixing data declarations.

Manual migration

Manual migration requires successive, manual rewriting to translate VB6 code into corresponding .NET code. This involves the analysis of the existing codebase, the understanding of underlying business functionality, and the manual rewriting in the .NET framework.

Manual migration must follow automated migration for refinement, customization, optimization, and more. This approach does require specific expertise, however, carries great importance.

Data migration

Data migration is another important stage, which might become challenging if lacking specialized expertise:

  • Schema conversion to a format compatible with the .NET environment
  • Data extraction from existing data sources in the VB6 application
  • Data transformation to match data structure and formats being required by the .NET application, typically including data cleansing and normalization  
  • Data loading into the data storage being used by the .NET application, which includes inserting records into databases, uploading files, and changing data formats 
  • Data validation to ensure data accuracy and integrity
  • Data synchronization to ensure data consistency and avoid data loss and duplication

Quality assurance

Quality assurance, a stage that shouldn’t be neglected, isn’t that technically complex, but important to enable: 

  • Data integrity by eliminating data loss, corruption, duplication, and inconsistencies
  • Risk management by identifying security vulnerabilities, compatibility issues, functional regression, performance degradation, and other potential problems
  • Application functionality by addressing any inconsistencies and ensure expected behavior
  • Regulatory compliance by implementing mentioned practices

Functional equivalence when converting VB6 to .NET code

Another takeaway we’ve mentioned in one of our recent articles when discussing VB6 to .NET migration – functional equivalence is the first priority.

Approaching migration, business leaders might prefer to rewrite separate parts of their legacy applications, thereby risking time-to-market delays, budget overruns, unexpected bottlenecks, and also resource constraints. First migrating and only then rewriting individual parts of the converted application preserves functionality, leaving opportunities for customization without complications.

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How we can help

Abto Software has proven technical expertise for transitioning mission-critical applications without disruption. 

Our engineers handle discovery and planning, code assessment and preparation, and smooth VB6 migration. Our clients forget about operational and performance shortfalls, security vulnerabilities, compatibility issues, and other common challenges that come with maintaining a legacy VB6 application.

We cover:

  • Business analysis and consulting
  • Project setup and kick-off
  • Code migration
  • Code finalization
  • Acceptance testing and improvement
  • Quality assurance and deployment

You enjoy:

  • Higher performance and efficiency
  • Expanded functionality and scalability
  • Improved security through updates and patches
  • Enhanced compatibility across platforms and devices
  • Long-term support and maintenance
  • Cloud compatibility

Abto Software – your partner for seamless VB6 to .NET conversion!

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