Hmmm... how should I start this off? Well, first things first, it was great to see Brian Randell again and his presentation skills were excellent. Saying that, let's dig into things as a little review and then I'll do a follow up after the fact.
The presentation was not exactly what I was expecting. To me, I thought that I'd be hearing comparisons between VB6 and VB8 with compelling, no question reasons why one should make the move forward. I also kind of expected a summary of items to look out for when trying to upgrade... even better than that... would have been a breakdown of ways of migrating between the two versions. I expected to hear such things as:
- If what you have today works, leave it as is.
- If you want to take advantage of new features of .NET, but don't have the time to migrate everything (or re-write everything as some suggest), then here's how you can leverage .NET from VB6 code.
- If you want to try to convert (aka migrate) the application to VB8, here's some gotchas.
- And some other ideas for getting you from point A to point B.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the discussion, to much time was spent discussing Team System. Frankly, people using VB6 today are, in my opinion, not interested one bit in Team System. Sure, after they get a taste and a bit of experience with .NET under their feet, Team System might start to come into the picture; however, there's already a mountain for them to climb and adding Team System to the mix is just going to scare some people away. Then things got back on track and went through a few slides. VB8 was demonstrated to a good degree and I heard a few oooh's and aaaah's as people saw some potential in what they were seeing.
However, since this presentation was given by a non-Microsoft employee, I really don't think it should have been too sugar coated and more time should have been spent discussing the “issues” with moving and ways to ease that transition. In addition to that discussion, explain the reasons why one would choose to go through the difficult task of moving forward; break down all of the benefits of making the migration.
Don't take this as a negative review, just that I think it could have been better targeted. I ate dinner with Brian after the event and he agreed with most of what I'm saying. Let it be said that what Brian was trying to do is not an easy task. This subject is *not* something that can be summed up in a single presentation and have enough meat to feel that you have all the information you need to make every informed decision with how to proceed moving from VB6 to VB8; as such, it served as a good introduction. I provided Brian with a few suggestions on how I think the presentation could be improved and it's up to him to digest accordingly. My feelings won't be hurt either way and, in the end, I think attending this presentation was a good start and worthwhile. As I said, I just think it could be improved... and that's easy for me to say since I was not the one presenting... it's a lot different when your in a different city full of people you've never seen before attempting to present on such a broad subject. In that, Brian did an excellent job!
It turns out that in addition to the public presentation, Brian was doing a several day class on the subject at the Microsoft campus in Dallas and, through our discussions, that training includes most of what I was suggesting.
So, if you couldn't attend and won't be able to in a future one; you can view the slides and play with the hand-on labs by visiting Brian's blog.