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VB6 developers transition to .NET

Visual Basic 6 programmers working at Amerijet International Inc. quickly transitioned to Visual Studio .NET while developing a Web-based shipping application, according to IT executives at the all-cargo airline. A tool vendor sponsored survey released this month indicates that this may be part of a growing trend toward widespread adoption of the Microsoft Web services development environment in 2003.

There was ''not too much'' of a learning curve for the Amerijet programmers, according to David Sitek, senior IT director at the Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based airline. He said that while he offered to send the VB 6 programmers to Visual Studio .NET training classes, they declined; instead, they relied on a few after-market books to learn to work with the new Microsoft tool.

''They've done remarkably well,'' he said. ''They picked up the books, had experience in Visual Basic and were off and running.''

The Amerijet programmers working with Visual Basic .NET tools in the Visual Studio .NET IDE would appear to be on the cutting edge of a 2003 trend. The coming year will see a transition from Visual Basic 6 to Visual Basic .NET, according to Mountain View, Calif.-based Iron Speed Inc. The Web application tool vendor based its prediction on the results of a survey it conducted with 'hundreds of application developers at Fortune 100 companies,' according to company reps.

Listed first in Iron Speed's ''Top Application Development Trends for 2003'' is its prediction that ''Visual Basic developers will make the leap from VB6 to Visual Basic .NET even though switching requires learning a substantially modified language. However, we predict that developers are likely to make the investment and stay with Microsoft going forward. Developers will build web applications on the Microsoft .NET framework.''

Amerijet's My Skybox application, launched last month to allow customers to ship and track packages from Miami to the Caribbean islands, was developed in three months, including the learning curve for Visual Basic .NET, according to the firm's Sitek.

The Web services application employs Data Junction integration software to extract cargo waybill information from a legacy COBOL system and place it in a Microsoft SQL 2000 database where it is accessible to shippers via the Web. It can be viewed at http://www.MySkybox.com.

Further information on .NET is available by clicking on http://www.microsoft.com/net/. Information on Data Junction is available at http://www.datajunction.com. For information on Iron Speed and its survey, click on http://www.ironspeed.com/.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.

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