Is there a CLOSED FOR BUSINESS sign on the door or something?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/09/21 07:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2010/09/21/10065422.aspx


About a month ago, Satchmo Pops asked in the Suggestion Box:

Hi Michael, I would like your comment on VB6 today, and the support and the extinct art of programming for the OS. Well, let me explain better.

1) Not long ago MS released the latest VB6 Cumulative Update (didn't think MS would do this, unless they are looking to finally break VB6 inside out).

VB6 Update (05/2009)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/957924

Then MS released a hotfix for it (10/02009):

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/974899

Would it be worth it to install this?

2) MS seemed to have abandoned ALL application-development software for Windows to embrace only application development only for platforms (.Net, Azure, ..). Well, any of your thoughts on this.

3) Not long ago MS discontinued the DLL database (which one could check for information of all MS DLLs including the products that included those versions).

4) I'm still with the idea of developing applications for the OS, but that seems impossible anymore. Am I missing something or MS still have products that do this?

Well, that kind of covers what I'd like for an article.

Well, that is a lot to cover. And none of it really in my area! :-)

I guess I can start by saying that if programming for the OS is an extinct art, then the very large development team within Windows have definitely been kept out of the loop!

In other words, it isn't actually true. :-)

Now, for the sub-questions:

1) Not long ago MS released the latest VB6 Cumulative Update (didn't think MS would do this, unless they are looking to finally break VB6 inside out).

Actually, cumulative fixes get released all the time. Usually after a sufficient number of hotfixes have gone out for a component and they decide to bundle them up and put them out there!

As for the sub-sub-question about KB 974899 ("Would it be worth it to install this?"), there is exact information in KB 974899 that describes the bug being fixed. If the bug applies to you, then you will want to install it....

2) MS seemed to have abandoned ALL application-development software for Windows to embrace only application development only for platforms (.Net, Azure, ..). Well, any of your thoughts on this.

This is incorrect. Plenty of development still happens on Windows, both from Microsoft and others.

Do these other platforms and tools exist? Sure. But many of them have crucial pieces written in C and C++ and calling traditional Win32 API functions.

3) Not long ago MS discontinued the DLL database (which one could check for information of all MS DLLs including the products that included those versions).

Was there a question in there? :-)

Yes, it is true -- Microsoft discontinued the DLL Hell (b.k.a. DLL Help) database (here) on February 8, 2010.

It was called "DLL Hell" internally. DLL Help is not an eggcorn so much as a way to pass Policheck style tools and not offend people who would prefer Dante's levels of Hell be reserved for less mundane things than software....

I have no idea why they retired this.

Though the answer to the Why don't they still have ______? question is alomst always money. Probably the group that did it lost their funding, or charter, or got re-org'ed into something that couldn't support it anymore.

I think it sucks.

Note that other KB articles still refer to the tool quite a bit as a resource. Anyone from PSS wanna update this one, for example? :-)

4) I'm still with the idea of developing applications for the OS, but that seems impossible anymore. Am I missing something or MS still have products that do this?

This confuses me more than anything to date.

Over 85% of Windows itself uses native code, most of the big Microsoft applications like SQL Server and suites like Office have similar ratios or ratios less charitable to managed code, and significant pieces of Visual Studio also use native code (even when they are building managed code).

Windows applications aren't only written in VB 6.0, and never really have been written in only VB 6.0.

And clearly even if one dislikes managed code (which I do sometimes; it comes in spurts whether I do or not) but wants to write Windows applications, one still has options.

If it comes to that, many people are fdond of managed code, too. You can write Windows applications with it as well. :-)

Anyway, I guess that covers it. Windows is still open for business!


parkrrrr on 21 Sep 2010 8:31 AM:

I think the actual question boils down to "why can't I write native applications in VB anymore?" Not a particularly interesting question, really, but congratulations on narrowly avoiding the "here's a nickel, get yourself a real language" response.

John Cowan on 21 Sep 2010 9:33 AM:

Tell him to go buy Realbasic.  :-)

Michael S. Kaplan on 21 Sep 2010 12:23 PM:

parkrrrr, I was pretending that wasn't the question. :-)

Cheong on 21 Sep 2010 6:31 PM:

For the DLL Help part, I really think it's okay for them to discontinue the update, but why took the whole website off?

For maintenance cost part. I think Microsoft had kept ftp.microsoft.com for old products for a long time. Does it really matter to keep one more website? That's kinda hard to believe.

Tony Toews - Access MVP on 28 Sep 2010 6:24 PM:

As far as the DLL Hell database goes I found that Microsoft Access key EXEs, such as msaccess.exe and key dlls, such as msjetxx.dll and daoxxx.dll were only occasionally in there.   That is I could only see about a half or third of the versions I was expecting to see which included the original versions and service packs.  Let alone the various hotfixes available.   As it was very unreliable I never counted on it.

Yuhong Bao on 21 Jul 2011 1:35 PM:

BTW, do you know who created MS08-070 and the following updates? It irritates me for example the lack of symbols on MS's symbol server.

Michael S. Kaplan on 22 Jul 2011 1:18 AM:

Who created it? I have no idea....


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